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Brendan Devenney Picks His Donegal Team Of The Last 30 Years

Brendan Devenney Picks His Donegal Team Of The Last 30 Years

There's been a fair few votes for himself in the poll so far, but Brendan Devenney would never dream of picking himself.

Balls.ie launched 15 for 30 on Monday, a weekly GAA series where we get the public to vote for different counties' best team of the last 30 years. With the new poll which launched each Monday, we'll also have an accompanying podcast with someone from within the county in question to choose their team and go into their thinking behind the selection.

This week, we begin with the Donegal footballers, and their star full-forward of the 2000s Brendan Devenney was good enough to join us to pick his team, despite the inevitable fall out of having to pick between two groups.

Devenney's intercounty career spanned from 1998 to 2009, starting as the young members of the 1992 All-Ireland winning team were still in the team, and finishing as the older members of the 2012 team were getting started.

He may have fallen between two great teams, but Donegal had their moments in that era too, winning their only ever National League title in 2007, and embarking on seemingly annual Qualifier crusades in the mid-2000s.

Ultimately, the majority of votes so far have come between the two All-Ireland winning teams, and Devenney's selection is no different, expect for three notable exceptions.

 

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You can listen and subscribe to the full podcast here, or listen below, and you can vote for your Donegal 15 for 30 below. The winning team will be revealed on Saturday.

You can vote on your team below until Saturday, or email your team to [email protected], or message us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


Brendan Devenney's Donegal 15 for 30:

1. Paul Durcan

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Goalkeeper - 2004 - 2015

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 2012

Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014

National Football League: 2007

All-Stars: 2012, 2014

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What Brendan said:

Goalkeeping went to a different place, but he was right up there. I think obviously nobody can say anyone was better than Cluxton, but I think he was right up there close to him. For us, he was a phenomenal part of the weaponry of how McGuinness... if you're going to have a tactical masterplan, your kick out strategy is vital. And Durcan, along with his shot-stopping, his height and his physical presence, his ability to ping those balls. Many times we see people going into Donegal's half back line area and Durcan just pinging those balls.

 

2. Barry McGowan

Donegal

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Cornerback- 1989 - 1998

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship: 1992

Ulster Championship: 1990, 1992

All-Ireland Under 21 Championship: 1987

 

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What Brendan said:

Barry McGowan could play in any football team, in any era, basically I would say in any position. That's how good he was. So it's good to look back and highlight that type of player.

 

3. Neil McGee

Fullback - 2005 - Present

Honours:

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All-Ireland Championship 2012

Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019

National Football League: 2007

All-Stars: 2011, 2012, 2014

 

4. Karl Lacey

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Cornerback/Centreback - 2004 - 2017

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 2012

Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014

National Football League: 2007

Footballer of the Year: 2012

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All-Stars: 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012

 

What Brendan said:

In previous years, when we weren't playing well, he still was up there performing heroics. One game in particular that stands out for me would be 2011, the famous Cassidy winning point. If you look at Karl's performance over the course of that game and extra-time, it was absolutely super human what he did in that game. He literally had to be carried off the pitch.

 

5. Damien Diver

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Donegal

Wingback - 1995 - 2006

 

6. John Gildea

Midfield/Centreback - 1993 -2004

What Brendan said:

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This will be my only surprise probably. I'm thinking about the best team and a bit of balance to this team. John Gildea, again a player that can play midfield, but he often sat in that hole. At the time, the third midfielder would come out and it was John that came back. Brilliant kickpasser, strong guy, and I think if you'd a half back line of Kev Cass, John Gildea, Damien Diver, all intelligent, good ball players, and very fit.

 

7. Kevin Cassidy

Wingback -2002 - 2011

Honours:

Ulster Championship 2011

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National Football League: 2007

All-Stars: 2002, 2011

 

What Brendan said:

Seeing as I'm kind of always afraid of him, he has to go in the team. If you ever go out on a session with Kevin Cass, he's a famous headlock that he gets you in when he's telling you stuff into your ear. It's funny, but it's also frightening so yeah, Kevin Cass has to go in the team.

