Monaghan 125 Team
The Monaghan team will start with members of the Inniskeen team who won the first ever Monaghan senior football championship in 1887 and went on to represent Monaghan in the first ever Ulster senior football championship in 1888, 15 years before the first Ulster Council was actually set up.
Monaghan was one of the forces in Ulster in the early years which were dominated by Monaghan and Cavan but following their 1938 Ulster senior championship title Monaghan was not to win another Ulster championship for all of 41 years until 1979.
Patrick was the captain of that Inniskeen team and according to their club history, which was published to coincide with the centenary of the first Ulster SFC in 1988, he was an exceptional player and one of the best-known exponents of the game in that area, an area that at that time also included part of Co Louth. Inniskeen/Monaghan won that first Ulster championship by defeating Cavan represented by Maghera MacFinns in the final which was played at Drogheda.
Another member of that team and a forward of some repute in that he scored the winning points in that game in Drogheda and is committed to posterity in a lengthy poem that was written by the Bard of Callenberg to celebrate that victory. The name Mickey Louth is still revered in the Inniskeen area.
Acknowledged as one of the all-time greats in the county Pat McGrane won a number of Ulster championship medals with Monaghan and also represented Fermanagh for a spell. He was a member of the last Clones team to win the Monaghan senior football championship in 1943 and the main stand in St Tiarnach’s Park is dedicated to his memory. Nicknamed “the red fellow” he was the scourge of defenders throughout the province. Played in the All Ireland final of 1930 and was on the Monaghan team that won the 1938 Ulster SFC.
A member of the Clontibret club Pat Clarke has the distinction of being the only Monaghan captain ever to lift an All Ireland title when he captained Monaghan to the 1956 All Ireland junior football championship.
Another member of the famed Inniskeen Grattans Jack Crawley’s claim to fame is that he was regarded as one of the best exponents of the game in Ulster whom he represented in Railway Cup action for quite a number of years. He was on the Monaghan team that won the Ulster senior football championship in 1938 and played against Galway in that year’s All Ireland semi-final.
Paddy Kilroy has the distinction of being the only Monaghan player to captain the county team in an All Ireland senior football championship final when Monaghan reached the final in 1930. Winning the Ulster senior football championship with Monaghan in 1930 saw Paddy Kilroy complete a unique record in that at that stage he had then won provincial championships in three provinces, with Galway in Connaught in1922 and played with Dublin in the All Ireland final of that year. He won a championship with Wexford in Leinster in 1925.
Tom Shevlin at that time was rated as one of the best goalkeepers in Ulster and he too had quite a distinguished career of. He won four Ulster senior football championship medals with Monaghan and four with Cavan which was quite unique at the time.
Known as “the daddy of them all” Christy Fisher represented Monaghan for well over a decade and was recognised as one of the classiest forwards in the game at that time. He played on the Monaghan team that reached the All Ireland final in 1930 and was still representing Ulster in Railway Cup action in 1933. Won 3 Ulster championship medals with Monaghan.
A fellow club man of Christy Fisher Billy Mason had something of a similar record but being a defender probably did not enjoy the same degree of limelight. He too was a member of the team that reached the All Ireland in 1930, having won his third Ulster senior football championship medal that year. He represented Ulster in three consecutive Railway Cup competitions.
A member of the Latton club, Vincent Duffy in his relatively short life established a reputation for himself as an outstanding footballer. He was a member of the Ulster team that won the first ever Railway Cup in 1942 and was again selected as left half back on the Ulster team that retained the title in 1943 to make for a unique double.
A member of the famed Inniskeen Grattans Joe Carroll may not have won an Ulster senior football championship medal but he was regarded as one of the best forwards in the province in his day and came to the attention of the Ulster selectors.
One of the leading lights during a very barren period for Monaghan Sean Woods played his club football with Clontibret with whom he won Monaghan senior football championship medals. He too represented Ulster in the Railway Cup winning a Railway Cup medal in 1968.
