So who is best player not to win All Ireland medal?

IT’S going to be a major talking point in GAA circles throughout the country – who was the best footballer who never won an All Ireland senior medal?

That question is about to be answered in the home of the acknowledged father of Gaelic football, Sam Maguire.

Tomorrow night four judges, representing each of the provinces, will decide which player over the last 25 years was the best who never had the opportunity to lift the cup named after the Dunmanway-born Maguire.

The award will be presented by legendary commentator Micheál O Muircheartaigh and Jimmy O’Gorman, chairman of Munster GAA, at a special ceremony in Dunmanway at 8.30pm, which will mark the opening of the annual Sam Maguire Festival.

Tim Buckley, spokesman for the festival organisers, said he believed the selection of the player would generate heated debate.

He said a number of names were being bandied about, including those of Cork’s Colin Corkery, Mark Farr and Michael O’Donovan.

Mr Buckley said there are also possibilities from other counties, such as Ciaran McDonald (Mayo), Dessie Slyne (Sligo), Dessie Dolan (Westmeath), Mattie Forde (Wexford), Eamon O’Hare (Sligo), Ger Ryan (Kildare), Timmy Fleming (Tipperary), Mark Little (Fermanagh) and Paddy Barrett (Limerick).

Kerry legend Pat Spillane reckons the accolade should go to Declan Browne.

However, Tony Davis, the holder of two All Ireland medals, believes it should go to his fellow Corkman Graham Canty.

“Canty should get it because he hasn’t won an All Ireland yet. But hopefully that will be fixed when they play Kerry,” Tony said.

Pat wasn’t going to be drawn by that comment. Instead all he’d saw about the forthcoming final was that “it will be very close.”

Pat Darcy, chairman of the Tyrone County Board, will also be in attendance to watch a parade of 300 children wearing the colours of all the 32 counties, as well as London and New York.

There will be a host of musical entertainment throughout the weekend, and to mark the 125th anniversary of the GAA a special plaque will be unveiled on Saturday morning at Sam Maguire Park.

Sunday will see soccer blitzes, old time threshing, a vintage rally, bands and barbecues.


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