 

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8. Neil Gallagher

Midfield- 2004 - 2017

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 2012

Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014

National Football League: 2007

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All-Stars: 2012, 2014

 

What Brendan said:

People forget Big Neil wasn't in the team in 2011. He wasn't a regular starter. And for him to come in and command in the way he did in 2012 in particular - you know, you've got to base a lot of this on those big years as well - and how he performed. People obviously talk about his semi-final performance in particular against Cork where he was just unbelievable that day, fetching, and his all round commitment.

What a commitment he gave to the county.

 

9. Anthony Molloy

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Midfield - 1982 - 1994

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 1992

Ulster Championship 1983, 1990, 1992

All-Ireland Under 21 Championship: 1982

All-Star: 1992

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What Brendan said:

Part of Molloy, along with being a great footballer and tough guy, the leadership he's going to give around the pitch. I remember him coming into speak in the Donegal dressing room in Croke Park one day before a big game, and it was hairs on the back of the neck stuff. How he spoke, it was the power behind it. I remember standing there, going, "Wow". That's the kind of guy he was, the kind of boy you'd want in the dressing room with you. And just a warhorse on the pitch.

 

10. Rory Kavanagh

Donegal

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Wingforward/Midfield - 2001 - 2016

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 2012

Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014

National Football League: 2007

 

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What Brendan said:

His ability to just drop into midfield, absolutely brilliant athlete and what a brilliant career he's had. And he's a such a dedicated guy, and he's a brilliant leader as well, a great talker

 

11. Martin McHugh

Centreforward - 1981 - 1994

Honours:

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All-Ireland Championship 1992

Ulster Championship 1982, 1990, 1992

All-Ireland Under 21 Championship: 1982

Footballer of the Year: 1992

All-Stars: 1983, 1992

 

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What Brendan said:

McHugh was always the prince and the king of Donegal GAA up until Murphy's arrival. I don't think anybody could take the crown until Michael landed. McHugh just had unbelievable skill, brain, ability. Try marking him, getting near him! I'll always remember Keith Barr in '92 trying to get a piece of him and bending his ear and that, and he was well able to anything that thrown at him.

 

12. Ryan McHugh

Wingback/Wing forward - 2013 - Present

Honours:

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Ulster Championship 2014, 2018, 2019

Young Footballer of the Year: 2014

All-Stars: 2016, 2018

 

What Brendan said:

What can you say about Ryan McHugh? Again, his size, it doesn't matter. It's one of the great things about the GAA. We've got our physical players out around there but then there's certain people that have skills and hearts that are massive, and abilities that go with it, and Ryan McHugh would be one of them. I've seen him dictate games and win games going through people.

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13. Tony Boyle

Donegal

Fullforward - 1992 - 2001

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 1992

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Ulster Championship 1992

All-Star: 1992

 

14. Michael Murphy

Fullforward/Midfield- 2007 - Present

Honours:

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All-Ireland Championship 2012

Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019

All-Stars: 2012, 2014, 2019

 

What Brendan said:

Murphy could play in the top eight positions on the pitch as good as anybody in the country, or as good as any of the other best players in those positions in the country. That's how good Michael is. And to be honest, he could probably play in the half back positions as well.

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15. Colm McFadden

Donegal

Cornerforward - 2002 - 2016

Honours:

All-Ireland Championship 2012

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Ulster Championship 2011, 2012, 2014

National Football League: 2007

All-Star: 2012

 

What Brendan said:

Colm McFadden was probably Donegal's best player in 2012. The best player in Ireland. He just reached a phenomenal level of football.

 

SEE ALSO: Vote: Greatest Gaelic Football Moment Of The 21st Century - Semi-Finals

 

Michael McCarthy

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