8 Greatest Gaelic Footballers Of All Time
Gaelic football is a variant of soccer that is played in Ireland. The sport is very similar to modern-day football but has its own distinctions.
It is a type of sport that combines elements of soccer, rugby, and basketball. The game is played by two teams of 15 players each, with the objective of scoring points by kicking or punching the ball over the opposing team’s crossbar or into their goal.
The ball used in Gaelic football is round and slightly smaller than a soccer ball. Players are allowed to carry the ball for up to four steps before either bouncing it on the ground or balancing it on their feet. They can also hand-pass the ball to teammates or kick it.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) governs Gaelic football and other traditional Irish sports, such as hurling and camogie. Gaelic football is a popular sport in Ireland, with thousands of people playing and attending matches every year.
Over the years, there have been many great Gaelic footballers who have left a lasting impression and excelled in this unique game. Today, we will take a look at the eight greatest Gaelic footballers of all time.
1. Jack O’Shea
The big man from County Kerry, Ireland, is considered one of the greatest ever Gaelic footballers.
Jacko, as he was fondly called, played from the 1970s to the late 1990s. O’Shea featured for St Mary’s and Leixlip.
He won 2 Kerry club titles, 10 Munster titles, and 7 All-Ireland titles during his long-storied career.
O’Shea was known for his incredible stamina and endurance, as well as his skill and creativity on the field. He was a true team player and was always willing to put his body on the line for the good of the team.
He played in midfield. He was given the footballer of the year award four times.
2. Mick O’Connell
A legend of Gaelic football, Mick O’Connell is regarded as one of the best ever to play the game.
Born in Valentia Island, County Kerry, in 1937, O’Connell played for the Kerry senior team from 1955 to 1974, winning five All-Ireland medals in the process.
He was known for his skill, speed, and versatility on the field, as well as his sportsmanship and humility off the field.
O’Connell won 3 Kerry titles, 12 Munster titles, and 4 All-Ireland inter-county titles. Mick played in midfield, and his record stands at 56 appearances and 1-121 scores.
3. Sean Purcell
The late Purcell is respected as one of the greats in the sport. Sean was a centre-forward who played only for Tuam Stars throughout his 15-year career.
The Master, as he was fondly called, also featured for Galway County.
He won 10 club titles and also won 7 Connacht and 1 All-Ireland inter-county titles. He died on August 27th, 2005.
4. Dick Fitzgerald
One of the forerunners of the game and arguably its greatest exponent.
Dick played as a right wing-back and featured for his local side Dr. Crokes located in Killarney, Ireland.
He played in the early 1900s. Fitzgerald won 3 Kerry titles during his career.
He also won 10 Munster inter-county titles. He won 5 All-Ireland titles, two of which were back-to-back titles as captain between 1913-1914. He died in 1930. A stadium built in his honour, The Fitzgerald stadium, was opened in 1936.
5. Kevin Heffernan
The late Heffernan was a Gaelic football player and coach.
Heffernan played for the St Vincent’s club, with whom he won 15 Dublin titles between 1948-67.
The left corner forward featured for Dublin County for 14 years with 115 appearances and 52-226 scores.
He went on to win 4 Leinster and 1 All-Ireland title. He died in 2013 at the age of 83.
6. Stephen Cluxton
Stephen Cluxton is one of the best players ever to play Gaelic football.
Cluxton is an outstanding goalkeeper, his kick-outs are exceptional, and he is a leader to his team.
The current captain of Dublin County is considered the best goalkeeper of all time and the most influential footballer in GAA history.
Cluxton is best known for his incredible accuracy and power when it comes to kicking the ball. He is also a great leader and has captained Dublin to many of their All-Ireland victories.
He won the GAA-GPA All Stars Awards six times and was named All Stars Footballer of the Year in 2019.
7. Peter Canavan
Peter Canavan is one of the most decorated players in the history of Gaelic football, having won two All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals and six All Stars Awards.
He played for Tyrone from 1989 to 2005 and is widely considered one of the greatest Gaelic footballers of all time.
He was also known for his incredible vision and his ability to read the game. He was also a great finisher and could score from almost any angle. He was a natural leader and captained Tyrone to their first All-Ireland victory in 2003.
Canavan’s scoring record of 218 points is the second-highest of all time in the Ulster Senior Football Championship.
8. Colm Cooper
Colm Cooper, also known as “The Gooch,” played for Kerry from 2002 to 2017 and is widely regarded as one of the most skillful players to ever play the game.
He won five All-Ireland medals with Kerry and was named footballer of the Year once.
Cooper was known for his incredible footwork, his ability to score from almost any angle, and his calmness under pressure.
He was also a great team player and was always willing to pass the ball to a teammate if it meant a better chance of scoring.