Top 5 Free Takers in Gaelic Football
The quality of a team’s free taker can be the make or break factor in the outcome of a football match at all levels of the game.
But who exactly are the best free takers in Ireland? Below we list the top 5 free takers in Gaelic football
Dean Rock (Dublin)
The Ballymun Kickhams club-man has taken the art of free taking to new heights during his stellar inter county career.
His percentage of successful frees in last year’s Championship was a truly exceptional 89%, nailing 32 of the 36 frees he took as Dublin secured the historic 5 in a row.
This metronome like reliability over the years has helped the Dubs keep up their relentless surge to success after success, and when he finally hangs up his boots, Rock will surely go down as one of the all-time great free takers in Gaelic football.
Sean O’ Shea (Kerry)
The relative new kid on the block, the Kerry native is the one man on this list that could perhaps challenge Rock for the title of greatest free taker of the modern era in a few years’ time.
His total score count from placed balls has been broadly similar to Rock’s over the last couple of years, while the young Kenmare man is also a very accurate 45 kicker.
Cillian O’ Connor (Mayo)
The All Ireland Football Championship’s record points scorer is another dead ball specialist worthy of his place on this list.
The Ballintubber man has been to the forefront of free taking since he burst on the scene for Mayo, and his importance in this regard is highlighted by the fact that Mayo struggle with placed balls when O’ Connor is not on the pitch.
O’ Connor is also a brilliant penalty taker with his first miss from the spot in 9 attempts coming against Kerry, when Brendan Kealy managed to tip his attempt over the bar for just a solitary point.
Michael Murphy (Donegal)
The talismanic Donegal skipper is not only one of the greatest players to ever play the game, he is also one of the finest free takers in the country.
His ability to keep the scoreboard ticking over from frees or 45’s and nail clutch kicks in difficult moments for his county are a major advantage to a Donegal side that will expect to be at the business end of this year’s Championship.
Rory Beggan (Monaghan)
The Scotstown native is the only goalkeeper on this list, a trend that may change in the coming years as goalkeepers become even more important to their teams, not only in open play but from placed balls.
Beggan has become the main man when it comes to goalkeepers scoring frees and 45’s in Gaelic football, with teams coughing up frees against Monaghan inside 50 meters regularly punished by the keeper’s unerring accuracy.
It is a major advantage for Monaghan to know that they possess a weapon such as the ability of Beggan to score from long range, a weapon that will no doubt be useful as the Championship kicks off this winter.