Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Longford’s greatest Paul Barden would walk on to any team

Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Longford’s greatest Paul Barden would walk on to any team

'Paul Barden (pictured) - the classiest, most graceful, modest, and humblest player I’ve ever seen play for Longford, bar none'

Stephen Lynch - a one time classy, former Longford footballer - recently called to tell me about his idea of approaching people to name the best fifteen Longford players of peoples lifetimes, in this time of long days, where most people are glad to have something positive to occupy the memory banks.

He’s come up with an interesting exercise for anyone interested in the GAA generally, and Longford GAA in particular.

It’s a tall order to pick a fifteen as so many players have ably laid claim to various positions over the years.

The County team of 1966 have assumed a special awesome gloss, because that team started something very special, and quite unique, so for all time they’ll be honored and remembered for what they’d activated for Longford.

I’d say most people who have any connections with the GAA in Longford can recall every player on that famous team of ‘66.
Of course the team that won the Leinster Championship in ‘68 are fondly remembered, too. A great few years for Longford.
Many are now gone to their eternal reward, but many are still looking very fit and very well indeed.

Personally I couldn’t even begin to try and choose “the best” county team in my lifetime because so many great players, in different times, with different structures, have graced the fields with pomp.

However, I’d happily choose one single player, who represents the very best qualities of the gaelic footballer, and stands out as the greatest player, in my lifetime, to wear a Longford jersey.

I’ve never seen his equal…..

Paul Barden.

The classiest, most graceful, modest, and humblest player I’ve ever seen play for Longford, bar none.

Paul could do everything that has ever been dreamed of, or practiced in the skills of gaelic football. He really had it all.

Paul Barden would walk on to any team in Ireland through all the years when we were lucky enough to gasp repeatedly at his breathtaking prowess.