Saturday 25 November 2017

Our Kerry/Dublin Dream Team of the last 40 years - only three current players make the cut

Kerry's Colm Cooper and Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton make the Dream Team selection
Kerry's Colm Cooper and Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton make the Dream Team selection

Michael Verney

With Gaelic Football's most intense rivalry about to produce another chapter this Sunday, has picked the best combined selection of the last 40 years.

Here's a 15 that would be simply unstoppable with only three current players making the cut.

1. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

He has revolutionised the role of the goalkeeper in modern football. While his kick outs receive well-deserved acclaim, his ability to pull off crucial saves and conduct his defenders is unmatched. Sees off John O'Leary and Charlie Nelligan for the position.

2. Marc Ó Sé (Kerry)

Chasing his sixth Celtic Cross, the An Ghaeltacht clubman is everything you look for in a defender. Tight-marking, quick, stylish on the ball and flexible across a range of positions, he regularly curbs the threat of the opposition danger man.

3. John O'Keefe (Kerry)

Started off his inter county career as a midfielder but converted to full-back with great effect. Considered way ahead of his time in terms of physical fitness, he exhibited massive skill and ball-playing ability for a No 3 and edges out Dublin's Sean Doherty.

4. Robbie Kelleher (Dublin)

The only winner of four All Stars at left full-back and a classy defender. Embodied the Dublin 1970's style with his intelligence in possession although he will be remembered by some for handing the ball to Mikey Sheehy before his famous lob in 1978. 

5. Paidí Ó Sé (Kerry)

Eight All-Ireland medals and an All-Ireland-winning captain in 1985, Paidí's performances at wing and corner-back were unparalleled and he will go down as one of the most charismatic players to ever don the Kerry jersey. Edges Seamus Moynihan and Paul Curran.

6. Tim Kennelly (Kerry)

"Horse" by name and horse by nature, the late Kennelly was the linchpin on arguably the greatest team of all-time. Captain of the victorious 1979 team and a rock solid defender, he pips soccer star Kevin Moran, who left an indelible print in just three seasons with Dublin.

7. Tomás Ó Sé (Kerry)

The third Ó Sé to make a formidable defensive unit and the longest-serving inter-county footballer in terms of championship appearances. Equally adept with his back to goal or marauding forward, the supreme stylist was Footballer of the Year in 2004. 

8. Brian Mullins (Dublin)

Regarded as one of Dublin's greatest ever players, the towering midfielder dominated the engine room during the 70's and 80's exhibiting amazing aerial dominance en route to four All-Ireland wins. The St Vincent's man was incomparable at his best.

9. Jack O'Shea (Kerry)

What a midfield partnership this would be. Two men who competed vigorously against one other would form the greatest midfield duo ever. Seven All-Irelands and a career spanning 17 years says it all, Darragh Ó Sé is unfortunate to compete with greatness.

10. Pat Spillane (Kerry)

Simply no contest for the number 10 shirt. The most decorated footballer in Gaelic Football history claiming eight All-Ireland crowns and nine All Stars. His knee injury in 1982 was one of the key factors which denied Kerry a famous five-in-a-row.

11. Declan O'Sullivan (Kerry)

Denis "Ogie" Moran and Dublin's Tony Hanahoe can feel hard done-by but O'Sullivan led the Kingdom to back-to-back Sam Maguires in 2006-07 and had a unique ability to make the Kerry forward line tick. Oozed class and deservedly finished his career on top.

12. Maurice Fitzgerald (Kerry)

Gifted is the only word to describe the St Mary's attacker. He was able to do things with the ball that others only dreamed of and his virtuoso performance against Mayo in the 1997 All-Ireland final as well as that famous sideline against Dublin in 2001 have made GAA folklore.

13. Colm Cooper (Kerry)

Worthy of his place on any team and a modern-day GAA icon. Simply Unmarkable on his day and possesses an uncanny ability to find space and shoot scores at ease off either foot. Eight All Stars so far in a glittering career, edges out his contemporary Bernard Brogan.

14. Jimmy Keaveney (Dublin)

Coaxed out of retirement by Kevin Heffernan to lead a Dublin renaissance in the 70's, the burly full-forward hit some of the greatest scoring feats ever witnessed. The two-time Footballer of the Year claims his spot over Kerry rival Eoin "Bomber" Liston.

15. Mikey Sheehy (Kerry)

Deadly accurate in front of the goal and equally effective in any of the six forward positions, the Austin Stacks attacker was quite simply one of the best attackers to ever play the game. Part of a select crew with eight winners' medals and deservedly held in the highest regard.

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