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Mullinalaghta St Columba's Rian Brady celebrates following a dramatic AIB Leinster Club success.
Mullinalaghta St Columba's Rian Brady celebrates following a dramatic AIB Leinster Club success.

Top 10 Gaelic Football moments in 2018


1 Mullinaghta St Columba's magical journey

December 9

It started with a dream. Silverware and success has followed with Mickey Graham spearheading the most unlikely and rewarding adventure which culminated in AIB Leinster Club glory a fortnight ago.

Mullinalaghta St Columba's registered a third Longford title on the spin, but they delivered on the provincial stage defeating Kilmacud Crokes in the decider. That it had all the hallmarks of a shock including a dramatic late goal and burst merely added to the excitement. Everywhere in Ireland teams from all levels wondered about the future and what might be achieved.

Possibilities exist, the midlanders certainly proved that!

David Clifford scored a memorable goal for Kerry against Monaghan.
David Clifford scored a memorable goal for Kerry against Monaghan.

2 David Clifford goal

July 22

Kerry needed a flash of inspiration. A goal for some glory so experience and youth combined in a pressure moment which kept the Kingdom in the Championship for one more week.

James O'Donoghue's delivery was gathered by Kieran Donaghy on the edge of the square. Still capable of a star moment Donaghy feed Clifford, who provided a finish that was measured and majestic. It simply dripped with class.

Kerry somehow survived to escape a draw. Ultimately it wasn't enough to earn a passage into the last four, but Clifford's arrival as an elite performer was confirmed. It was a sensational summer for Clifford, who earned a PwC GPA/GAA All Star for his efforts.

Paul Mannion scored a penalty for Dublin in the All Ireland SFC Final against Tyrone.
Paul Mannion scored a penalty for Dublin in the All Ireland SFC Final against Tyrone.

3 Paul Mannion penalty

September 2

While it might be far fetched to suggest Dublin were in serious bother the standard bearers were certainly encountering difficulties early on in the All Ireland decider. In the 21st minute when Paul Mannion stepped up to take a penalty Jim Gavin's team trailed by 0-5 to 0-2.

Mannion, though, roofed his shot and by the time the interval rolled around a second Niall Scully major had Dublin seven clear. Mannion's immaculate conversion was a key moment.

Dublin's greatness has been signed, sealed, and delivered with four All Ireland titles on the spin secured. When Tyrone were posing stern questions the Kilmacud Crokes attacker found the requisite answer.

Niall Sludden drills the decisive goal for Tyrone in a tight All Ireland SFC Semi-Final against Monaghan at Croke Park.
Niall Sludden drills the decisive goal for Tyrone in a tight All Ireland SFC Semi-Final against Monaghan at Croke Park.

4 Niall Sludden's opportunistic goal

August 12

As anticipated, with the stakes piled so high, this All Ireland SFC Semi-Final went the distance. Tyrone, though, were just able to shrug off Monaghan's spirited resistance with Niall Sludden's ice cool goal steering them into a September decider.

Sludden's ability to dash into space is well documented, but when the Red Hands were under severe duress they lasted the distance.

That was in no small part down to the resilience and smooth finishing of Sludden, who ensured that Mickey Harte's charges advanced to sample where every team craves to be playing Championship football in September.

GAA supporters don't have long to wait for the 2019 season to begin in earnest. 
GAA supporters don't have long to wait for the 2019 season to begin in earnest. 

5 Monaghan winning at Pearse Stadium

August 4

From early morning Monaghan folk gathered at Salthill so the final whistle in the west brought a guttural roar.

A long and harrowing gap of 30 years was going to be ended as Monaghan could look forward to an appearance at the penultimate stage in the Championship. The scenes following the game at Pearse Stadium will linger long in the memory as Malachy O'Rourke's outfit produced the result that was necessary.

Monaghan's clever planning and ability to maximise the resources at their disposal continues to illustrate what can be achieved when graft is married with craft. In the west the celebrations were understandably wild on a memorable evening by the sea.

Kildare players and supporters celebrating at St Conleth's Park, Newbridge.
Kildare players and supporters celebrating at St Conleth's Park, Newbridge.

6 Newbridge thriller

June 30

An hour and a half before the ball was thrown-in at St Conleth's Park the turnstiles were opened and within minutes the couple of hundred seats in the main stand were filled.

When the action commenced on the pitch it was equally hard fought and competitive as Kildare delivered when it truly counted to carve out an inspirational and morale boosting victory.

Mayo were dogged, determined, and defiant until the bitter end, but Kildare found a way. Lilywhite potential was evident, but the next challenge is to build on the solid foundation that was laid in 2018.

Enda Smith starred for Roscommon against Armagh.
Enda Smith starred for Roscommon against Armagh.

7 Full-time whistle Roscommon v Armagh

July 7

On a sultry Saturday afternoon the O'Moore Park roof shook for a few seconds after Roscommon defeated Armagh.

A breathless match culminated in a Roscommon victory and while the All Ireland Quarter-Final Group Phase didn't go according to plan that triumph over Armagh was one of the most entertaining tussles of the summer.

Enda Smith's late goal decorated a splendid footballing encounter in which both Roscommon and Armagh contributed handsomely. It was a game that will linger long in the minds of those fortunate to have been in attendance in Portlaoise.

Martin Farragher produced a brilliant AIB All Ireland Club Final display for Corofin.
Martin Farragher produced a brilliant AIB All Ireland Club Final display for Corofin.

8 Corofin's quality

March 17

Throughout the past two decades Corofin's ability to win in Galway was also noteworthy.

Problems were subsequently encountered on the Connacht and national stages, but that is precisely where Corofin now summon their most effective displays.

On the most relevant day of them all for the club game on March 17 Corofin's stylish display when defeating the aristocratic Nemo Rangers was a joy. Pure football.

Ryan McHugh after scoring a splendid goal for Donegal in the Ulster SFC Final.
Ryan McHugh after scoring a splendid goal for Donegal in the Ulster SFC Final.

9 Ryan McHugh's blistering goal

June 24

Ryan McHugh remains an influential figure for Donegal and his goal under the blistering Clones sun on Ulster Final day was a slice of quality.

McHugh was crafty enough to manufacture sufficient space to unleash a powerful shot which had the Fermanagh net dancing. Donegal were back perched on the summit of Ulster football once more.

So adept at bursting through from deep McHugh is a totemic figure in the Donegal set-up and the goal showcased his speed and talent.

Turlough O'Brien guided Carlow to promotion from Division Four of the Allianz Football League.
Turlough O'Brien guided Carlow to promotion from Division Four of the Allianz Football League.

10 Carlow's promotion

March 18

The Allianz Football League offers a real barometer of progress so unsurprisingly and deservedly Carlow celebrated rising to Division Three wildly.

In the summer of 2017 Carlow embraced the occasion when playing Dublin and subsequently enjoyed an encouraging Championship adventure. It also meant that the spring carried relevance, but Carlow did what was required to earn promotion.

On the penultimate weekend in Division Four Carlow faced an awkward assignment away to Antrim, but the visitors, prompted by Paul Broderick's seven points and Darragh Foley's goal, eked out the win.

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