Donegal earn 12 All Star nominations
GAELIC GAMES:ALL-IRELAND champions Donegal are poised for a record haul of All Stars if this year’s nominations are anything to go by, with 12 players in line for one of the 2012 awards – two more than any other county.
Given the style and ultimately convincing nature of their success in the football championship, first in defending their Ulster title and then in beating Mayo to claim only their second All-Ireland title, and first since 1992, it seems inevitable Donegal will claim several positions across all lines.
Among the 45 football nominations, as voted by members of the All Star selection committee, are players from 12 counties, each with the following number of players in line for an award: Donegal (12), beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo (10), then Cork (7) and Dublin (6), followed by Meath (2), Longford (2), plus Armagh (1), Down (1), Kildare (1), Kerry (1), Laois (1), Wexford (1).
The 12 Donegal players nominated, across the various lines, are goalkeeper Paul Durcan, full backs Eamon McGee, Neil McGee, and Paddy McGrath, half backs Karl Lacey, Frank McGlynn, and Anthony Thompson, midfielders Neil Gallagher and Rory Kavanagh, half forward Mark McHugh, and full forwards Colm McFadden and team captain Michael Murphy.
The 2012 All Star football team will be announced on Wednesday, October 24th, and for the second year are jointly presented by the GAA and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), and sponsored by Opel. The All Star award ceremony will take place that Friday evening, October 26th.
Donegal also claim all three nominations for 2012 Footballer of the Year in Lacey, McFadden and McGlynn – while Paddy McBrearty is one of the three nominations for 2012 Young Footballer of the Year, along with Donal Keogan (Meath) and Cillian O’Connor (Mayo).
Last year, when Donegal made it to the All-Ireland semi-final, they collected three All Stars, all defenders: McGee, Lacey, and Kevin Cassidy, who was later dropped for the panel for an apparent breach of confidence for contributing to a book on Ulster football.
When Donegal won their last and only other All-Ireland, in 1992, they subsequently received seven awards: goalkeeper Gary Walsh, defenders Matt Gallagher and Martin Gavigan, midfielder Anthony Molloy, and forwards Martin McHugh (his second award), James McHugh, and Tony Boyle. It means Mark and Martin McHugh are in line for a father-son All Star relationship.
Lacey is in line for his fourth All Star, having also been honoured in 2006 and 2009. Although they won three awards last year, Donegal have only been honoured with single winners since 1992, including Adrian Sweeney (2003) and John Joe Doherty (1993).
Beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo have 10 nominations in goalkeeper David Clarke, full backs Ger Cafferkey and Keith Higgins, half backs Colm Boyle and Lee Keegan, midfielders Barry Moran and Aidan O’Shea, half forwards Alan Dillon and Kevin McLoughlin, and full forward Andy Moran.
Longford, interesting, have two nominations in half forward Paul Barden and half back Michael Quinn, while Kerry gained just a single nomination in forward Colm Cooper, which effectively sums up the disappointment of their 2012 campaign.
“Each one of these nominations deserves his place,” said GAA director general Páraic Duffy, “for recognition of the excellent campaigns they had, and the contribution they made to our action -packed championship this year.”
GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell described the 2012 football championships as “outstanding”, adding that “competition continues to intensify” for All Star nominations, “reflecting the enormous dedication of our players”.
The 2012 Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year will be selected by the GPA intercounty playing body.
2012 ALL STARS: GAA/GPA Football nominations
David Clarke (Mayo); Stephen Cluxton (Dublin); Paul Durcan (Donegal).
Eoin Cadogan (Cork); Ger Cafferkey (Mayo); Keith Higgins (Mayo); Donal Keogan (Meath); Eamon McGee (Donegal); Neil McGee (Donegal); Paddy McGrath (Donegal); Rory O’Carroll (Dublin); Michael Shields (Cork).
Emmet Bolton (Kildare); Colm Boyle (Mayo); Adrian Flynn (Wexford); Lee Keegan (Mayo); Karl Lacey (Donegal); Frank McGlynn (Donegal); Kevin Nolan (Dublin); Michael Quinn (Longford); Anthony Thompson (Donegal).
Neil Gallagher (Donegal); Rory Kavanagh (Donegal); Barry Moran (Mayo); Aidan O’Shea (Mayo); Brendan Quigley (Laois); Aidan Walsh (Cork).
Paul Barden (Longford); Alan Dillon (Mayo); Paul Flynn (Dublin); Paul Kerrigan (Cork); Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin); Mark McHugh (Donegal); Kevin McLoughlin (Mayo); Graham Reilly (Meath); Ciarán Sheehan (Cork).
Bernard Brogan (Dublin); Jamie Clarke (Armagh); Colm Cooper (Kerry); Conor Laverty (Down); Colm McFadden (Donegal); Andy Moran (Mayo); Michael Murphy (Donegal); Donncha O’Connor (Cork); Colm O’Neill (Cork).