Tommy McArdle has the unique distinction of being the only Monaghan player to have won a MacRory Cup medal and an All Ireland junior football championship medal in the same year, 1956. He later went on to represent Monaghan at senior level and he played in the Dublin senior football championship as a member of the Erin’s Hope team.
A member of the famous Tavey family of Donaghmoyne John Tavey was a member of the Monaghan team that won the 1956 All Ireland junior football championship. He starred at full back for Monaghan at senior level for the best part of a decade and he also won a Railway Cup medal with Ulster.
Was a key player for Clones in the 1943 Monaghan SFC and captained Monaghan in the 1944 Ulster SFC, Peter McCarney was a very skillful player who first came to prominence on the colleges scene.
A member of the Clontibret club Hughie McKearney represented Monaghan for over a decade at senior level and was recognised as an exceptional talent in his time. He has the unique distinction of representing Ulster in the Railway Cup and he also played for the Combined Universities in that competition.
Recognised in his time as the leading centre half back in the country John Rice was an automatic choice for Ulster for quite a number of years. He won 5 senior football championship medals with Clontibret, 4 in a row from 1949 to 1952 and again in 1955 when they were the dominant team in Monaghan at that time. As well as Railway Cup honours he was also selected to represent a Rest of Ireland selection.
A stylish player who played his club football for Clones Eugene was recognized as a very talented player who could hold down a number of positions. His best though was in attack where his fielding and finishing were top class.
Paddy O’Rourke’s contribution to the GAA in Monaghan and even nationally is without question. As a player he represented Monaghan for the better part of a decade and was on the Monaghan team that won the Ulster senior football championship in 1938. Following his playing career he took up the cause of refereeing and he also established a record by serving his club as secretary for over 50 years. He was treasurer of Monaghan County Board for the best part of a quarter of a century. Was a member of the Inniskeen team that put senior championships back to back in 1947 and 1948.
Played his club football with Blackhill and sprang to prominence as a member of the Monaghan team that won the Ulster SFC in 1938, one of the youngest members of the team. He first represented the county in 1936 and went on to establish himself as a regular for quite a number of years. Later he was very active on the colleges scene as an organiser and helped establish the Ulster Colleges Council. The McCormick Cup, which is part of the senior colleges championship is dedicated to his memory.
Sprang to prominence as the full back on the 1956 All Ireland junior winning side Ollie O’Rourke went on to become something of an iconic figure in the GAA in Monaghan. A colourful player he was brilliant under the high ball and his lengthy deliveries became a part of the folklore of the game when he was playing and such was his influence that he was described by one of his contemporaries as being able “to ate iron and drink Castrol”. Was on the Inniskeen ’47 and ’48 teams.
A stylish, skillful player Joe Smith was a regular on Monaghan teams for almost 15 years and represented Clontibret at senior level for the best part of two decades winning senior league and senior championship medals. Renowned for his high fielding and accurate finishing Joe’s status was almost legendary.
The successor to John Rice at centre half back on the Monaghan team Benny Mone established for himself a similar reputation and has the distinction of winning not only Monaghan senior league and championship medals but a Railway Cup medal with Ulster in 1960 playing at right halfback.
Séamus Mulligan was still a teenager when he won an All Ireland junior championship medal with Monaghan in 1956 and went on to represent the county at senior level for quite a few viewers, playing mostly in midfield or on the ’40. His achievement is all the more laudable in that he had suffered the loss of one of his eyes in an accident as a young boy.
Another member of the 1956 junior team this Latton native was renowned for his high fielding and accurate distribution. As well as representing Latton he also represented Castleblayney in championship action in Monaghan.
One of Monaghan’s most accurate forwards in the late 50s and into the early 60s this Sigerson Cup winner was also a vital member of the 1956 All Ireland junior championship winning side where his ability to take points from play and frees was a feature of Monaghan’s game. Scored the equalizer in the All Ireland semi final against Kerry in Clones.
