'Strange' All Stars snub for Rebels
Cork avoided the ignominy of securing the outright lowest All Stars representation of any All-Ireland champions -- but they did equal an unwanted record by collecting just four awards when the scheme's 40th selection was announced yesterday.
There were shades of the controversial 1991 version, when then All-Ireland champions Down picked up only four awards to beaten finalists Meath's six after the Royals' four-game epic with Dublin in the Leinster championship.
The Mourne men also picked up four Vodafone awards in the 2010 team but Conor Counihan's Rebels became the first All-Ireland winning side not to have a forward chosen in the history of the All Stars.
Defenders Michael Shields, Paidi Kissane and Graham Canty and midfielder Aidan Walsh were selected for the Rebels, with selector Ger O'Sullivan left scratching his head at some of the decisions.
"It's a little bit strange. Last year we were a Division 2 team and were beaten in the All-Ireland final and we had five All Stars. This year we won Division 1 as well as the All-Ireland and we only have four," he said.
Daniel Goulding was tipped for an award after an ice-cool display of free-taking in the final but he misses out, while Canty picked up his third award despite an injury-ravaged season and a dismissal in the Munster replay against Kerry.
"It's nice for the four lads who are named and I'm delighted for them. They have worked hard for this but they all have the big prize at home and that's really all that matters," said O'Sullivan.
"Having no forward in the team is strange but I don't think they'll lose much sleep in Cork. There were 3,000 people in Ballydesmond for Donncha O'Connor when he brought the Sam Maguire there and that's what they really wanted.
"And there are others. I don't want to go in to individuals too much but Noel O'Leary is unlucky, so is Paddy Kelly, I could go on and on. Alan Quirke is another.
"I know (Down 'keeper Brendan) McVeigh had a good year but Alan was outstanding for us throughout the year and I thought he deserved one. But the selection process has always been a little bit skewed, I felt."
Brendan McVeigh, Daniel Hughes, Martin Clarke and Benny Coulter picked up Down's first awards since 1994.
Eight counties are represented in all, with Louth's Paddy Keenan becoming the first Wee County player to pick up an award since the scheme began in 1971, meaning only Carlow and Longford have never won an All Star in either code.
Sligo and Dublin also pick up one award each, with Charlie Harrison and Bernard Brogan selected. Brogan is also nominated for Player of the Year, along with Shields and Hughes -- the Dublin full-forward is the clear favourite.
The Dubs were tipped for a bigger representation after making the All-Ireland semi-final, with Michael Darragh Macauley and Rory O'Carroll expected to come close.
Leinster rivals Kildare pick up two awards through corner-back Peter Kelly and veteran Johnny Doyle and the side is completed by Colm 'Gooch' Cooper's fifth award and Tyrone's Philip Jordan at half-back.
The awards ceremony takes place in the Citywest hotel tomorrow night and will be televised live on RTE1 from 7.0. The All Star hurling team and the Player and Young Player of the Year awards in both codes will also be announced.