Search icon


16th Dec 2016

Who is in the running for title of ‘winningest’ GAA player of 2016?

One game to go

Mikey Stafford

Look, it is a word. It is not everyone’s favourite word, but US sportspeople have been using it since the 1940s so who are we to argue?

Winningest: Having the most wins in competition. For the purposes of this little survey we are limiting it to starters on senior club, county and interprovincial championship winners, plus Allianz Leagues and top level college competitions. We are not including the pre-season competitions (sorry Longford).

So we will look at the dominant county teams (Dublin footballers and Tipperary hurlers), see who won the county championships in those counties, see how far those club teams went in the AIB provincial club championships and then take account of interprovincial players and dual stars.

Interprovincial Senior Hurling Championship Final, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary Munster vs Leinster Munster's Paraic Maher celebrates with Dan McCormack after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Tipperary Hurlers

Winners of the Munster and All-Ireland senior hurling championships, Michael Ryan’s Premier team featured three players from 2016 Tipperary champions Thurles Sarsfields, and of those only Pádraic Maher featured in the Railway Cup final, giving him a total of FOUR major medals in 2016. However his ‘little’ brother Ronan was on Mary Immaculate College’s Fitzgibbon Cup winning side, so that is a tie.

Pádraic and Ronan Maher (4)

Dublin Footballers

Winners of the Allianz League, Leinster and All-Ireland senior football championships, it was another vintage year for the Dubs. While Michael Savage and Shane Carthy are in Jim Gavin’s squad, Diarmuid Connolly is the only starter from Dublin SFC champions St Vincent’s. The Marino men winning their third Leinster club title in four years brings Connolly’s haul to FIVE major medals in 2016. Michael Darragh MacAuley comes in one behind Connolly after Ballyboden’s All-Ireland club triumph on St Patrick’s Day, as do UCD Sigerson Cup winners Michael Fitzsimons and David Byrne.

Diarmuid Connolly (5) 

Tyrone Footballers

Defeated by Mayo at the quarter-final stage, Mickey Harte did guide Tyrone to a Division 2 League title and their first Ulster SFC triumph in six years. Tiernan McCann was the only starter from county champions Killyclogher, bringing him to three. A member of Pete McGrath’s Ulster team, a win over Connacht in the interprovincial final at the weekend could bring him to four, but for now he has THREE major medals.

Tiernan McCann (3)

Dual contenders

Starring for the Clare footballers who claimed the Allianz Division 3 title, midfield powerhouse Gary Brennan also won Clare and Munster club hurling titles with Ballyea – giving him a healthy total of three (3).

Slaughtneil’s 13 dual players may not have made a mark on the intercounty scene with Derry this year but they did more than enough at club level. Chrissy McKaigue and Co won the Derry SFC and SHC before going onto win the AIB Ulster club SFC and SHC. If one of them lines out for Pete McGrath’s Ulster side against Connacht at the weekend they would be able to draw level with Connolly on five, but for now they remain on (4).

So, by our calculations, with one game to play Diarmuid Connolly is currently winningest GAA star of 2016.

Have we missed anyone? If so get in touch and let us know.

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?