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The 'Rest Of Ireland XV' That Might Have Half A Chance Against The Dubs

The 'Rest Of Ireland XV' That Might Have Half A Chance Against The Dubs
By Conor Neville Updated
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Bumped into Mick Lyons outside the Savoy Take Away in Jones's Road yesterday.

A story we've heard - but have struggled to adequately verify, in truth - is that back in the late 80s/early 90s, Hill 16 used to serenade Lyons with a chant of 'Mick Lyons, you're a wanker' (or something along those lines) with the ball down the other end of the field.

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Lore has it that, in response, a grinning Lyons used to cup his hands behind his back and give the Hill the middle finger. We can't confirm this definitely used to happen but we like to think it did. Back in the days when the culchies routinely humbled their hosts.

When asked what he thought of the game yesterday, Lyons nodded his head a touch wearily and said something to the effect of if the other 31 counties picked a combined team they would struggle to beat Dublin.

This type of comment has been made before but somehow it never felt as depressing (to non-Dubs, at least) as it was when uttered by Lyons.

In this vein, we have sought to put together a 'rest of Ireland' team that might succeed in giving Dublin a game.

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We are confident that, all going well, they would get within five points of the Dubs.

THE REST OF IRELAND XV

Niall Morgan

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The Tyrone keeper/long range free taker missed the Division 2 final with a broken hand but edges out Kealy after yesterday's game.

With Cluxton pushing on, Morgan has emerged as the new 'scoring goalkeeper' par excellence.

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Shane Enright

Conceded a penalty yesterday but Kerry were being run ragged last year. Won an all-star last season. Like all Kerry players this decade, he has a tough run against the Dubs.

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Neil McGee

Received a one-match ban for his prominent role in the brawl with Kerry players in Tralee. Handled Aidan O'Shea well for decent spell in last year's quarter-final until O'Shea barrelled past everyone for the opening goal. Three All-Stars in this decade, 2011, 2012, 2014.

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Colin Walshe

Pictured above celebrating his winning score in the final League game against Donegal, a score which rescued Monaghan's Division 1 status and relegated Cork.

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Colm Boyle

According to journalist and former Mayo backroom member, Keiran Shannon, Boyle is 'probably the most honest and bravest football warrior in the country'.

Peter Crowley

Played especially well yesterday, emerging as one of Kerry's best players from right half back. Won an All-Star in 2014 at centre-back, the year his county snaffled an unlikely All-Ireland title.

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Lee Keegan

Could successfully annoy the hell out of Diarmuid Connolly and has already proved as such. Patently one of Mayo's best players in 2015, gaining the Man of the Match against Donegal in the quarter-final.

Colm Cavanagh

Ostensibly a midfielder but, in reality, a sweeping defensive player, Cavanagh is beginning to attract the plaudits from the general public.

David Moran

Many seasons gutted by injury, Moran took wing in the summer of 2014 when he delivered one of the greatest midfield displays ever seen in the All-Ireland semi-final replay in Limerick.

Aidan O'Shea

Finding a position for O'Shea is a tricky ask but he has to be included. We suggest that he drops into midfield - a la the place from which he destroyed Donegal in 2013 - and allow Colm Cavanagh to sit in front of the defence.

Colm Cooper

The two-trick pony will have to find a space in the half-forward line. Here he is offered a free enough role on the 40, similar to where he played in the 2013 championship. There is something marvellously exciting about Cooper at centre-half forward. The first half of the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final remains the dream.

Tiernan McCann

Is now known for more than his beautifully maintained and jealously guarded coiffure, McCann won Man of the Match in yesterday's League Final, starting at wing back. One of the most energetic and influential of the new crop of Tyrone footballers, of whom so much is expected.

Can operate at either wing back or wing forward.

James O'Donoghue

Footballer of the Year in 2014, he played no part yesterday due to injuries. His name was circulating around twitter yesterday among folk who were keen to point out that Kerry weren't quite full-strength.

Still sneaks in ahead of Cillian O'Connor but that could change in time yet.

Michael Murphy

Joe Brolly insists that he is the most influential and greatest player in Gaelic football and won't hear of any other candidates being exalted above him.

Played with plenty of Dubs in DCU. No player has decorated the Sigerson Cup like Murphy.

Conor McManus

Top scorer in this season's League, McManus gave a stunning performance against the Dubs in Croke Park, helping Monaghan build up a healthy lead which was soon reeled in.

Instrumental in preserving their Division 1 status.

Read more: Tomás Ó Sé Spared No Bullets With His Criticism Of Kerry's Performance Against Dublin

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