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The Best Dublin XV Of The Television Era

The Best Dublin XV Of The Television Era

Since Kevin Heffernan was appointed manager in late 1973 by a Dublin county board who didn't know what they were in for, the Dubs have won nine All-Ireland titles over the last 44 years.

There's been many great players, some of whom were lucky enough to arrive during times of prosperity, others who were destined to play in eras when All-Irelands were scarce. A couple of those guys have earned their place on here.

Here is the best XV of the lot. Arguments welcome and entirely expected.

1.  Stephen Cluxton

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Goalies last forever. Dublin have had four primary No.1's in the last 50 years. And that includes Davy Byrne who only occupied the jersey for four seasons before quitting abruptly. The others are Paddy Cullen, John O'Leary and Stephen Cluxton.

Paddy made a fine save on Liam Sammon to be sure, John O'Leary captained the team to an All-Ireland in 1995, but neither were accused of revolutionising the position.

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2. Robbie Kelleher

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Toss of a coin between Gay O'Driscoll and Kelleher for the corner back slot. Kelleher steals in by virtue of the fact that he won four All-Stars in five years between 1974 and 1978.

3. Paddy Christie

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Soldiered away during a sometimes frustrating and often just plain bleak era for Dublin football. He arrived into the squad in 1995 but played no part as the Dubs finally heaved themselves over the line against Tyrone in the All-Ireland final.

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An inspirational figure in the full back line, Christie played long enough to win a few Leinster titles in the noughties. During the lean years of the late 90s, he was usually lauded as the Dubs' best performer.

Pips his modern-day equivalent Rory O'Carroll, his  70s and 80s predecessors Sean Doherty and Gerry Hargan to the No. 3 slot.

4. Philly McMahon

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Dublin's impish bold boy in the corner, Philly was probably too un-PC to win the Footballer of the Year award. But it was a toss up between him and McCaffrey. Able to maraud forward and kick scores. Wins out over the likes of Gay O'Driscoll and Jonny Cooper.

5.  Paul Curran 

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The Man of the Match in the 1995 All-Ireland final, Curran's time with Dublin was divided into two spells. The first half entailed plenty of August and September epics in Croker, desperately chasing the All-Ireland title. The second half consisted of losing to Meath and Kildare and struggling to get out of Leinster. We just give him the nod over James McCarthy.

6.  Keith Barr

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Possibly the most competitive spot in the whole team. The Dubs have been exceptionally strong here down the year. Trying to pick a winner from Kevin Moran, Cian O'Sullivan, Keith Barr and Tommy Drumm.

O'Sullivan plays in a sweeping role and isn't a traditional centre back. The brilliant Kevin Moran won two All-Ireland medals in three seasons but his career was sadly cut short by association football. He also suffers from David Hickey's allegation that he couldn't pass the ball.

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Tommy Drumm only won the 1983 All-Ireland final from the centre back slot having picked up the first couple of them from wing back.

Keith Barr, a powerful and rampaging centre back who knew how to rattle the net, thrilled the Dublin supporters all through the 90s. The 1995 All-Ireland final win was, in many respects, built on the back of an exceptional half-back line.

7. Jack McCaffrey

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Squeezing in ahead of Mick Deegan, Pat O'Neill, Paddy Reilly, and his erstwhile colleague on the wing James McCarthy, is the 2015 Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey. In four and a bit years of county football, he's won the young player's award, the main individual award, an all-star and a couple of All-Irelands.

8. Brian Mullins

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"Brian Mullins got his fist to that, Brian Mullins got his fist to that too." Micheal O'Hehir's pithy response to Brian Talty's pain rings down the ages. One of the most famous lines of commentary ever.

9. Ciaran Whelan

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A big debate here between Whelo and MDMA. Macauley has the All-Irelands in the bag but then he was fortunate enough to break into a team on the up.

Whelan arrived at a time when the Dubs were about to drift into the wilderness. He was thereafter relied upon to power them back to glory. It weighed heavily from time to time, no doubt.

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Macauley is a very industrious player with a basketball's players characteristic game intelligence. Ultimately, the footballing purists won out and Whelan takes his place in midfield alongside Mullins.

10. Paul Flynn

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Anton O'Toole and Dessie Farrell were contenders for spots on the wing but despite his much-lamented wobble in form in 2015, Paul Flynn makes it ahead of the rest. Like many of the current crop, he's already on four All-Irelands and is gunning for more.

11. Diarmuid Connolly

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In the same way that Manchester United players almost uniformly answer "Paul Scholes" when asked who is the greatest player they played with, the Dublin team of the current day offer up Connolly to the question "who's the most gifted?"

Tony Hanahoe was one of the most influential figures on the 70s team but Connolly takes it in pure talent.

12. David Hickey

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In a Sunday Independent profile last year, Paul Kimmage asked Hickey if his son had much time for his father as a footballer.

"Oh he has me right up there with Dermo, and no better accolade can a man get", he responded.

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Hickey was one of the most charismatic players on the team, though from a distance was hard to distinguish from half-forward line comrade Tony Hanahoe.

Argued that neither Kevin Moran or Pat O'Neill could pass the ball and thus he saw his and Anton O'Toole's primary role as "laundering that raw product and turning it into usable currency for Jimmy (Keaveney) who liked it hitting the blue (gestures to chest)."

13. Alan Brogan

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Won Footballer of the Year in 2011 from the centre forward spot but in an effort to ensure he breaks into the team, as is proper, we have

Again, the likes of Redmond, Rock and John McCarthy are unlucky. Big Joe fought like a lion for the 12 apostles too.

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14. Jimmy Keaveney

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Jimmy is the free-taker on this team, pipping the likes of Charlie Redmond and Barney Rock, also unerring from the dead ball.

But Jimmy was magic at clipping balls off the turf and floating them between the sticks. His lack of mobility was something of an affectionate joke, but he was also deadly from open play. He blasted 2-6 in the 1977 All-Ireland final against Armagh, then a record haul.

Had already given up in frustration before 1973, Heffo dragged him out of self-imposed exile from '74 on. A stroke of genius.

15. Bernard Brogan

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Dublin's most reliable scoring threat for this last decade of plenty. Brogan has won Footballer of the Year and picked up four All-Ireland titles, winning the Man of the Match in one of them. Again, pips the likes of Charlie Redmond and Barney Rock for a place in the starting line-up. We're giving the frees to Jimmy though.

Manager: Kevin Heffernan

Selectors: Pat O'Neill, Jim Gavin, Pat Gilroy (or alternatively, whoever Heffo wants).

Subs: Paddy Cullen, Tony Hanahoe, Barney Rock, Rory O'Carroll, Kevin Moran, Cian O'Sullivan, Kevin McManamon

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Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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