The Best XV I have Played Against: Shane McNulty

Shane McNulty played senior football for Sean MacCumhaill’s for 18 years.

The Twin Towns men were a strong side during that time, and McNulty was one of their most consistent performers.

He went up against some top quality players over the course of his career and has this week picked the best fifteen he has faced, with honourable mentions for John Duffy (Aodh Ruadh), Stephen Cassidy (Gaoth Dobhair), and Stephen McDermott (Glenfin).

Danny Gallagher (Dungloe)


Danny was a big tall man that was around the county squad and played for Finn Harps for a while. He was a real strong physical presence around the square, and if a high ball was coming in, you didn’t have to worry about the full-back, it was Danny that would be coming out to take man, ball and all. He had a huge kick-out too.

Damien Diver (Ardara)

Damien Diver was Mr Versatile. You could have selected him anywhere in this team. Long before the McGuinness era when everyone was super fit, Diver was at that level. He was Ardara’s dangerman and if you were told to mark him, you had to be prepared to cover every blade of grass on the pitch.

Damien Diver

John Joe Doherty (Naomh Columba)

I was 17 when I first played championship for MacCumhaill’s. I came on a sub in the first leg against Glen at home, and then started the away match at full-forward. John Joe Doherty had just won an All Star at the time, and if he whispered in my ear, never mind throw me a dig into the ribs, it would have intimidated me. But he just wanted to play football tough and fair, and I always respected him for that.

Eamonn O’Donnell (Aodh Ruadh)

Eamonn was probably best known as a full-back, and he was a key part of the Aodh Ruadh team who were really strong in the nineties. Eamonn was a tight man-marker, and rarely would you have seen him beat.


Barry McGowan (Killybegs)

Barry was a quality player who made everything look so easy. He always seemed to have time on the ball and was rarely under pressure. He was always so comfortable in possession. A class act.

Kevin Cassidy (Gaoth Dobhair)

Kevin was the heartbeat of the Gaoth Dobhair team and he always led by example. When you played against them, Kevin would always be either centre half back or midfield and he would dominate games. He was a tough, physical player, who wouldn’t give you anything easy.

Kevin Cassidy of Gaoth Dobhair

Frank McGlynn (Glenfin)

I would have been helping out with underage teams for the club when Frank McGlynn was coming through. He wasn’t always the tallest or the strongest, but he always could find himself space, and that was the same in soccer too. He could control a match and make it look so easy.

John Gildea (Naomh Conaill)

John had a good career with the county and he was a great midfielder. His upper body was so strong and he was excellent at catching kick-outs. A real war horse – he was always driving his team forward.

John Gildea on the ball

John ‘Ban’ Gallagher (Killybegs)

John ‘Ban’ was another part of that successful Killybegs side that won so much. We always felt that if we could get on top in midfield against them we would have half a chance, because if they were giving good ball into their forwards you were in real bother. But it was very hard to get the better of them in midfield and John ‘Ban’ was the main reason for that. He had a great catching ability and was excellent at delivering the ball inside.

Christy Toye (St Michael’s)

I always had the joy of following Christy when we played St Michael’s. Once he got the gallop up, it was nearly impossible to catch him. He was actually nearly faster running with the ball than without it, and he could score too.

Christy Toye in action for St Michael’s .

Michael Hegarty (Kilcar)

We had a couple of really close games with Kilcar in 2004. We drew with them twice and then beat them by a point in the third game. I would have been marking Michael Hegarty and that wasn’t an easy task. He was a first class link man, and he was never happy just to give the ball – he would always look for the return.

Brendan Kilcoyne (St Eunan’s)

I had a lot of battles with Brendan down through the years and he was a tough cookie. He always complained about a dodgy knee but it never restricted him too much. Brendan played county football with Sligo, but he always showed you respect on the field, and played fair.

Brendan Kilcoyne

Brian Roper (Aodh Ruadh)

If you saw Brian coming over to mark you, all you wanted to do was walk off the pitch. He was so quick with that low centre of gravity, and he would never settle. It was like giving a child a fizzy drink – he was so busy and active during matches, and it would be non-stop for sixty minutes.

Martin Penrose (Aghyaran)

I would have played a lot of challenge games and local tournaments against Aghyaran, and Martin Penrose was always a man that stood out. He had all the attributes – strength, speed, ability, and finishing. When he got going, he was very hard to stop.

Martin Penrose

Manus Boyle (Killybegs)

If you gave away a foul forty metres from goal against Killybegs, it was like giving away a point. Manus was so accurate and he very rarely missed a free. You’d call him a fox in the box these days – a real dangerman – and if he got the ball in his hands, you were in trouble.

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