GAA Football

From Raymond Galligan to Larry Reilly... Terry Hyland picks his Allstars

Terry Reilly converted Raymond Galligan from corner-forward to goalkeeper.
Pic Seamus Loughran.
Andy Watters

THE brief was to pick his personal Allstars from the men he played alongside and/or managed and Terry Hyland has come up with a line-up that he believes would be contenders in any Ulster Championship campaign.

As a manager, Hyland took the Cavan U21 side to the Ulster title and an All-Ireland final appearance in 2011 before guiding the Breffni county senior team to the All-Ireland quarter-final stage in 2013.

In addition to players from those teams he was able to select men from his club Lacken Celtic as well as Louth and he is currently at the Leitrim helm. Andy Watters writes…

1 Raymond Galligan (Cavan)

I CONVERTED him into a goalkeeper. He had played as a corner-forward for Cavan and I remember he scored 10 points in a National League game against Roscommon way back in the mid-noughties. Then he dropped out of county football for a while but he was always a wonderful striker of the ball off the ground and we encouraged him to come back into the panel. I said to him when he came back: “Lookit, you’re not coming in as the number one or the number two, you’re coming in as the number three’. I told him he was going to have to work hard and he did and he has two Ulster Allstars as a ’keeper at this stage.

He still plays outfield for his club and there’s a clip of him on YouTube kicking a ball over the bar from the corner flag with his left foot and then with his right foot.

2 Dara McVeety (Cavan)

HE came up through the minor and U21 ranks into the Cavan senior squad. He’s a very versatile player, probably not a natural corner-back but you could put him at corner-back or corner-forward and he would get into any squad in Ireland.

Great attitude and a leader on the field and off the field. His attitude isn’t ‘I can’t play there’ it’s ‘what job can I do if you put me there’.

3 Killian Clarke (Cavan)

ANOTHER guy who would have won Ulster minor and U21 and come through the system. He started in the full-back with me but has progressed into the half-forward line since. A great athlete with a great attitude who has played for Ireland in the International Rules. He has all the ability and still has lots of time to get better.

4 Ronan Flanagan (Cavan)

WHEN I got involved with Cavan, Ronan was already a very experienced player who had been involved with Cavan for a number of years and had been a part of Ulster Railway Cup teams. He was an all-round player who could operate as a back or as a forward. A great leader and a wonderful reader of the game.

5 Anthony Forde (Cavan)

I WOULD have managed Anthony in the early noughties and we got to an Ulster final against Tyrone in 2001. He was a great leader who was able to drive the team forward. As he says himself, he doesn’t believe in ‘excuses football’. He would say nobody should be making excuses for why the team was going wrong. If the team wasn’t performing you go out and you correct it and whatever is wrong, you sort it out. That would be Anthony’s attitude to football and, I presume, everything in life. He’s a man who is driven on the field and driven off the field as well.

6 Peter Reilly (Cavan)

I MANAGED him at club level with Knockbride and at county level as well and he was another one of those versatile players. I have picked him at number six but he would have been equally comfortable at number 14 or number 11. It wouldn’t matter where you played Peter. He suffered three cruciate injuries in his time and he came back every time and still represented his county. One of those fellas who eats, sleeps and drinks football.

7 Martin Reilly (Cavan)

ANOTHER player with a great attitude. He showed great promise as a young fella playing football and he went off to play professional soccer with Burnley in England. He hadn’t done his Leaving Cert before he left but when he came back he did it at college and then went on and became an electrical engineer. He mirrors that attitude on the field – his workrate is tremendous, he is a great man to pick out a diagonal pass. It didn’t matter whether we were 10 points up or 10 points down, Martin had the same workrate on the field.

8 Paddy Keenan (Louth)

I WAS involved with Val Andrews in Louth for a couple of years and Paddy was a great young player coming on to the scene at the time. He had a great attitude to the game and was a wonderful footballer and probably as good a midfielder as I ever saw or was ever involved with. I rate him very highly, sometimes players play for the so-called weaker counties and they don’t get the exposure they would get in other counties. If Paddy Keenan had been born in Kerry he would have had a few All-Ireland medals in his back pocket.

9 Danny Finnegan (Lacken)

HE was a clubmate of mine and he also played for Cavan. He played in the Ulster final in 1983. He was probably a bit of a late-developer when it came to club and inter-county football but what a wonderful fielder of a ball he was when he was in full flight. He was a great servant to Lacken and he was certainly one of the best club players I ever saw and certainly one of the best I ever play with.

10 Cian Mackey (Cavan)

CIAN would be renowned for being a flair player but to be a flair player you have to put thought and effort into your game and Cian is very good at that. He thinks about the game, he thinks about the way it should be played. He might not be a great man for the GPS or signposting what he should do or what he shouldn’t do but he does the unexpected and that’s something you love to see on a football field, that’s what gets the results. He could do that and that’s what made him stand out. Everybody talks about ‘the Gooch’ (Colm Cooper) and he wasn’t the biggest physically but he did brilliant things with the ball that nobody else could. Cian was that type of player.

11 Gearoid McKiernan (Cavan)

HE came up through the U21 ranks with me and would have played for Cavan at senior level when he was still very young. Normally, when you get on to the senior panel, the U21 team becomes secondary but Gearoid made it the priority and he captained the Cavan U21s to win an Ulster title. He has been a great leader for Cavan at senior level too and when he produces the goods on the field Cavan usually comes out on top.

12 Dermot McCabe (Cavan)

HE would have been around in that 2001 Ulster final against Tyrone and he had a very good year. One of Cavan’s Allstar players (in 1997) and again he had a very good attitude to the game, he was a great athlete and a great man to drive things forward.

13 Jason Reilly (Cavan)

HE’s on record as having scored more goals in Ulster Championship football than any other Cavan player. A brilliant goal-poacher, a great finisher but there was a lot more to his game that people maybe didn’t realise. Sometimes it looked like all he did on the field was get three scores and he’d come off with 2-1 but he also worked very hard. He was very strong on the ball, very deceptive in his movement and, time and time again, when Cavan needed those goals he was the man who produced them.

14 Oliver Brady (Lacken)

ONE of the leaders of the Lacken club as a player and then as a manager when I started out. He played on until he was in his 40s and no team in Cavan had a full-back who could handle him even then. He was a great player for Lacken and when I looked at picking this team I thought: ‘If I was a county manager, would I pick this man?’ And I would without hesitation and that’s why Ollie Brady is at full-forward.

15 Larry Reilly (Cavan)

A FLAIR player who was very strong on the ball and he was a very strong runner too. He represented Ireland at International Rules and he could jump and catch a ball in the middle of the best midfielders around. He had a great engine and a great workrate and he drew a lot of frees. He might not have been the most brilliant finisher but he created a lot of chances for other players and he was happy for someone else to kick the ball over the bar. A very good team player.


I HAD plenty of selection headaches here! I could have picked a one-to-50 really and it was very difficult leaving some guys out. There was JP Rooney from Louth who was a flair player and a quick thinker who played a bit like Cian Mackey. Fergal Flanagan (Cavan) was another contender – if you wanted the top forward in the opposition marked, Fergal was your man and there are two or three lads from the Leitrim panel who I could put in who could play for any county in Ireland.

It’s difficult to pick a 1-to-15 and it’s not a slight on anyone who is not in this team, because there are so many other really great footballers, but when you’re limited, you’re limited and you have to can only pick 15. If I picked those 15 guys for the Ulster Championship I think they would give it a good rattle.



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