Football

Which Irish County Would Have The Best Five-A-Side Team?

Which Irish County Would Have The Best Five-A-Side Team?

Today we ask, for no reason, which county in Ireland has the best five a side team?

The rules 

The teams will be made up players currently fit to play five-a-side, rather than legends of the past. Retired players will be considered if we think they get still do a job at this level.

Unfortunately, we don't think all of the counties in Ireland will be able to cobble together five players, so we'll include an amalgamation and a Rest of Ireland team. In honour of those who have qualified for Ireland through the Granny Rule, we are including a County England.

We'll give you how we think each county will line up, and how we think it will play out. Let us know how you think it would go!

The line-ups

Dublin
Advertisement

Dublin are the strong favourites. In fact, with the likes of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Wes Hoolahan and even Robbie Keane looking on from the sidelines, we could have easily split Dublin in two... no hold on. That's another game.

While there are a host of goalkeepers to choose from, we've decided to throw 18-year-old prodigy Gavin Bazunu into the big time.

The two wings are well looked after with wing back specialists Enda Stevens and Matt Doherty, but the creativity will come from Jack Byrne in the middle. Troy Parrott will be on the end of a lot of good ball in this team and will be banging them in.

Team: Gavin Bazunu; Matt Doherty; Enda Stevens; Jack Byrne; Troy Parrott. 

Strengths: It's going to be very hard to get the ball off this team and there's creativity all over the place. Expect a few long range worldies too.

Weaknesses: A little light weight for this level maybe, and there's a worry about the lack of a commanding defensive presence in the centre, putting pressure on an inexperienced goalkeeper.

Advertisement

 

Cork 

This Cork team have a lot of similarities to the Dubs and look to be the main contenders. The centre of midfield looks in great shape, and the advantage of an actual goalkeeper always helps in this format.

21-year-old Liverpool keeper Caoimhín Kelleher gets the nod ahead of veteran Colin Doyle, based on potential. Ahead of him, John Egan will man the defence on his own. We considered Denis Irwin, who's 54, but decided against owing only to the passage of time.

Roy Keane, however, is definitely getting picked, alongside Conor Hourihane, whose passing and long-range shots will wreak havoc against the teams with outfield players in goal.

It may sound harsh on Alan Browne to pick a man 22 years his senior. And it is. But even at 48, Keane will scare the shit out of the opposition and live inside their head for the entire competition.

Advertisement

Adam Idah is to Cork what Troy Parrott is to Dublin and is going to provide the goals for this team.

Colin Healy was briefly called up, but a day later was sent home.

Team: Caoimhín Kelleher; John Egan; Roy Keane; Conor Hourihane; Adam Idah

Strengths: They have Roy Keane.

Weaknesses: Where's the pace?

 

Advertisement
Galway 

Galway will be cheered on by Ireland's Greatest Football Man: Michael D. Higgins.

Another county with a fresh and exciting Irish striker to lead the line.

Galway will have to rely on the retired David Forde in goal, with him having called it a day last year.

The oft injured Greg Cunningham is at the back, with QPR's versatile Ryan Manning and Daryl Horgan ahead of him. Aaron Connolly will be expected to supply the goals.

Team: David Forde; Greg Cunningham; Ryan Manning; Daryl Horgan; Aaron Connolly

Advertisement

Strengths: The goals could come from anywhere with an exciting attack. Have the support of the president.

Weaknesses: A bit light in defence. Is Cunningham even fit?

 

Antrim 

This is a cross-border competition, so Antrim can claim to be a strong contender for the crown.

The first team to go without a goalkeeper, though we strongly considered Ayeisha McFerran! We went without in the end because, defensively, they are exceptionally strong, in the sense that they are a side comprising almost solely of  defenders. This means Steven Davis is the only non-defender in the Antrim team, so he will be in midfield alongside Paddy McNair. Craig Cathcart will be at the back, with Jonny Evans drawing the short straw in being the defender who ends up as fly goalie.

Advertisement

As Gerry Armstrong is in his sixties, we think he might be just too old, so we've decided to put Gareth McAuley up front, who is just two goals short of Armstrong's goal haul at major tournaments.

