Clare selector Deegan baffled by omission of key backs from All Stars list
CLARE selector Mike Deegan "cannot understand" why defenders Cian Dillon and Patrick O'Connor have been excluded from the list of nominations for the GAA/GPA hurling All Stars.
Deegan insisted that O'Connor has been the most consistent defender all season for the All-Ireland champions, and he also hailed Dillon's man-marking jobs on Galway's Joe Canning, Limerick hitman Declan Hannon and Cork's Patrick Horgan.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I thought Cian Dillon did a huge job during the year. He was the guy designated to mark the opposition's main man.
"He did a big job on Joe Canning, on Declan Hannon – he neutralised those guys when they were the main guys for those teams, the same for Patrick Horgan.
"I know that you only have so many nominations but I cannot understand it. It's unfortunate. Maybe some players would be flashier and do spectacular stuff. But Patrick was the best back we had consistently, throughout the league and championship."
Deegan also fears that Patrick Donnellan's versatility may cost Clare's captain an All Star. The O'Callaghans Mills colossus has been listed among the half-backs in a fiercely contested division.
Donnellan enjoyed a magnificent championship season and played the sweeper role to perfection against Galway and Limerick.
He also set the tone for that All-Ireland semi-final victory over Limerick with the opening point of the game, before completely blotting out Cork midfielder Lorcan McLoughlin in the drawn final.
Deegan believes that it would be a travesty if Donnellan ends up missing out on the final 15 but fears that it is a possibility.
"I can see that happening. The day Cork played Dublin, their midfield was fantastic but we put Pat Donnellan in there against Lorcan McLoughlin and Daniel Kearney was taken off him too. Nobody could keep up with him," he said.
"But the fact that he was moved around a small bit – he played sweeper, centre back and midfield..."
Meanwhile, Limerick have also expressed their annoyance after star forward Declan Hannon, goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, wing-back Paudie O'Brien and captain Donal O'Grady were left out of the 45-man list.
Coach Donagh O'Donnell reflected: "You have to look at consistency too. Nickie was consistent all year, bar one mistake against Clare in the semi-final."
On Hannon's controversial omission, despite hitting 0-17 in two Munster championship ties, O'Donnell said: "It's not just that – it's his work rate and the amount of tackles he put in too."