My Perfect Player with Down’s Cathal Murray

Greg Blaney was the smartest. He was in the right place at the right time, the ability to read break ball, he knew how to use the ball. He was the fulcrum of the attack in 1991 and 1994. He had simplicity with the punt pass. He always made the right decision. He had a bit of cut in him, maybe that came from the hurling. You didn’t mess with him. But he had finesse. He was a really smart player.

John Rafferty and Danny Quinn were big voices in St Mary’s. Rafferty maybe didn’t play a lot of football in St Colman’s, but he got Player of the Tournament in the Sigerson in 1989. Rafferty was very driven. He worked so hard at his game and set very  high standards and God help you if you didn’t reach those standards. Danny Qunn took care of the younger players. I remember coming in and some of the Tyrone boys thought they could take the hand out of you, but Danny would stand up for you.

Danny Quinn was a rock at the back for Queen’s. I can remember Pat O’Byrne from Wicklow was a strong man as well.

It’s hard to go past Peter Canavan. I played along with Peter at St Mary’s, though I missed my last Sigerson when he was there. I was sent off playing for Down, rather harshly I might add. I tackled a man and he went down like a sack of spuds. Peter had great balance, he could use both feet, his vision and his strength for a wee man. He could hold his own, and was willing to fight his corner. He was a ball winner. He always took the right option. He was a leader as well. Shane Ward as well who played for us at Clonduff. He had the best toe tap, even though we had grown up with him, watching him do that dummy, he could still sell it to us. It was one of the most infuriating things.

As a goal scorer it has to be wee James (McCartan). From an early age at school, I played along with him at school, he could get goals out of nowhere. One of his strengths was that he could put pressure on the goalkeeper. He would block  the ball into the net. He used to give Benny Tierney a torrid time. James scored so many important goals. There was an excitement in the crowd  when he was on the ball. You didn’t know what he was going to do but you knew it was going to be special.

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