One of the younger members of the famous Tavey family of Donaghmoyne Eamonn however represented Castleblayney with whom he won numerous league and championship medals. He was the inaugural winner of the senior footballer of the year in Monaghan in 1973 and his lengthy inter county career saw him eventually make the breakthrough with an Ulster championship medal in 1979.
The hugely talented Gerry Fitzpatrick was one of the stars of the Castleblayney team that won five Monaghan senior football championships in a row between 1963 and 1967 and he went on to a mass another six senior championship medals as well as a host of senior league medals, often in the process finishing top scorer in the county. At county level he represented Monaghan for over a decade but this was a particularly lean period at inter county level and no honours came his way.
Moving nearer modern times Kevin Treanor, “Kevin Paddy”, established a unique record for himself, a record he still holds in Monaghan, in that he represented the county at minor, U21, Junior and Senior in the one year, playing Ulster minor and senior football championship on the same day. He won an Ulster senior football championship medal with Monaghan in 1979.
Hugo Clerkin has carved out for himself a special niche in the GAA in Monaghan for his consistent performances at midfield for the county for over a decade. He also earned for himself the reputation of being a very tough opponent and was a key figure in Monaghan making a breakthrough in Ulster championship terms in 1979 for a first title in 41 years. He went on from there to play a vital role in Monaghan achieving the unique double of Ulster senior football championship and National Football League titles in 1985.
Eugene “Nudie” Hughes.
One of the best-known names in Monaghan football for the last century plus Nudie Hughes is one of a few who hold a unique record of winning Ulster senior football championship medals in 1979, 1985 and 1988 as well as a NFL medal in 1985. He is also the only Monaghan player to have been awarded an All Star on three occasions and he has represented Ulster in Railway Cup action more than once. The holder of two Ulster club championship medals he also played for Ulster against Australia.
Kieran “Jap” Finlay.
Another very talented player who won senior football championship medals with Ballybay in Monaghan Kieran Finlay also represented the county and was often their leading scorer in league and championship. Known as “The Jap” he won an Ulster senior football championship medal with Monaghan in 1979 and established a scoring record for an Ulster final that year that stood for over 20 years until it was broken by Armagh’s Oisin McConville.
A native of Ballybay with whom he won a Monaghan senior football championship medal Paddy Linden went on to establish himself as one of Monaghan’s best goalkeepers ever. He was on the Monaghan team that won the Ulster senior football championship in 1979 and was again between the sticks in 1985 and 1988 having in the process recovered from a serious car accident that threatened to end his career. His ultimate honour was an All Star award in 1988.
A household name, Gerry McCarville has an unrivalled record in Monaghan. He is the holder of 14 Monaghan senior football championship medals and 12 senior football league medals as well as three Ulster club championship medals. He played at midfield for Monaghan when they ended a 41 years Ulster championship famine in 1979 but by 1985 when they won the title again, he had reverted to full back and one of the travesties of the game is that he did not get an All Star in that position in 1985. As well as his National Football League and Ulster championship medals in 1985 he won another Ulster senior football championship medal in 1988 and he is also the holder of Railway Cup medals with Ulster. He also played for Ulster against Australia in the early years of the International Rules.
Eugene Sherry initially made his name as a cornerback with both Scotstown and Monaghan but later succeeded Gerry McCarville at full back on the senior team having won an Ulster U21 championship medal in the number 3 shirt. Eugene Sherry has the unique distinction in that he is the only Monaghan player to be presented with a senior Trophy at national level on the steps of the Hogan Stand when Monaghan won the National Football League title out right in 1985, the same year that he captained them to an Ulster senior football championship title. He won a second Ulster medal in 1988. He is also the holder of two Ulster club championship medals as well as a number of Monaghan senior football championships and Dr McKenna cup medals. He represented Ulster in the Railway Cup in 1989.
