The Best XV I have Played Against: Kevin Gallagher

Kevin ‘Cookie’ Gallagher enjoyed a long and fruitful career with his club Downings.

He made his debut in 1990 and was involved with the senior team for twenty years before going on to manage Downings, Gaeil Fhánada and Four Masters.

Gallagher also represented Donegal at minor and Under 21 level.

He went up against some top quality players over his career, and has this week picked the best fifteen he faced, with honourable mentions for Daniel Gallagher (Glenswilly), Aidan Cannon (Milford), Sean Bonner (Na Rossa), Paul Gallagher (Naomh Muire), and Odhran McBride (Termon).

Darran Nash (Milford)


We would have played against Milford a lot in the nineties and they had a great goalkeeper in Darran Nash. He was a super shot-stopper that kept us out on many occasions.

Darran Nash

Sean Teague (Tyrone)

Sean was a solid player for Tyrone down through the years. I was unfortunate enough to go up against him in the Ulster Minor Final in 1991 and he was a real beast of a player.

Brian Corcoran (Cork)

We played against Cork in the All-Ireland Minor semi-final in 1991 and Corcoran was excellent. They won by three points and he was the real difference that day as he was able to nullify a few of our main men. He had a full beard at that time, and I think us young fellas were nearly intimidated looking at him.

Brian Corcoran, Cork.


Matt Gallagher (Naomh Brid)

Matt was an important player for Naomh Brid down through the years. In my opinion, he was the second best full-back this county has ever produced after Neil McGee. A real Donegal great.

Martin Shovlin (Naomh Ultan)

Martin Shovlin was as tough as they come. A great marker, and a brilliant servant both for his club and his county during a long career.

Naomh Ultan’s Martin Shovlin.

Declan Boyle (Killybegs)

We would have went up against Killybegs a few times when they were really strong, and Declan Boyle was a young lad who had serious talent. I have no doubt that he would have become a Donegal legend if he had stuck to the gaelic.

Paddy Shiels (Gaeil Fhánada)

Paddy was one of Fanad’s great players. I played against him and then managed him, and he always left it all out on the field. If every club had a man like Paddy they would be going well. RIP Paddy.

Paddy Shiels

SP Barrett (Milford)

I would have played loads against SP and he was an excellent midfielder and a leader for Milford. He played the game like how he manages these days, demanding 100% from himself and everyone else in the team.

Brendan Devenney (Naomh Colmcille)

Before DV went to St Eunan’s, I remember him playing for Naomh Colmcille alongside his father Paddy. He came to Downings one day when he was about 16 and played midfield and nobody including myself could get anywhere near him. It was no surprise to me that he went on to have such a good career.

Brendan Devenney

Sean Boyce (Cloughaneely)

I would have played a good bit with Sean and also against him when he was playing for Cloughaneely. You could never take your eye off him and he was always a handful.

Tommy Ryan (Termon)

Tommy Ryan was a top class forward. He was built like a tank and was so hard to stop. I had the unmerciful task of trying to mark him and failed miserably numerous times. (Tommy always enjoyed a warm fair’s day).

Tommy Ryan

Seamus Durkan (Milford)

I would have gone up against Seamus a good few times and he was always a thorn in my side. We had a lot of battles on the field but all would be forgiven over a few shandies after the match.

Seamie ‘Coshia’ Friel (Gaeil Fhánada)

Seamie was another good forward who caused Downings plenty of problems down through the years. It was definitely easier managing him than playing against him.

Brian McLaughlin against Naomh Conaill

Brian McLaughlin (St Michael’s)

Brian could play full-forward or midfield and he was always a consistent performer regardless of where he was playing. One of the best footballers St Michael’s have ever had and a gentleman to go with it.

Declan Bonner (Na Rossa)

We would have plenty of battles with Na Rossa as well and you would always have had to keep a close eye on Declan Bonner because he was their main man. He gave us many sleepless nights ahead of the Intermediate final in 1993.

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