| 12.8°C Dublin

Close

Premium

GAA Top 20: Linden, Blaney or McAlarney - who is the greatest Down footballer of the last 50 years?

Close

Mickey Linden in action in 1994 en route to winning his second All Ireland Football Final. The legendary Down forward also won Player of the Year and collected an All-Star that season. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Mickey Linden in action in 1994 en route to winning his second All Ireland Football Final. The legendary Down forward also won Player of the Year and collected an All-Star that season. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Mickey Linden in action in 1994 en route to winning his second All Ireland Football Final. The legendary Down forward also won Player of the Year and collected an All-Star that season. Picture credit; Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

First obvious question: why is Seán O’Neill, who was chosen on the Teams of the Century (1984) and Millennium (2000), not ranked in the top four?

Answer: His inter-county career ended in 1975, five years into the timespan for this exercise. And while he continued to play well right to the end, most of the exceptional performances that makes him one of the top forwards in history came in the 1960s.

He still deserves a high ranking, but we have chosen four ahead of him. Between them, Greg Blaney, Mickey Linden, Colm McAlarney and Liam Austin played senior for Down for a total of 70 years.