Dublin dominate All Star and Footballer of the Year nominations
Total of 11 counties represented but not a single player from Mayo or Roscommon
Ciarán Kilkenny: Dublin’s playmaker has been nominated for the Footballer of the Year award. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The fortunes of the football season have been reflected in the unsurprising return of 12 players from the All-Ireland champions Dublin in the PwC GAA All Star nominations – and by the disappearance of Mayo players from the list.
The Westerners had been Dublin’s most obdurate opponents until this year, when their season never really got airborne.
Kerry, who also had a disappointing year by their standards, have just two names on the list of 45. Eleven counties feature in all.
Perhaps the most glaring omission is Roscommon, the Division Two winners, Connacht finalists and one of the inaugural Super 8 teams. Their absence from the black-tie evening, which will take place on November 2nd, completes a dismal spell in which they lost their manager, Kevin McStay.
Tyrone’s nerveless All-Ireland run, after a so-so league and Ulster championship setback to Monaghan, has earned their squad a total of eight nominations. Just one of those, Niall Sludden, is included in the forward line. The composition of their nominations reflects the ongoing debate about the team ie that their defensive excellence was compromised by an inability to convert their chances up front.
Peter Harte, named at wing-back on match programmes, did his most damaging work in the opposition half but he is included among the defenders. Similarly, Donegal’s Michael Murphy had the closest summer to an out-and-out full forward since his teenage years but he makes the grade here at centre-field.
Six players from last year’s All-Star team have made this year’s long-list. Five of those – Jack McCaffrey, James McCarthy, Paul Mannion, Dean Rock and Con O’Callaghan – are from the reigning league and All-Ireland champions. The odd man out is Tyrone’s Colm Cavanagh, an All-Star last year at centre-field and selected in the same bracket this time around.
Dublin’s much advertised strength in depth is captured in one distinct change. Last year, Michael Fitzsimon won an All-Star outright at full-back. This year, he was in and out of the team and the break-out defensive newcomer, Eoin Murchan is among the names to feature in the defenders’ bracket.
Niall Scully and Brian Howard, two of the most conspicuous of Dublin’s emergent talent, are also nominated in the forwards category, where competition is fierce.
Dublin, unsurprisingly, have six players among the 18 attackers and while each has a strong case, they are in glittering company.
Conor McManus was in player-of-the-year mode for much of the season, Kerry’s David Clifford was the one spark of joy in a tough year for the Kingdom and gave an outrageously composed series of performances in his debut year – and despite intense scrutiny from the public and immediate opponents alike.
Galway’s Ian Burke was absent for Galway’s surprising march through the league but his inventiveness and economy became a key feature of their attacking game over the summer.
If Roscommon have a gripe, it may be that accommodation could not be found for any of their forwards, with Diarmuid Murtagh probably the unluckiest to miss out.
Fermanagh’s giantkilling run to the Ulster final was built around the defensive strategy put in place by Rory Gallagher and Che Cullen’s superb play within that framework is recognised here. Equally, Paul Broderick’s hugely influential role in Carlow’s memorable summer earns him a place in the forward line.
There will definitely be a new name in the All Star goalkeeper category. Mayo’s David Clarke was last year’s recipient – and one of six Mayo players to make it to the All Star 15. This year, All-Ireland-winning captain Stephen Cluxton is included along with Monaghan’s Rory Beggan and Laois wanderer Graham Brody; all three had hugely influential roles in the progress of their respective teams.
The vote for Footballer of the Year will be a localised All-Dublin affair: all three nominations are from the champions, with Brian Fenton, Ciarán Kilkenny and Jack McCaffrey.
The last two awards have gone to the All-Ireland runners-up: Andy Moran (2017) and Lee Keegan (2016). Jack McCaffrey was the last Dublin player to win the award (2015). Again, the competition will be intense and in most years, the performance of James McCarthy would have secured him a nomination in this category also.
The Young Footballer of the Year award is between David Clifford, Brian Howard and Tyrone’s Michael McKernan. The All Star committee will sit on October 31st to select their team, with the banquet taking place on November 2nd.
1 Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
2 Graham Brody (Laois)
3 Rory Beggan (Monaghan
1 Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Donegal)
2 Jonny Cooper (Dublin)
3 Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
4 Eoin Murchan (Dublin)
5 James McCarthy (Dublin)
6 Che Cullen (Fermanagh
7 Seán Kelly (Galway)
8 Eoghan Kerin (Galway)
9 Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh (Galway)
10 Gavin White (Kerry)
11 Eoin Doyle (Kildare
12 Karl O’Connell (Monaghan)
13 Drew Wylie (Monaghan)
14 Ryan Wylie (Monaghan
15 Pádraig Hampsey (Tyrone)
16 Michael McKernan (Tyrone)
17 Tiernan McCann (Tyrone
18 Peter Harte (Tyrone)
1 Michael Murphy (Donegal)
2 Brian Fenton (Dublin)
3 Thomas Flynn (Galway)
4 Niall Kearns (Monaghan)
5 Colm Cavanagh (Tyrone)
6 Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone)
1 Rory Grugan (Armagh)
2 Paul Broderick (Carlow)
3 Ryan McHugh (Donegal)
4 Niall Scully (Dublin)
5 Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)
6 Brian Howard (Dublin)
7 Paul Mannion (Dublin)
8 Dean Rock (Dublin)
9 Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)
10 Shane Walsh (Galway)
11 Damien Comer (Galway)
12 Ian Burke (Galway)
13 David Clifford (Kerry)
14 Daniel Flynn (Kildare)
15 Paul Cribben (Kildare)
16 Conor McManus (Monaghan)
17 Ryan McAnespie (Monaghan)
18 Niall Sludden (Tyrone)
Footballer of the Year Nominees
1 Brian Fenton (Dublin)
2 Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)
3 Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
Young Footballer of the Year Nominees
1 Brian Howard (Dublin)
2 David Clifford (Kerry)
3 Michael McKernan (Tyrone)