Hurling & Camogie

Veronica 'Bonny' MacGreevy selects her top Camogie 15 from her playing days

Pictured at a function celebrating the 25th anniversary of An Riocht’s Ulster club titles, L to R: Cathy Trainor (nee O'Hare), Teresa Allen, Christine Morgan (nee Rooney), Kathleen Ann Sloan (nee Cunningham). and Veronica (aka Bonny) MacGreevy.
Pictured at a function celebrating the 25th anniversary of An Riocht’s Ulster club titles, L to R: Cathy Trainor (nee O'Hare), Teresa Allen, Christine Morgan (nee Rooney), Kathleen Ann Sloan (nee Cunningham). and Veronica (aka Bonny) MacGreevy.

AS the 1991 All-Ireland Junior final in Croke Park entered injury time, Tipperary trailed Down by two points. Tipp wing forward Joan Tobin then cut through the Ulster side's defence and buried the sliotar in the net.

Everyone looked in the direction of referee Mary O'Connor. She was allowing another play.

Anne Coyle's poc out from the Down goals landed on full-forward Bonny MacGreevy who had wandered out to the half-forward line. She won possession, pushed her way past the Tipperary defender and ran through to bury the sliotar in the Munster team's net. There was no time for another play.

That single score encapsulated Bonny MacGreevy's career; looking for a free wasn't an option, taking an equalising point wasn't an option. Bonny thought like a winner and a goal was her only option.

Bonny was on the Down under 16 side that reached the 1976 All-Ireland A final where they lost to Cork and the following year she was earned a regular starting slot on the county's senior team that went on to win their first provincial senior title in 25 years in 1978.

Antrim were All-Ireland senior champions in 1979, but Down was the first team to beat them at the start of the 1980 season, MacGreevy scoring the goal in a 1-9 to 1-2 success.

She went on to capture 12 provincial senior medals in a career that last two decades. To put this into context, Down won just 18 Ulster titles in total.

The bustling forward also made a huge impact on the club scene with An Ríocht winning four county titles in a row 1980-1983, the first two converted into provincial crowns. Bonny later won two more Down titles with Attical.

Here she takes a look at the players from Ulster that impressed during her playing days and narrows them down to the 14 others she would love to once more play alongside.

Veronica MacGreevy aka Bonny's Team:

1. Christine Morgan (née Rooney) An Riocht and Down

I played schools, club and county with Christine. She had a keen eye for the ball, was a tremendous shot blocker and had a natural instinct to start the attack with clever well placed clearances. She won an All-Ireland Medal with the Down Minors in 1974. She was brave and courageous. What an anchor for defence and a spring board for attack.

2. Mary Connolly (née McMullan) Loughgiel, EoghanRua and Antrim

A holder of All-Ireland Senior and Junior medals in that order Mary was the complete defender and competitor. She was strong on both side with a powerful wristy swing both on the ground and in the air. Tenacious and determined with a deep sense of team. A tough unyielding opponent every day.

3. Anne McCarthy(née Coyle)Ballycran and Down.

Her presence, backed up with silky skills, ensured that not much got past Coyler. Deceptively fast with the ability to lift and strike the ball with the economy of effort, she was the perfect captain for the 1991 All Ireland winning team; less words, more action. What a striker of the sliotar.

4. Donna Mullan (née Greeran) Liatriom, Darragh Cross and Down.

One of the bravest camogie players I ever witnessed. Everything was laid on the line for the team. Her bruises were testimony to that. A versatile player who could cover the goal keeping position and full forward if required. I had the pleasure of coaching her in the Down Minor team in 1985 which narrowly lost to Galway

5. Sara Anne McNichol (née Quinn) Swatragh and Derry.

Sara could play anywhere on any team with style. She commanded her position and still found time to 'sweep' in to cover for her team mates. She read the game so well, setting example by preforming the fundamental skills consistently well. In today's world of statistics her 'fouls against' would be very low. Like myself she could commentate her way through a game to encourage her team and maybe some 'mind games' for the opposition but always in the best possible taste.

6. Teresa Allen AnRíocht, Attical and Down.

My best camogie years were when Teresa played 'centre centre' and I played 'centre half forward', be it for club, county or province. Teresa played the highly skilled game without complications; win the ball and then make it do the work, but that was based on solid skills, strength and very clever thinking. Every team needs a Teresa Allen for all her leadership qualities, calmness and energy. I loved the telepathy we enjoyed during matches - and the humour.

