Dublin earn magnificent seven
Published 07/11/2015 | 02:30
Dublin's sweep-the-boards season, in which they won four competitions, scaled another summit last night when seven of their players were named on the 2015 GAA/GPA Opel All Star team, which was announced at a presentation banquet in the Dublin Convention Centre.
There was more joy for Dublin too when it was announced that Jack McCaffrey had been chosen as Player of the Year.
It's a massive achievement for the 22-year-old Clontarf man, who was also named on the All Stars team at left half-back.
He is joined in the backs by colleagues, Rory O'Carroll, Philly McMahon and Cian O'Sullivan, underlining Dublin's defensive strength in a year when they won the Allianz League for the third successive year, the Leinster title for the 10th time in 11 seasons, the All-Ireland title for the third time in five seasons and the O'Byrne Cup for the first time since 2008.
Bernard Brogan and Ciaran Kilkenny are Dublin's representatives in attack while 22-year old Raheny midfielder, Brian Fenton decorated a dream debut season by being chosen at No. 8 alongside Kerry's Anthony Maher.
Fenton was one of the most improved players this year, crowning his advance with a man-of-the-match performance in the All-Ireland final.
Like Fenton, Maher wins his first All Star and is joined by fellow Kerrymen, Brendan Kealy, Shane Enright and Donnchadh Walsh. They too win their first All Star awards.
It's most unlikely that anyone would have predicted that in a season when Dublin and Kerry took 11 awards between them, such high-profile names as Colm Cooper, James O'Donoghue, David Moran, Stephen Cluxton, Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Flynn and Michael Darragh Macauley would all miss out.
Mayo have to be content with two awards, picked up by Lee Keegan and Aidan O'Shea.
Keegan wins his third award at right half-back, having been previously honoured in 2012-13, while O'Shea, who is at full-forward this year, took a midfield position in 2013.
Conor McManus (Monaghan) at right full-forward and Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone) at right half-forward take the remaining two positions, which leaves Donegal without a representative for only the second time in the last five seasons.
Goalkeeper Paul Durcan and utility man Michael Murphy were their main contenders. Durcan lost out to Kealy, who becomes the first Kerry goalkeeper to win the award since Diarmuid Murphy in 2009.