The Best XV I Played Against: Gerard Melaugh

Gerard Melaugh has enjoyed a long and fruitful career with his club Red Hugh’s, while he has also represented the 28th Infantry Battalion based at Finner Camp.

He has come up against some top quality players over the last twenty years, and has this week picked the best fifteen he has faced.

Peter Boyle (Aodh Ruadh):
It’s a tough one between Oran Hartin (Derry/Limavady) or Peter Boyle. Oran was outstanding in the Ulster Junior Final against us and had great kick-outs. But Peter gets the nod for his range of kicking, cuteness, and ability to score from frees. He’s scored a few tough ones against us that stick in the memory.


Cathal Martin (Gaeil Fhánada): Cathal was a tight marker who was comfortable on the ball too, and got on with the game hard and fair.

Raymond Sweeney (Dungloe):
I played against Raymond in the 2004 season when he was coming towards the end of his county career. He was solid and led the full-back line.

Raymond Sweeney, Dungloe.

Paul Murphy (Kilkenny): Paul is not just a brilliant hurler, he’s also a talented footballer. I would have played against him when the Finner GAA team took on Kilkenny over the years.

Damien Diver (Ardara): I played against Damien in 2004 when Ardara came to the Cross, and he was brilliant that day in what was a real battle.

Ryan McAnespie (Emyvale): McAnespie was a real handful the day we played Emyvale in Healy Park. He made a lot of driving runs through the middle and kicked a lot of dangerous ball inside.

McHugh of Donegal in action against Ryan McAnespie of Monaghan during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Donegal and Monaghan at Kingspan Breffni Park in Cavan Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Marcus Curran (Robert Emmets):
Over the years, I often won the lucky ticket of man-marking Marcus when we played Robert Emmets, and it’s fair to say he gave me a few roastings. He was a great athlete and it would break your heart trying to run after him all day. I caught up with him after a few years and we had a few more even contests.


Callum Gallagher (Naomh Brid): Any time we have played Naomh Brid over the past few years, Callum has always played very well. He always keeps going 100%.

Callum Gallagher

Dermot Earley Junior (Kildare):
I played against Dermot in the All-Army competition for the brigade team, and he ran the game. He dominated the aerial ball and made it look so easy. A real classy player.

David Walsh (Naomh Brid): I played a lot of games against David over the years and he always stood out. He scored 1-2 against us in the 2003 Junior Final and was Naomh Brid’s top performer that day.

David McAllister (Emyvale): David tortured us in the Ulster Junior semi-final a couple of years ago. We struggled for long periods of that game to handle him and he kicked seven points.

Brian Roper (Aodh Ruadh):
Brian was a really smart player that could make all sorts happen to get his team going. A leader as well.

Ryan McErlean (Naomh Colmcille): Ryan is always a goal threat when we play against Newtown. He’s very direct and hard to stop when in full flight. He scored a few goals against us over the years.

Naomh Colmcille’s Ryan McErlean breaks past Robert Emmetts’ John Hunter during Wednesday’s league game. See page 75 for full match coverage. Photo: Evan Logan

Adrian Sweeney (Dungloe): We played against Dungloe in 2004 and Adrian was outstanding in the game down there. He was pinging frees from inside his own half down in the wee pitch in Dungloe, and as soon as he got the ball he was shooting from over his shoulder wherever he was.

Gary ‘Ban’ McClafferty (Downings): It was a tough call between Gary, Conor McBrearty, and Alan Lyons. I had a few tussles with Gary, and Alan, but I had nothing but respect for them. Gary ‘Ban’ played a lot of good games against us as a playmaker. A lot went through him and he was very accurate from frees.

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