7. Edel Mason Portaferry, Down, Dunloy and Antrim

Edel was either born too late or I was born too soon. I played with Edel in my final year in a Down shirt, 1996. We lost the National League and All Ireland Intermediate finals to Limerick that year. What a talent. Every skill well honed, excellent movement and highly developed understanding of the game for one so young. Her ability to manage the game with her vision and consistency gave me a new lease of life and hope that Down might make it back to the senior ranks. A winner of All-Ireland Intermediate medals with two different counties

8. Stephanie Kelly Portaferry and Down

Stephanie was an outstanding athlete with endless energy. From the first whistle to the last she commanded midfield to supply quality ball to her forwards but with one eye on 'minding the house' often popping up in defence to release pressure with a long reliable clearance. She regularly scored from her own half. She played camogie like a hunter and the guile to switch hurls with her brother during games was so entertaining.

9. Kathleen Ann Sloan (née Cunningham) An Ríocht and Down

Kathleen's speed of foot, mind and reaction made her a key player in An Ríocht and Down's successes. She was the type of player who did her role so well she made it look simple. After she supplied the ball to the forward line, she was great at closing any outlet to make sure her team had the best opportunity to score. She was part of the history making Down Minor Team in 1974.

10. Cathy Trainor (née O'Hare) An Ríocht and Down

A natural sportswoman who was a key part of the St LouisKilkeel successes of the 1970s, Cathy could perform effectively in backs or forwards with every skill required combined with balance and poise. Our leader on and off the pitch at Kilkeel. She holds All Ireland medals with Downminors 1974, Juniors 1776 and St Mary's College in the Purcell Cup. She once kept Angela Downey scoreless from play in the senior All Ireland club semi-final in Nowlan Park. It was a shame she wasn't marking her from the start of the game!!

11. Grace McMullan Loughgiel, EoghanRua and Antrim

'Grace by name, grace by nature'. Blessed with the physical attributes of height and athleticism and the complete camogie skills set she took the beauty of our game to a whole new level. She was part of UUJ Ashbourne Cup winning teams and enjoyed success with her clubs and Antrim. A total team player who provided quality assists to her colleague and often the outlet for her defence when they were under pressure.

12. MáirínMcAleenanLiatriom and Down

Another member of the '85 Down Minor Team. A tall, nimble and skilful player, I enjoyed playing alongside her. Like Grace she brought an abundance of qualities to her club, county and provincial teams, often being the game changer in crucial moments. She had a sweet first touch and against well organised defences she instinctively popped out to create space to collect my passes. Over her playing career she proved herself worthy of all the accolades she received.

13. Rosemary Colgan (née Trainer) Attical and Down.

One of three very talented sisters whom I had the good fortune to play with and against. Some of Rosie's finest performances came at half back when she quietly and effectively neutralized the 'star player'. She was also a very handy forward who may not be the top scorer on a given day but she would be top of the 'assists' table. A role model with rounded ability and a tireless workerRosie's love of the game always came to the fore in a true sporting fashion.

14. Carmel Doran (née Morgan) An Ríocht and Down.

Carmel was one the fastest and bravest camogie players I ever saw. She was often caught by an unintentional hurl after nicking the ball from a defender. A hockey player with a lethal eye for goal and a quick ground stroke she would flash the ball low into the net. With Carmel there was never a dull moment and many a talking point in every game.

15. Veronica McGreevy An Riocht, Attical and Down

Every team needs subs and what a line-up I have :

Marian Galway (née Delaney) Newry Shamrocks and Down

Gwen Trainer (née Sloan) Attical and Down

Grainne Killen (née O'Hare) Attical and Down

Bernie Kelly (née Brown) Liatriom and Down

Catherine Finnegan (née Daly) Eglish and Tyrone

Sheila Burke Eglish and Tyrone.

Ita Brady Cavan

Cathy Hannigan Letterkenny and Donegal.

Sally McCone Ballymacnab and Armagh

BreigeMcGillian (née O'Doherty) Swatragh and Derry

Olive Leonard (née McGeown) Ballymacnab and Armagh.

Mary Donnelly An Port Mór and Armagh