Another player who has earned the status of something a household name Eamonn McEnaney first hit the headlines as a member of the Monaghan panel for the 1979 Ulster senior football championship although still in minor grade. He went on from there to win acclaim at national level as Monaghan’s top scorer in successive seasons and was on one occasion the top scorer nationally in the National Football League. His Ulster championship successes in 1985 and 1988 see him with three Ulster championship medals as well as a National Football League medal in 1985 and an All Star replacement that same year. He is the holder of two Ulster club championship medals with Castleblayney. His greatest moment was probably his equalising point from a 55 metres free against Kerry in the All Ireland senior football championship semi-final in 1985.
Ray McCarron was recognised in his playing days as one of the classiest forwards in the game especially in the eighties. He only took up Gaelic football when he was 16 after his family came back to Scotstown from Luton but despite the late start he went on to establish himself as a talented, skilful player whose accuracy is now legendary. He won two Ulster senior football championship medals with Monaghan in 1985 and 1988 as well as a National League medal in ’85 and in the process scored some of the most spectacular goals and points seen in that period something that no doubt contributed to him being selected for an All Star award.
Having won an Ulster senior football championship and a National Football League medal in 1985 Ciarán Murray went on to captain Monaghan in 1988 when, following their victory over Tyrone in the final he was presented with the Anglo Celt Cup on his native pitch, St Tiarnach’s Park. A member of the Clones club although he later transformed to Dublin, he represented Monaghan at minor, under 21 and senior level and was twice honoured with an All Star award. He also represented Ireland in the International Rules series on two occasions.
A native of Inniskeen whom he represented at all levels David Byrne came to prominence with the county as their high fielding midfielder in 1985. Brilliant under the high ball and with a deadly left foot David Byrne was a central character in Monaghan’s resurgence in the 80’s when he partnered Hugo Clerkin in midfield. As well as playing for Inniskeen he also played with the Garda club in Dublin before injury ended his career prematurely.
An attacking wing halfback Bernie Murray was one of the key members of Monaghan’s National League winning squad in 1985, having already represented the county at minor and U21 level. He sustained a broken leg in a challenge match in London following Monaghan’s league victory which ruled him out of the Ulster championship and there are those who still believe that had he been playing in the championship Monaghan could in fact have gone all the way. He is the holder of five Monaghan senior football championship medals with Scotstown.
Strong and brave, Declan Loughman was a member of the Monaghan team that won the Ulster SFC and the NFL in 1985 although his contribution was affected by injury. He was a regular on the Monaghan team for the best part of a decade and was also selected for Ulster on a number of occasions.
One of the new breed of Monaghan players Eoin Lennon has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the country. He won a National Football League division 2 medal with Monaghan in 2005 and is one of the anchors of the current team. A native of Latton he is the third generation of the same family to represent both club and county in successive generations.
A son of the now legendary Kieran “Jap” Finlay Paul has developed on the great football tradition handed on to him. He has represented Monaghan at minor, under 21 and senior, making his first breakthrough when he was a key player in Monaghan winning the 2001 Vocational Schools inter county All Ireland championship. A brilliant fielder of the ball and deadly accurate with left and right from play and frees Finlay possesses a rare talent and would command a first team place on any county team in the country. He represented Ireland in the International Rules series in Australia last year.
The son of legendary figure Hugo Clerkin who starred with Monaghan in the 70’s and into the 80’s Dick Clerkin has developed into a somewhat similar role with Monaghan as his father, a hard grafting midfielder. Strong on the ball and fearless in the tackle Dick Clerkin has now established himself among the top 10 midfielders in the country, winning a Railway Cup medal in 2007.
The “Magheracloone Flyer” as he is referred to locally has developed into one of the deadliest finishers in the game at present and is without question among the top three forwards playing Gaelic football at this particular time. As a player he would command a place on any county team with his pace, skill and finishing putting him in the top bracket. He has finished top scorer for Monaghan in successive seasons and is without doubt one of the county’s all-time greats. His star quality was recognised with an All-Star award in 2007 as well as An Irish News Ulster Award and he has also represented Ireland in the International Rules series.