O’Rourke tops Meath charts with Millennium man O’Connell fourth
THE main talking point from the Meath selection is that Martin O’Connell, who was chosen at left half-back on the Team of the Millennium, doesn’t make the top three.
That’s no reflection on O’Connell, who gave enormous service to Meath for many years, but rather proof that 1-20 ratings are fundamentally differed to team selections.
For instance, Colm O’Rourke, Trevor Giles and Graham Geraghty, our top Royal trio, had fierce opposition for places in the attack on the Team of the Millennium where the half-back pool wasn’t quite as deep.
It was still a fine achievement by O’Connell to take the No 7 jersey, but when you examine the quality of the forwards omitted from the Millennium team, it’s clear that it was more difficult to secure a place there.
O’Rourke gets the No 1 slot for his incredibly forceful impact on Meath football over such a long period (1976-95). He overcame a serious knee injury early in his career at a time when sports medicine wasn’t nearly as sophisticated as it is now to build a brilliant career.
His leadership played a massive part in helping to steer Meath from the depths of the early 1980s to become an ultra-potent force. He continued until 1995 when a heavy defeat by Dublin in the Leinster final brought the end of a career where he scored 16-105 in the championship and a further 18-167 in the League.
His Skryne clubmate, Trevor Giles takes second spot, having been at the heart of Meath’s re-emergence in 1996. Graham Geraghty’s case for a high ranking was boosted by his excellence in both defence and attack.
O’Connell takes the fourth spot, followed by Bob O’Malley one of the best corner-backs in Gaelic football history.
Meath’s tradition for great full-backs was enhanced by Darren Fay, who reached spectacular heights for several seasons.
1. Colm O’Rourke, 2. Trevor Giles, 3. Graham Geraghty, 4. Martin O’Connell, 5. Bob O’Malley, 6. Darren Fay, 7. John McDermott, 8. Bernard Flynn, 9. Mick Lyons, 10. Gerry McEntee, 11. Brian Stafford, 12. Tommy Dowd, 13. Liam Hayes, 14. Joe Cassells, 15. Jack Quinn, 16. Mattie Kerrigan, 17. Ollie Murphy, 18. Ken Rennicks, 19. Pat Reynolds, 20. Donal Keogan
See Tuesday's Irish Independent and Independent.ie to find out who has made the grade for each team in Munster and have your say on each county's poll below.
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