THE big task of selecting the best hurling and football teams of the last 50 years (1962-2012) begins today with the publication of the list of players from which the final choices will be made.
Last May, the Irish Independent published a special magazine featuring the best hurling and football teams from 1962.
The 'GAA Giants' publication proved hugely popular with the public and the selections generated lots of debate throughout the country.
We chose 31 football teams (Kilkenny were excluded because they didn't feature in mainstream competition for many of the years under review) and 14 hurling teams, drawn from then main contenders.
We are now moving the process on and will name the best hurling and football teams of the last 50 years early in the new year.
As part of the promotion, we are featuring readers' prizes of two All-Ireland hurling and football final tickets, plus an overnight stay in Dublin for the glamour events next September.
The prizes will go to the two competition entrants whose teams come closest to the selections made by our panel of experts (winners to be decided by a draw in the event of more than one successful entry).
In order to make it easier for readers to enter, we will be cutting the number of nominations down to four in each position. This will be done on a provincial basis in football, with one nomination from each province.
Because of the uneven standards across the provinces in hurling, we won't be following the strict provincial system and will instead nominate four from the 14 selections in each of the positions.
Tomorrow, we will carry the four provincial football teams and the four hurling nominations per position – all of whom have been selected from the accompanying lists by our panel of experts.
They will form the basis for the readers' competition, the entry form for which will be first published on Wednesday.
TOMORROW: Don't miss the official nomination lists and get started on selecting your teams. It could earn you a special All-Ireland treat next September.