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02nd Apr 2024

GAA JOE Team of the National Football League

Niall McIntyre

Let the debates begin.

After a debate of our own, this is the XV we have settled on.

On it, there are four Derry men, three Dubs, two Tyrone men, two Donegal men, one Laois man, one Galway man, one Westmeath man and one Leitrim man.

There are ten Division One players, two Division Two players, one Division Three player and two Division Four players.

Honourable mentions are given to Kerry’s Joe O’Connor, Donegal’s Peadar Mogan, Westmeath’s Ray Connellan, Dublin’s Ciaran Kilkenny and Derry trio Odhran Lynch, Diarmuid Baker and Conor Doherty, as they were most unlucky to miss out.

GAA JOE Team of the National League

1 Niall Morgan (Tyrone)

He has the X factor. Caught balls two foot above his cross-bar. Assisted a goal from inside his own 21. He just pips the magnificent Odhran Lynch.

2 Conor McCluskey (Derry)

A machine of a corner back who scored three goals this spring.

3 Eoin McEvoy (Derry)

Flourished in the half-back line on Sunday but full back was his home for the majority of the League. He didn’t put a foot wrong there.

4 Johnny McGrath (Galway)

Galway’s go-to man-marker now. Not many can claim to have held Shane McGuigan and Ryan O’Donoghue scoreless like McGrath can.

5 Cian Murphy (Dublin)

A real breakthrough player for Dublin. Mixes the gritty defending with a knack for taking a score, and he racked up 1-4 from play for his campaign.

6 Caolan McGonagle (Donegal)

Has become a beast in recent times, and his ascension was plain for all to see on Sunday, when he cut through the heart of the Armagh defence on numerous occasions in the Division Two final.

31 March 2024; Caolan McGonagle of Donegal in action against Andrew Murnin of Armagh during the Allianz Football League Division 2 Final match between Armagh and Donegal at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

7 Sam MacCartan (Westmeath)

Dessie Dolan says his Division Three final was one of the best displays ever produced by a Westmeath man in Croke Park. MacCartan was simply sensational against Down.

8 Brian Fenton (Dublin)

Was quieter than usual in the League final but was as imperious as ever up to that point.

9 Conor Glass (Derry)

He is the heartbeat of the Derry team. Their organiser in chief who as well as bringing a calmness and confidence to proceedings, also has the penchant for the spectacular, such as some of his catches on Sunday.

10 Darragh Canavan (Tyrone)

Scored 1-26 in six games, 1-18 from open play. He has become Tyrone’s go-to forward, and is now considered as one of the best forwards in the country.

11 Oisin Gallen (Donegal)

Scored 0-24 in seven League appearances. Is very elusive and creates space for himself so effectively, while his point-kicking is spectacular. Is fast becoming Donegal’s main man up front.

12 Ryan O’Rourke (Leitrim)

Was the top scorer from play across all four Divisions, with only 1-3 of his 6-21 tally coming from dead-balls. A brilliant forward who mixes balance and pace with accuracy.

5 June 2022; Riordan O Rourke of Leitrim in action against Nathan Mullen of Sligo during the Tailteann Cup Quarter-Final match between Leitrim and Sligo at Avant Money Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim. Photo by Ray Ryan/Sportsfile

13 Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)

Didn’t get great service in the League final, but had enough done. His 3-4 cameo against Kerry and 0-7 tally against Roscommon were arguably the displays of the League.

14 Evan O’Carroll (Laois)

A brilliant forward who was simply too good for Division Four. He scored 2-26 in a brilliant campaign, where he captained Laois to glory.

15 Shane McGuigan (Derry)

McGuigan is Derry’s marquee forward. He always delivers, and comes into his own in the big pressure moments.

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