01 Oct 2022

Two Offaly legends named on 'toughest GAA team of all-time'

The Irish Independent selected the XV

Two Offaly legends named on 'toughest GAA team of all-time'

Two Offaly legends named on 'toughest GAA team of all-time'

The Irish Independent has named its toughest starting Gaelic football XV of all-time and two Offaly players have made the grade.

We fill the first two spots on the team with Tullamore's no-nonsense goalkeeping legend Martin Furlong named at No. 1, and the infamous 'Iron man from Rhode' Paddy McCormack named as his able deputy at corner-back. 

Furling is goalkeeping royalty in Offaly and beyond, having won three All-Ireland titles between the posts for the Faithful, the most recent coming shortly before his retirement in 1982. He was also part of that incredible back-to-back All-Ireland winning team of 1971 and 72, as well as a regular for Tullamore over a 19-year period. 

The imposing figure of Paddy McCormack would be a formidable proposition in modern day teams, and equally in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, he struck fear into the heart of many timid forwards. 

Nicknamed the Iron man from Rhode, McCormack made a name for himself as a hard man and stoutly defending his keeper's goal on the way to two All-Ireland titles in 1971 and 1972. He once told an Armagh player he would kill him if he went near the square after the young forward scored a goal on him in a challenge match. It was the only goal he got that day.

The Offaly mark on this 'tough XV' stops there but in all honesty, we could have filled the entire back line. McCormack himself said it best in more recent years, suggesting he and his Offaly teammates were "no angels" and perhaps that teak tough persona helped us to those All-Ireland wins. "We were hard as f**cking nails," he said in the 1990s. 

The Irish Independent Toughest GAA XV of All-Time is:

1. Martin Furlong (Offaly)

2. Paddy McCormack (Offaly)

3. Mick Lyons (Meath)

4. Niall Cahalane (Cork)

5. Brendan Lynch (Roscommon)

6. Tim Kennelly (Kerry)

7. Pat ‘Red’ Collier (Meath)

8. Phil ‘Gunner’ Brady (Cavan)

9. Brian Mullins (Dublin)

10. Colm McManamon (Mayo)

11. Tom Long (Kerry)

12. Larry Tompkins (Cork)

13. Peter Canavan (Tyrone)

14. Michael Murphy (Donegal)

15. Colm O’Rourke (Meath)

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