SportGAA

If Gaelic football had a transfer window, we pick the top 30 targets

Ciaran Kilkenny
Ciaran Kilkenny

JUST imagine there was a transfer market in Gaelic football. What players would be the targets for the top teams as they scrambled to assemble a team to challenge for the Sam Maguire Cup?

In this feature we identify the Top 15 players in the GAA’s fantasy transfer market and which county would covet their signature most.

We also identify 10 bargain buys who would be worthy of a punt and name five wannabes that are set to make a big impact in the next few years.


THE GOLDEN BUYS...

Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin) €60m

Possesses all the physical attributes needed for modern day Gaelic football and has emerged as Gaelic’s version of an NFL quarter-back in the last couple of seasons.

Targeted by Mayo:  At centre-forward, he could transform their dysfunctional attack.

Dean Rock (Dublin) €58m

He was the top scorer in last year’s championship and his return of 1-58 represented over forty percent of Dublin’s total scores. 

Target for Tyrone: Mickey Harte’s side badly need a reliable free-taker.

Michael Murphy (Donegal) €56m

A leader, a warrior and a decent free-taker from long range; he has been the driving force behind Donegal’s unprecedented run of success in the last five years.

Target for Dublin: The perfect partner for Brian Fenton at midfield.

Paul Geaney (Kerry) €55m

A classy finisher he tormented the Dublin rear-guard in the League final and right now looks like a player on top of his game.

Target for Mayo: They need clinical forwards.

Lee Keegan (Mayo) €52m

The current Footballer of the Year is a force of nature and has a proven scoring record as well

Target for Kerry: The perfect leader for their relatively youthful defence.

Brian Fenton (Dublin) €45m

His stock value has slipped slightly this spring having being subdued by Jack Barry in the two games against Kerry. Needs to add a cutting physical edge to his game.

Target for Monaghan:  The loss of Darren Hughes for the championship leaves Monaghan short of midfield cover.

Ryan McHugh (Donegal) €44m

In the modern game he is invaluable given his ability to transition the ball and himself at lightning speed from defence to attack and score goals.

Target for Tyrone: Would add a cutting edge to their counter-attacking game

Paul Murphy (Kerry) €43m

His versatility means he is be equally effective as a wing-back, wing forward or as a link-man – a role he fills for Kerry at the moment.

Target for Cork: They need a quality footballer to build a team around

Philly McMahon (Dublin) €42m

The kind of in your face defender that forwards detest; he can score when he roams forward too.

Target for Donegal:  The perfect replacement for the retired Eamon McGee

 

Jack McCaffrey (Dublin) €40m

 A player made for the modern game. He has a Rolls-Royce engine and has the ability to deliver accurate, long range foot passes and score.

Target for Kildare: Are assembling a decent side but badly need leaders and a proven winner

Aidan O’Shea (Mayo) €38m

Much maligned but a powerhouse figure that would probably be more effective given one specific role.

Target for Dublin: As a target man on the edge of the square he would add a new dimension to their play.

John Heslin (Westmeath) €36m

A scoring machine, Heslin hit a remarkable 3-60 in the recent Allianz League

Target for Tyrone: Would give the side so many additional option and resolve their free-taking issues

Conor McManus (Monaghan) €34m

Another proven score-getter from play and frees, on his day he is unmarkable.

Target for Mayo:  The chances are they would have won an All-Ireland by now if they had a forward of McManus’ calibre.

Michael Quinlivan (Tipperary) €32m

At just 24 he has youth on his side;  a proven leader and scorer – from frees and play.

Target for Tyrone: Another player who would boost their scoring rate.

Peter Harte (Tyrone) €30m

A versatile performer who can fill a variety of roles in defence and attack and scores penalties

Target for Galway: Given his experience, he would be the ideal man to take the Connacht champions to the next level.

WORTH A PUNT...

Stephen Cluxton (Dublin) €29m

Arguably no other player has done more during his career to redefine the position he plays in.

Target for Kerry: Would bring stability to a position which has caused the Kingdom grief in recent years

Bernard Brogan (Dublin) €27m

Might have lost a few yards in pace but can still sniff out goal chances

Target for Kildare: The team most likely to challenge Dublin’s Leinster dominance in the future are short on scoring forwards.

Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone) €24m

Has proven leadership qualities; unmatchable experience and he is a proven winner.

Target for Donegal:  With him on the edge of the square Michael Murphy could concentrate on his other duties.

Paddy Andrews (Dublin) €22m

One of the unsung heroes of the Dublin attack he is still a highly capable performer.

Target for Meath: Andrews would provide leadership and scoring ability

Colm O’Neill (Cork) €21m

Has survived three potentially career ending cruciate knee ligament injuries and remains a proven scorer.

Target for Tipperary: A full forward line of O’Neill, Quinlivan and Conor Sweeney would discommode even the best defences

Andy Moran (Mayo) €20m

Was Mayo’s best forward during the 2017 Allianz League campaign.

Target for Roscommon: Would provide vital leadership to a young forward group.

Kieran Donaghy (Kerry) €15m

Might be well past his best but would still be an effective target man-cum midfielder

Target for Clare: Would provide them with badly needed ball winner on the edge of the square.

Frank McGlynn (Donegal) €10m

A seasoned defender who is very comfortable going forward.

Target for Tipperary: Could provide them with the additional defensive cover they need if they are to win silverware.

Seanie Furlong (Wicklow) €9m

Wicklow had a woeful league but Furlong (above) was still the seventh highest scorer in the competition

Target for Kildare: They need more scoring power if they are to progress further.

Sean Quigley (Fermanagh) €8m

Quigley has the priceless ability of being able to kick the ball over the bar – regularly.

Target for Tyrone: Would add much need strength and ball-winning ability to their underperforming full-forward line


NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Con O’Callaghan  (Dublin) €5m

Has all the credentials to be one of the superstars of the game during the next decade.

Coveted by – Mayo:  Even though his inter-county career in its infancy, you could imagine him turning Mayo into All-Ireland winners.

Ciaran Thompson (Donegal) €5m

Had a sensational debut league campaign outscoring Michael Murphy from play as he hit 0-17.

Coveted by – Tyrone: An ideal replacement for Sean Cavanagh

Brian O Beaglaoich (Kerry) €4.5m

A defender with sizzling pace he’s already a season of inter county championship football behind him.

Coveted by – Tipperary: A perfect recruit as their ambitions expand

Sean Andy O’Ceallaigh (Galway) €4m

Deservingly earned rave reviews for his performance at full-back in the All-Ireland U-21 final.

Coveted by – Mayo:  Full-back is a position that has been given the Green and Red fits for a long time.

Sean O’Shea (Kerry) €3m 

Yet to feature at senior level for the Kingdom but this former minor star (below) looks to have all the attributes to make the grade.

Coveted by – Cork:  Securing one of their arch rivals’ wannabes would be a big coup for the Rebels.