Two All-Star football teams that would make great reading for St. Patrick

ON St Patrick's weekend, an attempt at picking an All-Stars football team with with Christian names that honour the national apostle might seem appropriate seeing that there is nothing better to do with all GAA activity in suspension.

ON St Patrick's weekend, an attempt at picking an All-Stars football team with Christian names that honour the national apostle might seem appropriate seeing that there is nothing better to do with all GAA activity in suspension.

Minister Joe Walsh, with his all-hands-on-deck approach, has seen to that but the current Foot and Mouth scare deserves no less for the sake of the economy of the country and the thousands of livelihoods that are at risk.

St Patrick did more than banish the snakes from Ireland; he provided generations of Irish parents with a very good reason for preserving his name in perpetuity. This is reflected in the proliferation of great footballers and hurlers who won the games' highest honours.

A top flight goalkeeper in football could be chosen between Paddy Cullen of Dublin who played in six successive All-Ireland finals and won three; and Paudie O'Mahony who kept a clean sheet all through Kerry's 1975 All-Ireland winning campaign which included two penalty saves. A serious injury cast a long shadow over his latest career. Then you had Pat McAlinden of Down, PJ Smyth and Padraig Coyne (Galway), Patsy Gormley (Derry), Patsy McGearty (Meath) and Paddy Flaherty of Dublin.

All of which reminds me: The inimitable Bornie O'Connell, who always spoke in GAA terms, frequently referred to a small measure of whiskey as "a drop of the Dublin goalie": Geddit?

For right full-back you could choose between Paddy Driscoll of Cork (who also played in other defensive positions, most notably at centre-half back where he curbed Sean Purcell in the All-Ireland semi-final of 1957), Paddy McCormack, "the Iron man from Rhode", Paddy Moran of Dublin and Kerry's Páidí O Sé who won three All-Irelands in this position.

There is a whole galaxy of full-backs who bear the Christian name of Patrick or variations thereof. Foremost among them is Paddy O'Brien of Meath, who was named in this position in The Sunday Independent's Team of the Century in 1984 ( he was also a distinguished midfielder in his earlier years); Paddy Prendergast of Mayo, the most mobile full-back of his generation who combined high fielding with a sprinter's pace; Paud O'Donoghue who won two All-Irelands with Kerry; Paddy (Beefy) Kennedy, an All-Ireland medal winner with Dublin in 1942; Patrick Aloysious (Weeshie) Murphy of Cork, reputedly one of the best of his day and Paddy Quinn of Mayo.

For left corner-back the choice rests between the indestructible Paddy Bawn Brosnan and Paudie Lynch who was a delightful footballer in several positions. Keeping the Bawn on board would release Lynch for left half-back and this might be a favoured option for the amateur selector.

Other notable left full-backs include Pat Rice of Down and Paddy Smith of Cavan, who held down this position when the Breffni Blues beat Kerry in the Polo Grounds final of 1947.

Páidí O Sé must get an unqualified vote for right half-back (his best position), but the claims of such as Paddy Cronin and Paddy Harrington (Cork), PJ Duke (Cavan), Patsy O'Hagan (Down), Pat Holmes (Mayo) and Paddy Kerry (Monaghan) would also have to be considered. Likewise Pat Fitzgerald of Offaly.

For centre half-back, the temptation to plump for Paddy Holden of Dublin is overwhelming because he was the best No 6 around in the 1960s when the standard of football was extremely high. However, Paddy Casey of Offaly would be a personal choice because of the reputation that accrued to him in Gaelic Park, New York after emigration, (all of it hearsay, of course).

The claims of such as Pat Markey (Louth), PJ Flood (Donegal), Paddy Moriarty (Armagh), Paddy O'Donoghue (Kildare) and Paddy Kennedy (Down) are also worthy of consideration.

Paudie Lynch gets the vote at left half-back and there can be few complaints about that, even if a case could be made for Pat Reynolds (Meath), Paddy McArdle (Louth), Pat Canavan and PJ Buckley (Dublin) and the most tenacious Dub of them all, Dr Pat O'Neill.

Con Brosnan rated Paddy McDonnell of Dublin as the best opponent he had met in an honours-laden career while Pat (Aeroplane) O'Shea of Castlegregory was the doyen of midfielders in a distant age when high fielding and long kicking were in vogue.

Much later came Paddy Kennedy, rated one of the best of all time; Patsy Flannelly (Mayo), Pat McCarthy (Kerry), Pat Mangan (Kildare), Paddy Connell (Meath), Pat O'Byrne (Wicklow), Padraic Dunne (Offaly), Paddy O'Brien (if he could be spared from full-back) and one of the best of them all, Pat Donnellan (Galway).

Despite being sensationally ‹ and wrongfully ‹ dropped for the 1953 All-Ireland final when he was captain, Paudie Sheehy had few equals as a right sided winger during his peak years. Paddy Martin of Kildare was also reputed to have set a very high standard during the 1920s while Pa Laide and Patsy Hetherington of Tyrone would also have to come into the reckoning.

At centre half-forward, there are four serious contenders, Padraic Carney (Mayo), Pat Griffin (Kerry), Pat (Boiler) White of Kildare and Packie McCarthy, the pocket dynamo who carried Leitrim teams on his broad back for close on 15 years.

There is no serious opposition to Pat Spillane at left wing which releases Paddy Doherty for the left corner where he played occasionally and always with distinction. Packie Boylan of Cavan loses out.

Before he was struck down with a terminal illness while still in his prime, the late Paddy Burke of Milltown had earned a reputation for spectacular fielding, dash and daring which characterised Kerry footballers of his era. He has to be the choice for full-forward despite the credentials of Paddy Moclair (Mayo) and the star No 14 of the modern game, Padraig Joyce of Galway.

With one position remaining to be filled, right corner-forward, there are four worthy contenders, namely Paddy Meegan (Meath), Paddy Cummins and Pat Dunney of Kildare and Paddy Faran of Dublin. Meegan, a great servant of Meath football and a prolific score-getter in his prime, gets the vote.

There are at least two first-class teams that could be named to represent the St Patrick's Day All-Stars.

Team No 1: Paddy Cullen (Dublin), Paddy Driscoll (Cork), Paddy Prendergast (Mayo), Paddy Bawn Brosnan (Kerry), Páidí O Sé (Kerry), Paddy Casey (Offaly), Paudie Lynch (Kerry); Paddy Kennedy (Kerry), Paddy O'Brien (Meath); Paudie Sheehy (Kerry), Padraic Carney (Mayo), Pat Spillane (Kerry); Paddy Meegan (Meath), Paddy Burke (Kerry), Paddy Doherty (Down).

Team No 2: Paudie O'Mahony (Kerry); Paddy McCormack (Offaly), PA (Weeshie) Murphy (Cork), Paud O'Donoghue (Kerry); PJ Duke (Cavan), Paddy Holden (Dublin), Pat Reynolds (Meath); Paddy McDonnell (Dublin), Pat (Aeroplane) O'Shea (Kerry); Paddy Martin (Kildare), Pat Griffin (Kerry), Packie McGarty (Leitrim); Padraig Joyce (Galway), Paddy Moclair (Mayo), Packie Boylan (Cavan).

Subs: Pa Laide (Kerry), Pat Fitzgerald (Offaly), Pat Lindsay (Roscommon), PJ O'Dea (Clare), Pat Fallon (Mayo), Paddy Linden (Monaghan), Pa Connell (Kildare), Paddy Reilly (Dublin).

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