It is 26 years since Leitrim toppled Mayo to get their hands on the Nestor Cup and become Kings of Connacht for only the 2nd time in their history. Since then the glory days have been few and far between, but that faithful day in 1994 is a reminder to both Leitrim players and supporters, that the impossible could always happen again. Since then the Leitrim club championship has remained fiercely competitive. Combined, our selectors for Leitrim’s Best Club XV from 2000-2020 have battled at both club and county level for nearly 30 years. They are, current Mohill and Leitrim star Shane Quinn, former Melvin Gaels and Leitrim enforcer Gareth Foley, and one of Leitrim’s all-time greats, Gortletteragh’s Seamus Quinn. Lets’ see who they chose!
All our selectors were unanimous in picking their Number 1, Melvin Gaels’ net-minder Gareth Phelan was everyone’s choice. His fellow clubman Gareth Foley said “It’s very hard to look past him, he’s had such a long and successful career and he’s still playing!”.
Honourable Mentions: Noel Gill (Kiltubrid), Enda Lyons (Carrigallen).
Full Back Line:
Michael McGuinness was on every man’s team sheet at corner-back, “There’s not many that get the better of him” said Shane of his Mohill compatriot. Glencar/Manorhamilton defender Pat Gilmartin was chosen at full-back, and completing the full-back line is Dermot Reynolds of St.Mary’s. Seamus describing his former Leitrim team-mate as “a great man marker and a brilliant corner-back”.
Honourable Mentions: Jonathan Cassidy (St.Mary’s), James Phelan (Melvin Gaels).
Half Back Line:
Mohill’s Danny Beck caused little debate between the 3 men, with all of them opting for him as their choice at wing-back. John McKeon took up the centre-back berth with Seamus Quinn saying that the Drumreilly man “simply has to be in the team!”. Glencar/Manorhamilton and current Leitrim star Paddy Maguire was chosen at number 7, “a driving force for club and county” Gareth explained firmly.
Honourable Mentions: Colin Regan (Melvin Gaels), Shane Foley (Kiltubrid), Colm Clarke (Drumkeerin), Gary Reynolds (Carrigallen), Paul Brennan (Melvin Gaels).
It was decided that Darren Sweeney would take the first spot in midfield, the Glencar/Manorhamilton footballer was “pivotal” in their 5 title wins. Joining him in the middle is Kiltubrid man Christy Carroll, who like his midfield partner, was a vital cog in helping his club to their 2005 championship win.
Honourable Mentions: Michael Duignan (Bornacoola), Gary McCloskey (Bornacoola), Cathal Quinn (Gortletteragh) Thomas Beirne (Eslin).
Aughavas’ Padraig McLoughlin was given the number 10 shirt for his efforts in their championship triumph in 2000. On the 40 is Emlyn Mulligan, despite some serious injuries, the Melvin Gaels man is arguably one of Leitrim’s most dangerous forwards of all time. The last man to make the half-forward line is Jimmy Guckian of St. Mary’s. Gareth Foley describing him as “powerful man with a great left foot”.
Honourable Mentions: Bruno McDonald (Glencar/Manorhamilton), Philly McGuinness (Mohill), Cathal McCrann (Gortletteragh).
Glencar/Manorhamilton stalwart James Glancy was the first man to be picked inside, James produced some epic performances during his clubs 4 in a row success from 2008 to 2011. He was joined by Drumreilly hero Declan Maxwell, who despite being in the twilight of his career is still a marked man at club level. Completing the selection, is John McGuinness, “the best ball winner I’ve ever seen” said Shane of his Mohill clubmate.
Honourable Mentions: Conor Beirne (Eslin), Ray Cox (Annaduff), Gary Plunkett (Aughawillan), Keith Beirne (Mohill), Ronan Kennedy (Mohill).
Team In Full:
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