Provincial champions snubbed in GPA team
The four provincial champions have drawn a blank on the Opel GPA football Team of the Year for 2010.
The team, which will be honoured at a gala banquet in Citywest tonight, contains five players from defeated All-Ireland finalists Down and just three from champions Cork.
Just 10 of the players who claimed Vodafone All Stars last month have doubled up with GPA awards.
But it is the complete absence of any player from the quartet of provincial champions -- Roscommon, Kerry, Tyrone or Meath -- that will raise most eyebrows.
Two provincial winners, Kerry's Colm Cooper and Tyrone's Philip Jordan, made the All Star football selection. But 80pc of the GPA team is made up of players from the four teams that reached the All-Ireland semi-finals by the back door, with one each from three of the beaten provincial finalists, Sligo, Limerick and Louth.
In many estimations Jordan was the most consistent and influential half-back of the season, but given the system of selection the GPA adopts, he faced a direct challenge from Cork's Paudie Kissane at left wing-back.
Jordan was the perfect shadow for Martin Clarke when the Ulster champions played Down, he was "man of the match" against Monaghan in the Ulster final and was hugely effective in his use of possession against Dublin in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
But the way the nominations were mapped out always made Kissane versus Jordan one of the tightest calls and with a dearth of realistic Cork contenders, Kissane -- highly impressive against Kerry, Limerick and Roscommon in the championship -- edged out Jordan.
Cooper was the fall guy as Cork's Daniel Goulding got into the team after his controversial omission from the All Star 15.
Cooper was quite magnificent for Kerry in the championship, with influential performances in the Munster championship, before he delivered a masterclass in defeat against Down on the last day of July.
But his playing colleagues clearly felt the absence of a Cork forward from their attack could not be justified and the former Footballer of the Year was sacrificed.
Changes from the All Stars see Dublin's Philip McMahon come in at left corner-back with Sligo's Charlie Harrison ousting Kildare's Peter Kelly at right corner-back.
Kildare's Emmet Bolton -- a consistent performer through the qualifiers -- displaces Cork's Graham Canty, with Kevin McKernan, the most controversial omission from the All Stars, slotting in at right half-back. Kissane moves to the other wing at Jordan's expense.
The selection of Limerick's John Galvin will be broadly welcomed after his performance against Kerry in the Munster final; Aidan Walsh, an All Star selection, loses out.
The reduction of selections from the All-Ireland champions reflects the view that Cork were not nearly as impressive on an individual basis in victory as they were in defeat 12 months earlier.
It also reveals that their strength was as much in their reserves and their ability to hold their nerve in a tight finish.
The GPA football team is selected by players but the nominations are arranged by a committee of journalists and past players, headed by former Donegal forward Martin McHugh.
The GPA selection proves that there is no unanimity on what is the best football team of the season and its selection will be met with some dissatisfaction -- just as the All Star team was last month.
It could be the last time that there are two post-championship awards, with speculation that the All Stars and GPA selection will merge from 2011 onwards.
Opel GPA football team of the year: Brendan McVeigh (Down); Charlie Harrison (Sligo), Michael Shields (Cork), Philip McMahon (Dublin); Kevin McKernan (Down), Emmet Bolton (Kildare), Paudie Kissane (Cork); Paddy Keenan (Louth) John Galvin (Limerick); Daniel Hughes (Down), Martin Clarke (Down), John Doyle (Kildare); Daniel Goulding (Cork), Benny Coulter (Down), Bernard Brogan (Dublin).