Odhran Grant is a well-known figure in Donegal soccer circles.
He has played for a host of clubs down through the years including Coleraine, Drumkeen United, Fanad United, and Bonagee United, both in the USL and Donegal League. He re-joined Drumkeen at the start of last season.
Grant has against some top quality players over the last 15 years and this week has picked the best 11 (3-5-2) he faced, with honourable mentions for Darren McElwaine, Chris Kyle, Mark Moran, Trevor Gethins, and Paul McCauley.
Gareth Wade (Kildrum Tigers)
Kildrum were always in the race for the USL title, and Wade was one of the main reasons why. He was a great shot-stopper and had an excellent range of kicking. He might have nothing to do for an hour, but then when the opposition got their one chance, he was still able to produce the goods.
Arthur Lynch (Fanad United)
Big Arty was a rock in the Fanad defence for years. A no-nonsense defender – ball and man both got launched. Great leader at the back and if Fanad were chasing a game, he was a serious aerial threat in the opposition’s box. Hard as nails on the pitch and a friendly giant off it.
Kieran Gorman (Letterkenny Rovers, Fanad United, and Kilmacrennan Celtic)
I played many times against Kieran from underage up to senior when he was Letterkenny, Fanad, and Kilmac. Another old-school defender, who is always talking to his team and leading by example. Loves a 50/50 challenge too.
Jonathan Minnock (Letterkenny Rovers)
‘Minno’ played with Rovers in the latter stages of his career, but even then you could see he was still a class act. His deliveries from open play and set-pieces were first class, and many an attack started from him.
Dermot Kelly (Letterkenny Rovers and Kildrum Tigers)
I played with Dermy for a year with Bonagee and he was always an 8/10 reliable player. A solid defender who had a great engine, he loved to get up the wing. It was no surprise that he played at the top with Letterkenny Rovers and Kildrum for many years.
Paddy McGrenaghan (Fanad United)
Paddy was well into his thirties when he came back from Harps, but he was still head and shoulders above everybody. Paddy had a knack of ghosting past players at his ease, and was dangerous off either foot, and you never knew where was going. He could be on the sideline with two or three men around him, and then drop the shoulder, a few wee turns and next thing he’s going towards the box. A natural talent in every way.
Darren McCready (Kildrum)
I hated playing against Darren and ‘Gorby’ (Glenn Bovaird). You just knew you were going to be chasing shadows for most of the match. They had a great partnership. Darren was comfortable on the ball, no matter how tight the space was that he was in. He always found a pass or a touch to take him away from danger. A top player who played at a higher level and it showed.
Gerry Gill (Cockhill Celtic)
It was no surprise that Cockhill started dominating the USL when Gerry Gill signed for them at the start of the 2010s. He had great vision, a super touch, and an eye for goal. Gerry was a constant threat and a nightmare to mark.
Denis Boyle (Glenea United)
Denis played mainly in centre midfield for Glenea over the years, but he could also play on the left. I had many battles with him, and one day we were both sent off for boxing! I played with him at Fanad, and he was always up and down the wing, and had a wand of a left foot. A good team player that always put in a shift.
Ronan Coyle (Kildrum Tigers)
Ronan was consistently the best striker in the USL over the years. He wasn’t the tallest but had the upper body strength to mix it with defenders. A long ball could drop between him and two defenders and he had the strength and skill to take it on his chest, or he might use a cheeky deft touch and be on his way to the box. Defenders could never relax, because if they did, Ronan was in and heading for goal.
Michael McHugh (Swilly Rovers)
I used to get a lift to Coleraine with Mickey for training with the youth team. Mickey was playing with the first team then and you could see had pace to burn and was a great striker. When he joined Swilly, he was well into his thirties. The pace was gone but he still had the intelligence and vision to get that extra yard of space. He was a super finisher and still is to this day. I played with him in the Over 35s Drumoghill Cup last year and he finished as the tournament’s top scorer. In the final, he scored two volleys. One into the top corner with his right foot, and one into the top corner with his left foot. That quality never left him.