Team: Johnny Evans; Craig Cathcart; Steven Davis; Paddy McNair; Gareth McAuley 

Strengths: They should be relatively solid at the back.

Weaknesses: They could play until Gareth McAuley is in his sixties and not score a goal.

 

Derry 
Advertisement

A dark horse. Along with being able to draw on the managerial genius of Martin O'Neill, Derry also have great depth. They do however, lack a goalkeeper: we think Shane Duffy is the best man to slot in between the posts. That means that Shane Ferguson will have to drop into the defence, but the rest  of the team looks very strong: Shamrock Rovers' Aaron McEniff in midfield (picked ahead of his younger brother Jordan), behind James McClean. They also have an ace in the pack to link the midfield with McClean: Pat McCourt.

Team: Shane Duffy; Shane Ferguson; Darron Gibson, Pat McCourt; James McClean

Strengths: They'll score a hatful of goals. Work rate will be huge. And they have Paddy McCourt!

Weaknesses: Might concede a few, given that the defender is in goals and the midfielder is at the back.

 

Waterford
Advertisement

Waterford have just abut cobbled a team together, with a serious mixture of experience and youth.

At the back, young Lee O'Connor will anchor the defence. He will play ahead of former Manchester United goalkeeper John O'Shea. Blackburn's Derrick Williams will provide some experience beside him in a very defensive team.

Cappoquin's Jayson Molumby is another big hope for the future of this team and will anchor the midfield.

Daryl Murphy will still do a job up top.

The serious bang of a team in transition about this Waterford team.

Team: John O'Shea; Lee O'Connor; Derrick Williams; Jayson Molumby; Daryl Murphy

Advertisement

Strengths: Plenty of nous in the team, and a goalkeeper who never concedes.

Weaknesses: Two members of the team are retired, and two others are kids. Not sure where the goals come from.

 

Wexford/Wicklow 

The first of the amalgamations on this list. Darren 'The Fastest Hands In Bray' Randolph is the outstanding goalkeeper of the competition, playing behind Paul McShane.

The midfield is filled by Shamrock Rovers' Greg Bolger, along with another player with League of Ireland experience: Lee Chin, who played with Wexford Youths a few years ago.

Advertisement

17 year old Wolves striker Conor Carty is picked up front ahead of Wexford legend Kevin Doyle.

Team: Darren Randolph; Paul McShane; Lee Chin, Greg Bolger; Conor Carty 

Strengths: Should be solid at the back, and could launch a superstar up front.

Weaknesses: Midfield could be an issue, particularly if the games are scheduled around the time of the All-Stars banquet.

 

Rest of Ireland 
Advertisement

Sadly, the remaining counties have been forced to come together to form a team. The good news is that it's really quite good. Tipperary's Shane Long leads the line, and the team's outstanding player is the Irish captain, Seamus Coleman.

Kildare's Mark Travers will be the safe option in goal while Meath's Daragh Lenihan is selected ahead of another Kildare man Nathan Collins in defence.

Kilkenny's Seani Maguire is also a must in this team.

Team: Mark Travers; Seamus Coleman; Daragh Lenihan; Seani Maguire; Shane Long

Strengths: As a collection of players, it's as good as any in the tournament.

Weaknesses: There's no midfield... at all.

Advertisement

 

England 

Happily, in this competition, Perfidious Albion is merely a county. They'll be strong mind: Keiren Westwood in goal, poor Richard Keogh at the back, Callums Robinson and O'Dowda in midfield, all in support of David McGoldrick

Team: Keiren Westwood; Richard Keogh; Callum O'Dowda, Callum Robinson, David McGoldrick

Strengths: Extremely physical,but with a fast and inventive midfield. Exciting team.

Weaknesses: May struggle somewhat for goals.

Advertisement

 

Verdict

We feel that Dublin will be the ultimate winners, despite strong challenges from Cork, England, and the Rest of Ireland.

What do you think?

 

SEE ALSO: Quiz: Can You Tell Us From Which County These 15 Irish Footballers Hail?

 

Balls Team

You may also like