Wednesday 12 December 2018

All-Stars have to change, insists Carlow boss O'Brien


Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Carlow football manager Turlough O'Brien has called for a significant change to the format of the All-Stars scheme so that players from every county are recognised.

Frustrated by what he regards as a system that's weighted heavily against players outside the main power bases, he wants each county to get at least one nomination.

"What chance has a player from Carlow or any other county in the lower divisions of getting a nomination, let alone an award? Very little. The figures speak for themselves over the years and even more so in recent times.

"As the scheme stands, it's a clear example of extreme elitism with the top three or four counties dominating everything. I would like to see every county get at least one nomination," said O'Brien.


That would require increasing the number of nominations from 45, a solution which O'Brien regards as practical and sensible.

"All the awards and the vast majority of nominations go to counties who were in the latter stages of the championship.

"That doesn't mean that there aren't excellent players in other counties - including in Division 4 - but they always lose out because they're not in Croke Park towards the end of the championship.

"Getting a nomination would be a huge boost for players in a lot of counties that never get a look-in. It wouldn't be tokenism to pick one from each county. In fact, it would be a great boost and wouldn't take away from the scheme in any way. Recognising every county in some way should be part of the scheme," said O'Brien.

Carlow's Seán Murphy and Paul Broderick are examples of players who performed exceptionally well this year but neither made the 45-strong nomination list from which the team will be chosen early next month.

All-Ireland football finalists, Dublin (13) and Mayo (12) have 25 nominations, with beaten semi-finalists, Tyrone (6) and Kerry (5) providing another 11.

Roscommon, Kildare, Down (two each), Monaghan, Donegal, Armagh (one each) account for the other nine.

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