The Best XV I have Played Against: Mark McGinty

Mark McGinty enjoyed a long and fruitful career with his club Glenfin, while he has also represented Donegal at underage level and in the McKenna Cup, and played Sigerson football with Sligo IT.

He came up against some top quality players over the last twenty years, and has this week picked the best fifteen he has faced, with honourable mentions for Paddy Bradley (Derry), Brendan Devenney (St Eunan’s), Michael Maguire (Naomh Columba), Andrew Gallagher (St Naul’s), and Paddy McConigley (Gaeil Fhánada)

Paul Durcan (Four Masters)


I would have played against Gary Walsh and he was a solid goalkeeper, but the best was big ‘Papa’. He had brilliant kick-outs and was a big target so it was hard to get the ball past him.

Paul Durcan

Eamon McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)

I went up against Eamon a good bit in minor and Under 21 and a few times at senior level in the noughties. He was always a big player for Gaoth Dobhair.

Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair)

Anybody that came up against Neil would probably have him in their team. He was fantastic and you had to work for everything you got. There was only one day I ever got the better of him and that was in the divisional competition John Joe Doherty set up. Neil must have had a few the night before!

Karl Lacey (Four Masters)

Lacey had a brilliant career with Donegal and you see that with the All Stars he won, and I always felt he played well against us for Four Masters too. He could play anywhere on the pitch, and there was no dirt with him. He just wanted to play ball.

Karl Lacey. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE


Barry Monaghan (Four Masters)

Myself and Barry would have had a lot of big battles down through the years. He was a big strong man, but a good footballer too, and could have played half-back or half-forward or in midfield.

Michael Hegarty (Kilcar)

I’ve a lot of forwards to squeeze in so I’m pushing Mickey Hegarty back to the half-back line. He was always the main man for Kilcar and carried them for years. It’s just a pity he didn’t get his All-Ireland medal with Donegal because he deserved it.

Michael Hegarty in action for Kilcar

Kevin Cassidy (Gaoth Dobhair)

The first time I ever came across Cassidy was in a school game for Ballinamore and this fella with a skinhead came up and gave me a dead leg before the ball was even thrown in. He was a serious player back then and went on to have a very good career.

Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s)

We would have played St Eunan’s at Under 21 level and senior level, and Rory was always a man that stood out. He had it all and was a great leader for St Eunan’s too.

Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly)

I couldn’t look past Big Neil. It was always hard to win a ball in the middle of the field against him. Neil and Murphy were the two main men for Glenswilly when they won their county titles.

Neil Gallagher, Glenswilly in action against Gary Wilson, MacCumhaills. Photo: Donna El Assaad

Paul Finlay (Monaghan and Ballybay)

I came across Paul Finlay a few times. He was Monaghan’s main man at minor and Under 21. We also played his club Ballybay in the Ulster Intermediate Club semi-final in 2001. We scrapped over the line by a point that day but you could see his class.

Benny Coulter (Down)

We played Down in the Ulster Minor Final in 1999 and they beat us after a replay. Benny Coulter was their main man then. They had a very good team and went on to win the All-Ireland. But we had a good team as well and I often think it’s one we left behind.

Benny Coulter

Gerard Cavlan (Dungannon Clarkes)

We played Dungannon in the Ulster Intermediate Final in 2001. I marked Cavlan and we had a clash early in the match that got my thickness up and we went at it hammer and tongs after that. He was a hard man to handle.

Adrian Sweeney (Dungloe)

I was unlucky enough to have to mark ‘Eddie’ a few times and if he got an inch he would punish you. He has one of the best left foots I’ve ever seen and could score from anywhere.

Michael Murphy (Glenswilly)

I first came across Murphy when he was breaking through into the Glenswilly team. He was only a cub but age didn’t matter. He cleaned me out that day. But seeing what he has gone on to do since, I don’t feel too bad about it.

Michael Murphy in action against Neil McGee

Colm McFadden (St Michael’s)

We played St Michael’s a lot in my time, and McFadden was a serious operator for them. We played them in the county semi-final in 2011 and he nearly beat us by himself. I think we tried three or four men on him but when he was on form, there wasn’t much you could do.

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