It's been mentioned a few times on here that it's not possible to compare forwards from successful counties with those from mediocre counties.
I reckon it is, so long as you try to apply a sensible initial criteria - one which would have eff all to do with playing style, and everything to with outcome.
Pick a player and then over the course of his career, evaluate whether his county regularly exceeded (or at least achieved) expectations. If so, then you can logically observe that his ability MIGHT have had the positive influence that an all time great should have had. That's the objective bit. After that, it's subjective whether he was one of the primary causes for the positive performance of his county. But at least there's a baseline in place.
I love Benny Coulter dearly. He was a bright shining light in a time of darkness for Down; one of the few reasons to pay in to watch Down. But using my criteria he doesn't make it as the cold hard facts is that the team he played in underachieved apart from one season.
There'd be a similar story at play for Paddy Bradley and his little brother, for as wonderfully talented as they were, they never really dragged Derry to a higher pedestal.
Someone mentioned Vinny Murphy above. He's a cut below Colin Corkery. So talented, but didn't deliver the big different often enough. They don't deserve to be any higher than Donnacha O'Connor or Tony Boyle (fantastic players, but not quite at this level).
Funnily enough Joe Brolly would be a genuine contender for the list. His presence gave physically strong but workmanlike Derry sides the ability to trade blows with the most talented sides in Ireland. Is that not the marker of a great forward?
That's said, he's an absolute twat for his recent attack on Gooch. The one player who ensured Kerry had chance of being the "team of the Noughties" was him.
On a side note. How Stevie O'Neill is a constant in these discussions but Owen Mulligan is an absence, I'll never understand. Stevie should have been a better player. He was bigger, stronger, quicker, meaner, and could kick a bal twice as far. But Tyrone needed Mulligan too to play at the top table.
Moran Andy or Linden Mickey. Genuinely can't decide which county would have been less relevant without their appearance
I know there's a fair chance you're on the wind-up, but in my opinion Joe Brolly wouldn't make the top ten Derry forwards of the last forty years, let alone merit discussion as a possibility for the top ten overall.
Not so much of a wind up as trying to set a baseline.
There are absolutely majestic forwards at every level from junior b to senior county. Players who have that dash of class, spirit, power, whatever, that make them memorable.
Then there's the forwards, who in my opinion, genuinely win matches and are the difference between a team reaching its potential and not.
In terms of talent, Brolly is a step below most of the names mentioned in this thread. But in fairness to the argumentative little ****, he had a remarkable habit of turning up when it mattered. More of an Andy Moran than a Colm Cooper, but absolutely vital to Derry's best ever period of football.
By the way, I've watched Derry for 30 of those 40 years now. I'd grant you Paddy Bradley and Enda Muldoon no problem. Maybe Enda Gormley at a push. Not Skinner, for although he was a truly gifted player he didn't do what Brolly did for Derry. Nor has Mark Lynch. Barton was classy but not classy enough for this conversation. So I'm guessing Derry had a well of great forwards in the eighties?