GLIST: A selection of absentees

Many football team-sheets have changed over the winter with big names departing, and Shaun Casey puts together his best missing 15

1 Raymond Galligan (Cavan)

The ex-Cavan netminder didn’t take much time off after retiring, jumping straight into management. The leadership and experience of the Ulster Championship winning captain will surely be a miss on the field, but he’ll be able to share his wisdom with his players.

2 Conor Boyle (Monaghan)

One of the unsung heroes of the Monaghan team, the Clontibret clubman really made the full-back position his own. Boyle’s career is far from finished as he’s just taking a year out in 2024 but Vinny Corey will surely miss Boyle’s impact around the defence for Monaghan.

3 Ronan McNamee (Tyrone)

One of the best in the business and McNamee was finally rewarded for his years of service and dedication with an All-Ireland medal in 2021 while he also earned an All-Star award for his performances in 2019.

4 Fintan Kelly (Monaghan)

Kelly had many good days for Monaghan and was a real attacking force from deep during his days with the Farney County. He was part of the defence in 2015 when they overcame Donegal to claim their second Ulster title in three years and was a stalwart of that team.

5 Niall Sludden (Tyrone)

Like a lot of the Tyrone players in recent times, Sludden made it to the Holy Grail in 2021 when he climbed the steps of the Hogan Stand to hold the Sam Maguire Cup aloft. Not only that, but he was one of eight Tyrone players that received All-Star awards that year as well.

6 Stephen Sheridan (Armagh)

Sheridan saw plenty of dark days with Armagh as well as the better ones in recent years and won two Division Three titles with the Orchard County in 2015 and 2018. He played a number of different positions throughout his nine seasons with Armagh before retiring at the end of last season.

7 Conor Moynagh (Cavan)

Moynagh was one of the underage sensations that came through the Cavan ranks having dominated at the u-21 grade in the province and made the step up into senior level. He was an attacking force from deep but also played the sweeper role to perfection as well.

8 Ryan Jones (Fermanagh)

Renowned as one of the best midfielders in the province, Jones was a leading light for Fermanagh for so long. The 33-year-old didn’t announce his retirement, so never say never, but for now he leaves big shoes to fill in the centre of the field for the Erne County.

9 Kieran Hughes (Monaghan)

The younger of the two Hughes brothers, surprisingly it was Kieran who stepped away first. He made a fine impact at full-forward when Monaghan landed the Ulster title in 2013 and played in a range of different positions and roles for Monaghan down throughout the years.

10 Martin Reilly (Cavan)

A starring figure for the Breffni County down through the years and he was essential for Mickey Graham’s men when they captured the Ulster title against Donegal in 2020. His service will certainly be remembered for a long time in Cavan.

11 Gearoid McKiernan (Cavan)

McKiernan was a real leader in the Cavan team down through the years, and one of the best forwards in Ulster, but he isn’t part of the panel this season. His experience and attacking talent will be sorely missed by the Breffni Blues for the rest of 2024.

12 Karl Gallagher (Monaghan)

A big miss for Monaghan given his undoubted talent around the middle of the park but no one in the Oriel County could step in Gallagher’s way. The 21-year-old of Emyvale signed a two-year contract with Aussie Rules outfit Adelaide Crows.

13 Benny Heron (Derry)

His best years in the red and white came recently and Heron was one of the Derry soldiers that no doubt deserved some success. He saw plenty of bad years as well but walked off into the sunset with two Ulster medals in his back pocket.

14 Sean Quigley (Fermanagh)

Perhaps not best suited to the modern style of play, but Quigley never let that put him off and displayed his unquestionable talent many times for Fermanagh. He always carried a huge scoring threat at full-forward, and he will be extremely difficult to replace.

15 Richie Donnelly (Tyrone)

After a fine Ulster Club championship campaign, where Trillick reached the last four, Donnelly looked well placed to have a big year for Tyrone. However, it wasn’t to be and the Red Hand County will have to plan without Donnelly for the year ahead.

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