Stephen Cluxton among three nominees for Footballer of the Year award

As expected, Dublin (13) and Kerry (9) dominate the nominations for All Star awards

Stephen Cluxton makes a crucial save to deny Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien a goal during the All-Ireland football final replay at Croke Park.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Stephen Cluxton makes a crucial save to deny Kerry’s Stephen O’Brien a goal during the All-Ireland football final replay at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Six-time All-Ireland winning football captain Stephen Cluxton is now in line to receive the one award that has so far eluded him throughout his long and successful career.

One of the three candidates for 2019 Footballer of the Year, the Dublin goalkeeper will also go up against two of his team-mates in Jack McCaffrey and Con O’Callaghan in further recognition for winning their record fifth successive All-Ireland.

All three players are also among the 13 nominations the Dublin team received for the 2019 All Star awards, which are presented by the GAA/GPA, in association with PwC. The 45-strong list is also spread widely among 11 different counties, beaten All-Ireland finalists Kerry the next best represented with nine players nominated.

Unlike the individual awards, which are chosen by a committee made up of members of the national broadcast, print and digital media, the Footballer of the Year award is voted on by the intercounty playing body (same as in hurling, and also for the young footballer and hurler awards).

It’s the second successive nomination for McCaffrey, who won the award outright in 2015, with Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton getting the award last year.

No goalkeeper has received the Footballer of the Year award since it was first introduced in 1995, Alan Brogan (in 2011) and Michael Darragh Macauley (in 2013) also winning the award for Dublin since their All-Ireland winning run resumed this decade.

Cluxton, who turns 38 in December and has yet to commit to 2020, has previously won five individual All Star awards in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013, and although nominated again last year, lost out – not without some disagreement – to Monaghan’s Rory Beggan, who collected his first All Star.

Several of his Dublin team-mates, including Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny, have in recent days declared their unanimous support for Cluxton’s candidacy for Footballer of the Year.

Writing in this newspaper in the aftermath of the replay win over Kerry, former Kingdom great Darragh Ó Sé also said: “The one thing I would love to see now is for Stephen Cluxton to win Footballer of the Year when the awards are being given out in a few weeks. I would have Con O’Callaghan and Jack McCaffrey alongside him in the shake-up but for me, it’s a no-brainer.

Major award

“Cluxton made a huge save from Stephen O’Brien at a crucial time in the replay, he saved a penalty from Paul Geaney in the drawn game, he was perfect under the high ball and nearly perfect with his kick-outs all the way through. I know I go on about him and it isn’t as if his influence on the Dubs is a secret to anyone. But still, I think he’s overdue a major award at this stage.”

The 13 Dublin players nominated for an individual All Star, one more than last year, begin with Cluxton and include defenders David Byrne, McCaffrey, James McCarthy, Mick Fitzsimons and John Small, Fenton and Macauley at midfield, plus forwards Kilkenny, O’Callaghan and Brian Howard, Paul Mannion and Dean Rock.

After Dublin (13) and Kerry’s nine nominations, Ulster champions Donegal boast the next highest representation with six. The number of impressive performances in the 2019 football season is reflected in the breadth of the counties represented, with the full breakdown being Dublin 13, Kerry 9, Donegal 6, Mayo 4, Tyrone 3, Meath 3, Armagh 2, Roscommon 2, Cavan, Clare, and Cork 1 each.

The 2019 shortlist for the Young Footballer of the Year sees Armagh’s Rian O Neill named alongside Kerry’s duo of David Clifford and Sean Ó Shea, Clifford being last year’s winner of the award.

“I am delighted to see so many counties deservedly represented,” said GAA president John Horan.

“To be chosen as one of the standout performers in what was a special Gaelic football season is a major honour and I congratulate all of those who have made this distinguished shortlist. And while it is a significant individual achievement, it is also a source of immense pride shared by the families and clubs to which all of these star players belong.

The final selection of 15 players will be made late next month and all players, football and hurling, will be honoured at a gala black tie banquet at Dublin’s Convention Centre on Friday, November 1st. The proceedings will be shown live on RTÉ Television.

All Star football nominations 2019

Goalkeepers

1. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
2. Shaun Patton (Donegal)
3. Shane Ryan (Kerry)

Defenders

1. David Byrne (Dublin)
2. Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
3. James McCarthy (Dublin)
4. Mick Fitzsimons (Dublin)
5. John Small (Dublin)
6. Paul Murphy (Kerry)
7. Tadhg Morley (Kerry)
8. Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)
9. Colm Boyle (Mayo)
10. Paddy Durcan (Mayo)
11. Chris Barrett (Mayo)
12. Stephen McMenamin (Donegal)
13. Ryan McHugh (Donegal)
14. Donal Keogan (Meath)
15. Conor McGill (Meath)
16. Conor Moynagh (Cavan)
17. Ronan McNamee (Tyrone)
18. Niall Daly (Roscommon)

Midfielders

1. Brian Fenton (Dublin)
2. Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin)
3. David Moran (Kerry)
4. Aidan O’Shea (Mayo)
5. Jarlath Óg Burns (Armagh)
6. Bryan Menton (Meath)

Forwards

1. Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)
2. Brian Howard (Dublin)
3. Paul Mannion (Dublin)
4. Dean Rock (Dublin)
5. Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)
6. David Clifford (Kerry)
7. Paul Geaney (Kerry)
8. Seán O’Shea (Kerry)
9. Stephen O’Brien (Kerry)
10. Jamie Brennan (Donegal)
11. Michael Murphy (Donegal)
12. Paddy McBrearty (Donegal)
13. Cathal McShane (Tyrone)
14. Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone)
15. Conor Cox (Roscommon)
16. Rían O’Neill (Armagh)
17. Brian Hurley (Cork)
18. Jamie Malone (Clare)

Footballer of the Year 2019 Nominees

1. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
2. Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
3. Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)

Young Footballer of the Year 2019 Nominees

1. David Clifford (Kerry)
2. Seán O’Shea (Kerry)
3. Rian O’Neill (Armagh)

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