DARRAN Nash was one of the top goalkeepers in Donegal during his playing days, and lined out with Milford United, Finn Harps, Limavady United, Institute, Swilly Rovers, and Fanad United during his career.
He came up against some top quality players during that time, and has this week picked the best 11 (4-4-2) he faced.
Bosco Gallagher (Fanad United and Finn Harps): As a young goalkeeper – before I even played in the Ulster Senior League with Milford against him – I saw Bosco playing many times for Finn Harps and in a really good Fanad United side, the best Intermediate side in the country at the time. He had a huge presence about him, very vocal, commanding in the air, agile and a massive kick from his hands and off the ground. He was always a good man to give encouragement and solid advice to a young ‘keeper also.
Pascal Vaudequin (Derry City and Shelbourne): Pascal was known for being one of the best attacking full-backs in the League of Ireland and was always looking to get on the ball to start attacks, and defensively he was solid as well.
Pat Scully (Shelbourne): At a time when Shelbourne were one of most talented teams in the country going forward. they had this guy at the back. He was big, commanding and mobile as well as being a huge threat from set-pieces.
John McElwaine (Fanad United): John is regarded by many as being one of the best players ever in Donegal. He could play in midfield or at the back, I even saw him playing in goals and he looked equally comfortable there! Playing with a very relaxed style, he was a great reader of the game, had a good touch, good in the air and on the ground and his passing and shooting were exceptional (mostly with the outside of his boot!) As a goalkeeper especially playing against him, more often than not a free-kick in the opposition’s half would be a potential shot.
Jonathan Minnock (Finn Harps): I played with ‘Minno’ many times at Finn Harps but also played against him with Fanad United. A great athlete, good in the air and in the tackle and probably one of the fastest players in the League of Ireland. He had a sweet left foot from play and free-kicks so he was always a threat when he went into the opposition’s half.
Tony Sheridan (Shelbourne): A real flair player, arrived at Shels from Coventry where he played in the premiership and was even linked with a million pound plus move to Liverpool. Regarded by many as the most talented player in the league at the time and capable of playing in a number of different attacking positions, he could turn defenders inside out and was a good finisher when he got in on goal.
Paul Osam (St Patrick’s Athletic): Physically huge but mobile, and technically very good, as well as being a threat from set pieces. A player that you would rarely saw having a bad game.
Peter Hutton (Derry City): Could play in defence or midfield where he was always a scoring threat arriving late into the opposition’s box. A very determined player that covered a lot of ground and did the simple things really well, a leader on the field.
Eddie Gormley (St Patrick’s Athletic): A really talented player that normally would play in the centre of midfield. A brilliant striker of the ball, his passing and shooting were of the highest quality and still one of the few players I have ever played against that could hit set-pieces with either foot.
Liam Coyle (Derry City): Hugely talented striker, very skilful with great vision for bringing others into play or taking chances himself, and always capable of doing something out of the ordinary.
Michael McHugh (Omagh Town and Derry City): A high energy striker not only in trying to create space for scoring chances but also in closing down goalkeepers and defenders on the ball. His biggest attribute though was that he was a clinical finisher.