Jack McCaffrey named Footballer of the Year as Dublin dominates All Stars
Seven of the All-Ireland-winning side picked; TJ Reid named Hurler of the Year
Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey is presented with GAA GPA Player of the Year award by Dermot Earley, president GPA, at the Convention Centre in Dublin. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dublin rounded off a triumphant 2015 by taking the lion’s share, seven, of this year’s GAA-GPA football All Stars as well as the Footballer of the Year award, chosen by the players, which went to Clontarf’s Jack McCaffrey, who was named Young Footballer of the Year in 2013.
The spring-heeled wing back had a phenomenally consistent year, earning recognition for his performances for Dublin in the Allianz Football League during the spring campaign that ended in a third successive title for the county. When the second trophy of the year was gathered in the Leinster final, McCaffrey scored one of the goals against Westmeath.
He was also prominent in the All-Ireland series, including giving a good account of himself in the final against Kerry despite having been ill during the previous week.
The awards in both football and hurling – those awards had been announced on Thursday – were presented at Friday night’s dinner in the National Convention Centre in Dublin.
Kilkenny’s TJ Reid was chosen as Hurler of the Year after a terrific 12 months that saw him captain Ballyhale Shamrocks to All-Ireland club success and play a key role in the county’s successful defence of the Liam MacCarthy Cup in September.
The most menacing forward in the game, he scored goals in all of Kilkenny’s championship matches, accumulating 4-32 over the four fixtures.
It was a slightly unusual selection in that none of last year’s All Stars held on to their award – something that hadn’t happened previously since 2006. There were nine first-time winners, a total surpassed as recently as three years ago when 10 new awards were selected.
Dublin’s seven All Stars is the county’s highest total in 20 years with All-Ireland finalists Kerry next on the list with four awards. Connacht champions and All-Ireland semi-finalists Mayo have two players, Aidan O’Shea and Lee Keegan recognised, while there are also awards for Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly and Conor McManus from Monaghan.
The most decorated player is Dublin corner forward Bernard Brogan, who received his fourth award after a stellar season in which he scored 6-20 from play.
The Young Footballer of the Year award went to Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor, strengthening the remarkable family tradition that has seen brother Cillian win the same accolade on two previous occasions, 2011 and ’12.
Waterford’s Tadhg de Búrca received the hurling equivalent after a great year with the county that saw him win an league medal in the spring as well as promotion from Division One B.
2015 Football All Stars: Brendan Kealy (Kerry); Shane Enright (Kerry), Rory O’Carroll (Dublin), Philly McMahon (Dublin); Lee Keegan (Mayo), Cian O’Sullivan (Dublin), Jack McCaffrey (Dublin); Brian Fenton (Dublin), Anthony Maher (Kerry); Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Donnchadh Walsh (Kerry); Conor McManus (Monaghan), Aidan O’Shea (Mayo), Bernard Brogan (Dublin).
Player of the Year (Football): Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
Young Player of the Year (Football): Diarmuid O’Connor (Mayo)
Player of the Year (Hurling): TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
Young Player of the Year (Hurling): Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford)