Sport | 2 months ago

Two of the greatest of all time, there's no disputing that.

People don't like grand, sweeping statements like saying a footballer who played for 15 years was the best ever when you have no way of comparison and, more essentially, you just simply haven't seen every player play since 1884.

But Colm Cooper and Peter Canavan were sure as hell up there with all of them.

The retirement of Gooch from the inter-county game was met with sadness, thank yous, and an all-round celebration of an absolutely fabulous career of a man so talented he had no enemies.

Not even in Cork. Not even from the rugby fraternity like Ronan O'Gara.

"His ease with a football was fascinating to watch," O'Gara said.

"Growing up in Cork, you watch all the GAA games and he was to the fore for such a long period of time. The guy was a genius with a football.

"You wouldn't see that very often because sometimes GAA matches can be very boring but when he hit Croke Park, he had the capacity on his own to light the place up."

The Crokes player was declared by many as the best but then that brings with it debate. What about the others? What about men like Peter bloody Canavan?

Listen, what Colm Cooper was able to do was pure graceful. He waltzed around GAA pitches like it was only a game in the backyard. He kicked scores off either foot, rolled the ball into each corner and dummied men so cruelly that sometimes it was hard to believe he was doing all this on the biggest possible stage.

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But as the stage got bigger, Cooper shone brighter.

Peter Canavan was no stranger to that sort of elevation either. The Tyrone legend led his county through thick and thin. In the bad days, the barren days. Canavan was still electric. He was still respected as one of the best on the island until he became so good that everyone was just crying out by the end for him to win the All-Ireland he deserved almost more than anyone.

He finally got it, he got two actually, and he was, like all the other less successful years, front and centre of the charge. He led with aggression and drive but by God he was pure magic. You couldn't get a hand on Canavan, not off the ball and certainly not when he was on it. He was hearty and willing, a heart almost the size of his frame.

So when the question was put out about who was better between Kerry and Tyrone's finest, some people fiercely disagreed.

On Facebook, over 5,000 people voted.

  • 4,162 of them voted for Cooper.
  • 1,137 went with Canavan.

But it's more complex than a like or love on Facebook. So give us your thoughts. Who was better?

This really is one of the toughest choices.

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We're not done yet... check this out!


For this week's episode of SportsJOE Live Wooly is in studio with Kerry legend Marc O'Sé, our own Dion Fanning and Ireland hooker Sean Cronin.


On the menu for discussion this week, we have the Haka, the best young hurlers in Ireland and how versatility affects sportspeople.


The Kerry footballers are attempting the inaugural Endline Challenge and Marc is trying to beat Dion Fanning and Eamon Dunphy at the Lottoland Chipping Challenge...


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