Saturday 21 April 2018

The 191 footballers who played inter-county in 2010 and are still standing

Just one in four inter-county footballers has kept up their involvement since beginning of the current decade

Christy Toye of Donegal has confirmed his retirement. Photo: Sportsfile
Christy Toye of Donegal has confirmed his retirement. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

For much of Donegal's revolution under Jim McGuinness their 2010 All-Ireland qualifier defeat in Crossmaglen was always a neat reference point.

Ten of the team that started that day would start an All-Ireland final against Mayo two years later. Three more would have an involvement in both games.

Right up to the end of last year the core of that 2012 team remained set in stone. For the 2016 championship only Paul Durcan and Ryan Bradley had departed with Rory Kavanagh back, having retired after the 2014 All-Ireland final.

But the inevitable break-up gathered pace yesterday when Kavanagh, for a second time, Christy Toye and David Walsh all cut their ties, following on from Colm McFadden and Karl Lacey last summer and Anthony Thompson who, the indications are, will not be back.

The class of 2010, those involved in that nine-point defeat to Armagh, has more than halved in the space of a few short months.

Erosion

Peter Harte of Tyrone. Photo: Sportsfile
Peter Harte of Tyrone. Photo: Sportsfile

In Donegal's case, it's been a natural erosion of experience. McGuinness inherited a team with plenty of experience, applied a few new parts and took off in spectacular fashion.

But this decade has seen quite an erosion of the inter-county playing pool on almost all other fronts.

By our count, one in four of the approximate 760 players who played football for 32 counties in the 2010 championship are no longer available or required. By county, the average number of survivors is just under six from the average of 24 players who featured in championship games that year.

Effectively it has taken just six years to change three-quarters of the inter-county playing personnel in Gaelic football. Injury, apathy, emigration, retirement and work have all ensured a crisp turnover in the years since the start of the last decade.

But perhaps the most striking feature of the list of those still standing is the identity of those counties who have undergone least change.

Not surprisingly, the three most consistent teams this decade have retained the most players in the six seasons since 2010.

All-Ireland success still eludes them and that probably explains why 12 of the 25 players Mayo used in just two matches in 2010, defeats to Sligo and Longford, still remain. The core of their team remains weighted with so much longevity.

Pat Gilroy overhauled Dublin for 2010 but 11 of the 25 players still stand, four All-Ireland titles later. Denis Bastick is among that figure with no public indication about his 2017 intentions but captain Stephen Cluxton is now the longest-serving player in terms of championship campaigns.

A few Kerry players have been mulling over decisions but their connection with 2010 remains at 10 while Monaghan, despite the departure of Dick Clerkin and Paul Finlay in the off season, still have nine from a year when they reached an Ulster final. Of all the top counties, Tyrone have undergone the most extensive change, just Seán and Colm Cavanagh, Cathal McCarron, Peter Harte and Justin McMahon, hanging in, seven season later.

There are a few outliers, most notably Laois with 10 still standing from a year when they went down to Tipperary in the qualifiers and Carlow with nine, a remarkable figure given the dearth of success at any level they have had.

Cork were All-Ireland champions and despite Paddy Kelly's recent retirement they still have eight.

By division, the top flight in 2017 retains most with 58 of the 189 players who represented the eight counties in 2010 with Division 3 holding on to 50. Division 4 teams have 41 with London not holding on to any.

There are some experienced players with links to 2010 back in some counties down the pecking order.

Derek Crilly, Andy McDonnell and Ronan Carroll have all presented themselves in Louth for action again after absences, Seanie Furlong is back in Wicklow, John Hayes in Clare, Ger Collins and Seamus O'Carroll in Limerick, Sean Armstrong in Galway, Aidan Walsh in Cork and even Joe Sheridan in Meath where a role as a goalkeeper is being earmarked for him.

Great survivors' list - the 191 footballers who played inter-county in 2010 and still standing

12 - Mayo: David Clarke, Donal Vaughan, Keith Higgins, Kevin McLoughlin, Tom Parsons, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon, Seamus O'Shea, Alan Freeman, Aidan O'Shea, Chris Barrett, Keith Higgins

11 - Dublin: Stephen Cluxton, Mick Fitzsimons, Philly McMahon, Cian O'Sullivan, MD MacAuley, Eoghan O'Gara, Bernard Brogan, Paul Flynn, Denis Bastick, Kevin McManamon, Paddy Andrews.

