The top five GAA players who never won the All-Ireland 11 months ago

The top five GAA players who never won the All-Ireland

That settles it.

Lee Keegan's recent retirement has sparked an interesting debate amongst GAA fans, as the question remains - who is the greatest player to never win an All-Ireland title?


This unwanted label was always attached to Peter Canavan throughout his career before he finally lifted the Sam Maguire in the twighlight of his playing days in 2003, and then again for good measure in 2005.

Mayo obviously have an array of incredibly talented stars who came so close but never got over the line, so they naturally occupy many of the names thrown into the hat.


So, based on pure talent, guile, skill and the ability to do what others couldn't, we have compiled a list of the five greater players to never win an All-Ireland title.


Obviously this means that loads of stars with outrageous careers will be omitted, but let's all take this time to remember that it's just an opinion and we can all be every relaxed about that... right?

5. Johnny Doyle


The Kildare star was a stalwart for his county and had one of the most unbelievable engines in the history of the game.


No matter what stage his career was at - whether he was a young pup making his breakthrough or the veteran star carrying his team - the amount of ground he covered in a match was staggering.

The typical no-nonsense forward who showed up when his team needed him most was practically never injured and might just be the county's greatest servant yet.

4. Michael Meehan



When you think of players who made the crowd stand on their feet with anticipation, you think of Michael Meehan.

The Galway legend just missed out on the glory years of his county, but waved the flag for hope, as the Tribesmen fans always knew that if they had him in their side, then they would always have a fighting chance.

3. Conor McManus


Monaghan's main man for the past decade is the only thing in Ireland more consistent than the forever rising house prices.


The sharp-shooting forward personifies the phrase 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' as the Farney talisman stepped up to the occasion time and time again to bail his team out.

Some of the scores this man has managed to manufacture are simply breathtaking, and whether he's in a declining Monaghan side or a golden generation of county talent, you better believe that if they got the win that day, then he had a big part to play in it.

2. Ciaran McDonald


If you were to look up the word 'maverick' in the dictionary and were still confused by it's definition, then watching a few short clips of Ciaran McDonald in action ought to help clear things up.

The majestic magician had powers unlike any other footballer in his time - or since - so unusual was the way he played the game; a proper outlier in every sense of the word.

With a left boot possessing mystical capabilities, McDonald could find David Cameron with a pass (and that man has been missing since Brexit).

His scores were outrageous, his movement was beautiful, but make no mistake about it, he was no soft touch and wouldn't think twice about lifting a hand to a sticky robust defender who was tasked with following his every move.

1. Lee Keegan


No sooner had he announced his retirement, Des Cahill tweeted the question asking if Keegan is the best player to never lift Sam, and although it initially seems too obvious an answer, when you dissect the stars of the past, no one has done what the Mayo man has achieved.

Seven All-Ireland finals, five All-Stars, seven Connacht titles, and a Player of the Year award in 2015 are all obvious accolades that he has to his name.

However, it was the way he played the game; that familiar sight of him bursting out of defence with manic energy and unmoving determination was played out before our eyes time and time again.


A few one-twos would follow, before the ball was worked back into Keegan's hands and he had the posts at his mercy.

The Westport man is the all-time top scoring defender in championship history, and although some might argue that it's Peter Harte who has indeed scored more, it must be remembered that the Tyrone man played in the forward line for a fair chunk of his career.

If you were to draw up the blueprint of the perfect modern footballer, list all of the ingredients and make him in a lab, the end product of that experiment would look a lot like Lee Keegan.

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