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Ranking The Top 10 Greatest Shoulders Of All Time

Ranking The Top 10 Greatest Shoulders Of All Time
Balls Team
By Balls Team
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This article was originally written in 2015 but has been updated subsequently due to reader scrutiny.

Only the feeble minded celebrate scores with greater ferocity than they hail shoulders. Regrettably, the Gaelic Athletic Association has yet to recognise the best shoulders of the year come awards season.

Before the Association get around to instituting this awards ceremony, allow us to get the ball rolling.

Here are ten best to have been recorded in front of television cameras...

Editor's Note (2016) - Honourable mention must go to this Paudie Maher shoulder on Joe Canning from the 2016 Championship which didn't make the list as the original article was posted in 2015 and didn't make the update because the author is a Galway fan who declared this artful piece of shouldering a "foul". 

Editor's Note (2022) - we are compelled to include one shoulder on this list


13. Daithí Burke on Seamus Harnedy

Absolutely savage - and clean - hit in the 2022 All-Ireland quarterfinal.

Editor's Note (2021) - we are including two shoulders to this list - one which should have made the original list, and one non-gaelic football entry

12. Neil McGee on Stephen O'Neill

If you ever wanted to know what running into brick wall looks like.



11. Sam Kerr on a pitch invader

Instantly iconic, and wonderful technique

10. Colm Boyle

Damien Comer was a rather more prominent figure in this year's Galway-Mayo game. Last year, he spent most of the match convalescing after this hit from Colm Boyle.


9. Graeme Molloy

The music aids this Graeme Molloy effort no end.


Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The passion of the Wexford Footballers was a sight to behold yesterday, this Grame Molloy "tackle" on a Down player exemplified this.

Posted by Official Wexford GAA on Sunday, June 28, 2015

8. Johnny Coen

There was some debate as to whether this constituted a shoulder. On the first glance, it looks frontal, but on closer inspections both shoulders are cocked and ready for impact. Coen catches Power more or less on his shoulder.From the famous 2012 Leinster Final.

7. Ross Donovan

Before their torrid trip to London the following year, Kevin Walsh's Sligo contested the 2012 Connacht Final. In spite of the current narrative, which holds that Mayo have been thrashing all comers in the province for years now, Sligo got within two points of Mayo that day.

6. Kieran Donaghy

Slaughtneil hung on to win but Donaghy's pile-driver of a shoulder on Christopher Bradley looked likely to save the game for Stacks. However, Shane Carroll missed the resulting free-in.

5. Peter Crowley

A bullet of a shoulder from Peter Crowley sends Colm Cavanagh toppling in last year's League clash in Killarney.

4. Diarmuid O'Sullivan

This wins introduction as much for the flurry of shoulders as for the impact of said shoulders. When he tightens his muscles, his physicality reaches nearly cartoonish levels. His nostrils at the end of this video are rather terrifying.

3. Barry Mulrone

One of the most beautifully executed shoulder in all of Gaelic football. Fermanagh's Barry Mulrone fixed John O'Loughlin from a long time and hits a bullseye.Couldn't help Fermanagh to victory in last year's qualifier, however.

2. Fergal Doherty

Thanks to John Fogarty of the Irish Examiner for reminding us of this staggering effort from the 2006 Ulster championship semi-final.

Doherty famously throttled Aidan O'Shea in last year's League semi-final but this challenge on Barry Dunnion is on another planet.

1. Diarmuid O'Sullivan

It would have been a travesty had anything else come first. Very possibly the greatest moment in the history of the GAA.

Read also: The Hardest Men In The GAA




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