10 - Kerry: Aidan O'Mahony, Killian Young, Darran O'Sullivan, Donnchadh Walsh, Colm Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Bryan Sheehan, David Moran, BJ Keane, Anthony Maher.

10 - Laois: Mark Timmons, John O'Loughlin, Brendan Quigley, Kevin Meaney, Niall Donoher, Donie Kingston, Ross Munnelly, Paul Cahillane, Colm Begley, Darren Strong.

9 - Monaghan: Dessie Mone, Colin Walshe, Darren Hughes, Kieran Hughes, Conor McManus, Stephen Gollogly, Kieran Duffy, Neil McAdam, Vinny Corey.

9 - Carlow: Benny Kavanagh, Brendan Murphy, Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, John Murphy, Daniel St Ledger, Alan Kelly, Paul Broderick, Kieran Nolan

8 - Cork: Michael Shields (below), Eoin Cadogan, Alan O'Connor, Aidan Walsh, Paul Kerrigan, Donncha O'Connor, Colm O'Neill, James Loughrey (with Antrim in 2010).

8 - Offaly: Alan Mulhall, Brian Darby, Sean Pender, Niall Darby, Graham Guilfoyle, Niall McNamee, Anton Sullivan, Nigel Dunne.

8 - Wexford: Joey Wadding, Brian Malone, Adrian Flynn, Daithi Waters, Ciaran Lyng, Shane Roche, PJ Banville, Ben Brosnan.

7 - Galway: Finian Hanley, Gary O'Donnell, Gary Sice, Danny Cummins, Gareth Bradshaw, Paul Conroy, Sean Armstrong.

6 - Donegal: Neil McGee, Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn, Michael Murphy, Mark McHugh, Paddy McGrath.

6 - Limerick: Johnny McCarthy, Padraig Browne, Seanie Buckley, Ian Ryan, Seamus O'Carroll, Ger Collins.

6 - Louth: Adrian Reid, Declan Byrne, Derek Maguire, Andy McDonnell, Ronan Carroll, Derek Crilly.

6 - Clare: Joe Hayes, Martin McMahon, Gordon Kelly, Gary Brennan, David Tubridy, John Hayes.

6 - Down: Kevin McKernan, Mark Poland, Conor Maginn, Brendan McArdle, Darren O'Hagan, Aidan Carr.

5 - Westmeath: Francis Boyle, Kevin Maguire, Kieran Martin, Ger Egan, Callum McCormack.

5 - Wicklow: Stephen Kelly, Ciaran Hyland, Darren Hayden, Paul Cunningham, Seanie Furlong.

5 - Tipperary: Ciaran McDonald, George Hannigan, Philip Austin, Brian Fox, Conor Sweeney.

5 - Antrim: Kevin O'Boyle, Justin Crozier, Kevin Niblock, Tomas McCann, Micheal McCann.

5 - Armagh: Andy Mallon, Brendan Donaghy, Charlie Vernon, Ciaran McKeever, Joe Feeney.

5 - Tyrone: Cathal McCarron, Justin McMahon, Colm Cavanagh, Sean Cavanagh, Peter Harte (above).

5 - Sligo: Keelan Cawley, Adrian Marren, Charlie Harrison, Mark Breheny, Neil Ewing.

5 - Kildare: Peter Kelly, Emmet Bolton, Eamonn Callaghan, Alan Smith, Keith Cribbin.

5 - Longford: Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Diarmuid Masterson, Brian Kavanagh, Sean McCormack.

4 - Waterford: Maurice O'Gorman, Thomas O'Gorman, Patrick Hurney, Tommy Prendegrast.

4 - Leitrim: Kevin Conlon, Barry Prior, Gary Reynolds, Damien Sweeney.

4 - Meath: Graham Reilly, Paddy O'Rourke, Mickey Burke, Joe Sheridan.

3 - Cavan: Seanie Johnston (below), Thomas Corr, Martin Reilly.

3 - Derry: James Kielt, Mark Lynch, Emmet McGuckian.

3 - Fermanagh: Barry Mulrone, Ryan Jones, Ryan McCluskey.

3 - Roscommon: Seanie McDermott, Cathal Cregg, Kevin Higgins.

0 - London:

Irish Independent

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