USL team of last 30 years
After weeks of waiting and much anticipation the Ulster Senior League best 11 players over the last 30 years was finally unveiled on Friday night.
You could hear a pin drop in the function room of the Station House Hotel as the Eleven/30 line-up was revealed.
There as was no great surprise that the great Fanad United team of the late 1980s and the 1990s dominated the selection with six players.
Goalkeeper Damian Bradley, left back Liam Sweeney, Eamon McConigley at right back, Davy Deery at centre half, Kenny Harkin and John McElwaine in midfield (all Fanad United) make the team.
Davy Deery also played for Swilly Rovers.
The Fanad contingent between them won 41 Ulster Senior League titles, 21 Ulster Senior League Cups and ten Intermediate Cups.
Kenny Harkin tops the honours of Ulster Senior League titles. The right sided midfielder is the holder of ten Ulster Senior League winners medals.
The selection also includes players from Cockhill Celtic, Buncrana Hearts, Derry City and Kildrum Tigers.
Malachy McDermott at the centre of the defence and Gerry Gill on the left side of midfield, both Cockhill Celtic, are the only players from the current age to make the selection.
Stephen McNutt, Buncrana Hearts; Gary Heaney, Derry City Reserves; Swilly Rovers, Letterkenny Rovers, Bonagee United, and Ronan Coyle, Kildrum Tigers, Finn Harps and Quigley’s Point Swifts, from the not too distant past, also made the selection.
The legendary Fr Mick Sweeney, who managed Fanad United to six Ulster Senior League titles and was one of the main driving forces behind the founding of the Ulster Senior League, was named as the the manager of the team.
The 11/30 team was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Ulster Senior League.
The selection panel was made up of Chris McNulty, the USL PRO, who chaired the selection committee of Danny McConnell, Eamon McConigley, Chris Ashmore and Brian McIvor.
The criteria for selection on the 11/30 team was: play for a minimum of five seasons in the Ulster Senior League; success enjoyed in the league; representation of the league; players who played more than five years senior football were ineligible for selection.
This ruled out quality players such as Charlie McGeever, Colm McGonagle and Jonathan Minnock, who graced the league but also had long and distinguished careers in senior football.
The ‘11/30’ team was sponsored by the 4 Lanterns and is as follows: .
Goalkeeper - Damien Bradley
Right back - Eamon McConigley
Left back - Liam Sweeney
Centre back - Davy Deery
Centre back - Malachy McDermott
Right midfield - Kenny Harkin
Left midfield - Gerry Gill
Centre midfield - John McElwaine
Centre midfield - Stephen McNutt
Striker - Gary Heaney
Striker - Ronan Coyle
Manager - Fr Michael Sweeney