Owen Mulligan: 3 Ulster men in my all-decade team – but none from Tyrone

Just call him Objective Owen

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Time flies when you’re having fun and for the Dubs, they had loads of fun over the last ten years. That’s why nine of them are in my team of the decade.

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Between the other six, there are two each from Donegal and Mayo and a fantastic forward from both Kerry and Monaghan. It wasn’t easy but here goes…

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Owen Mulligan’s Team of the Decade

GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 1/9/2019
Dublin vs Kerry
Dublin’s goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton saves a shot from Kerry’s Paul Murphy
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

Without doubt, the greatest goalkeeper there’s ever been in the game. His ability to find a man from his kick-outs is second to none. His shot-stopping ability also sets him apart from the rest. Thankfully, he got distracted by my highlights in 2005 for that goal.

Johnny Cooper (Dublin)

An absolute beast of a worker and reads the game extremely well. One of those guys who I’d have relished going up against because he’d be more than happy to play you fair and straight or on the knife edge.

Neil McGee (Donegal)

He’s about as popular in Tyrone as Ryan McMenamin is in just about every other county in Ireland, except for Fermanagh. Comes across as a very confrontation player and plays right on the line. Every county in Ireland would love him at full-back.

Allianz Football League Division 1, Healy Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone 3/2/2019
Tyrone vs Mayo
Mayo’s Keith Higgins after scoring a goal
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Keith Higgins (Mayo)

If he was from Dublin, he’d have started every game for them in their run to five in a row. Still looking for his first All Ireland medal but that hasn’t stopped him bagging four All-Star awards.

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Lee Keegan (Mayo)

Another four-time All-Star who’s gone so close to landing Sam. Fully merited his Player of the Year Award in 2016 and when you need a man to pick up a dangerous forward, he’s your guy. Also, very accurate in front of the posts and even deadlier with a GPS as well, so I’m told.

Cian O’Sullivan (Dublin)

He owns the number 6 jersey on this team. He’s like a magnet to win the ball and he’s the springboard to the Dublin attacks. He’s so creative and often dominates his sector of the field.

GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay, Croke Park, Dublin 14/9/2019
Dublin vs Kerry
Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey celebrates after the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)

In the same way that Philip Jordan owned this position in the noughties, McCaffrey has done the same in the last decade. He’s been one of the standout players for Dublin. His pace and power when driving forward create such havoc for opposing defenders.

Brian Fenton (Dublin)

Still to lose a championship game for Dublin and is one of the most complete midfielders of his generation. His high fielding, breakneck speed in the attack and ability to get his scores makes him the player he is.

James McCarthy (Dublin)

A ‘Rolls Royce’ of a player. He could play in any position and has now bagged seven All Ireland’s playing in three different positions. Should probably have won Footballer of the Year on a couple of occasions too.

GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 11/8/2018
Dublin vs Galway
Dublin’s Paul Flynn
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Paul Flynn (Dublin)

An All-Star four years in a row and blessed with immense power and pace. He’s has been a huge asset for this history-making Dublin side and will go down as one of their best ever players.

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Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)

Might well have joined the ranks of the Aussie Rules before Jim Gavin got his hands on him. Such an important cog in the Dublin forward line and one of the ‘Darlings Of The Hill’.

Colm Cooper (Kerry)

Might only have won one All Ireland in the last ten years (2013) but his performances on the big days set him apart from those around him. He was particularly effective towards the end of his career and he is a must pick for this team.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 28/8/2016
Dublin vs Kerry
Kerry’s Colm Cooper celebrates Darran OÕSullivan scoring the first goal of the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Bernard Brogan (Dublin)

He’s got seven All Irelands and four All-Stars. A surgeon in that inside forward line and he was highly effective in finding the net. He was simply unmarkable in a number of Dublin’s championship-winning performances.

Michael Murphy (Donegal)

Always feared by Tyrone and from an early stage in his career, he stood out as a true leader in the Donegal team, especially when he was captain. Hard to believe that he’s only got one All Ireland medal but easily one of the players of the decade. Scored that belter of a goal against Mayo when they lifted Sam in 2012.

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Conor McManus (Monaghan)

He might never have featured in an All Ireland final but I’d have him on my team any day of the week. He’s one of those players who can light up an occasion with his skillset. A three-time All-Star, he fully merits his position on my team and any team.

Footballer Of The Decade – Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

Manager Of The Decade – Jim Gavin (Dublin)

Goal Of The Decade – Michael Murphy v Mayo (2012 All Ireland SFC Final)

If it’s still going, there are probably odds on it at PaddyPower.com