Thursday 23 May 2019

Breaffy boys lead the way in spring tide

O’Shea day: Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea takes on his Kerry namesake, Sean, both of whom had excellent league campaigns. Photo: Sportsfile
O’Shea day: Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea takes on his Kerry namesake, Sean, both of whom had excellent league campaigns. Photo: Sportsfile

Five Mayo men earn spots in team of the football league, writes Colm Keys

1. Rob Hennelly (Mayo)

Tyrone's Niall Morgan made a strong case but Hennelly's rejuvenation reached a high point with his performance against Dublin and late match-winning save against Kerry on Sunday.

2. Keith Higgins (Mayo)

Too much was made of the concession of a goal to Dublin's Cormac Costello, Higgins still has the dash and temperament that big games demand.

3. Brendan Harrison (Mayo)

Had his moments of difficulty with David Clifford on Sunday but generally dealt efficiently with his defensive duties, playing in seven of their eight games.

4. Eoghan BÁn Gallagher (Donegal)

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A drop in division but no drop in consistency from Gallagher whose sweeping runs from defence continue to relieve pressure.

5. Kieran McGeary (Tyrone)

Finished the league with strong performances against Dublin and Galway in a defensive role, quelling Shane Walsh effectively.

6. Paul Murphy (Kerry)

Murphy's consistency in reading breaks and playing Kerry out of trouble was a common theme during this league.

7. Tom O'Sullivan (Kerry)

Helped to lock down Kevin McLoughlin on Sunday but prior to that had been an effective attacking force. With 0-6 was Kerry's fourth highest scorer before David Clifford passed him on Sunday.

8. Aidan O'Shea (Mayo)

Superb campaign, especially when switching to midfield where his power, passing and tackling created so many openings for Mayo.

9. Matthew Ruane (Mayo)

A revelation beside his Breaffy team-mate, especially with probing runs into enemy territory which yielded goals in both games against Kerry

10. Shane Walsh (Galway)

At his best Walsh can be unplayable. Hit his high points against Monaghan, Mayo and Tyrone especially and contributed 0-26 overall, equally comfortable off left and right.

11. Sean O'Shea (Kerry)

Not at his best in Sunday's final but his range of kicking was magnificent as he amassed 1-55, including two glorious points from sidelines.

12. Stephen O'Brien (Kerry)

Kerry's most consistent player, even on Sunday when his direct running caused Mayo problems. Hit 3-8 overall and did great defensive work.

13. Cormac Costello (Dublin)

Invariably caught fire in Croke Park with man-of-the-match performances against Mayo and Galway and a great goal against Tyrone before injury ended his run.

14. Conor McManus (Monaghan)

A genuine contender for 'player of the league' shortlist even on a team that won just twice. Didn't start every game but scored 0-40.

15. Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone)

Grew into the campaign as it progressed and led Tyrone's revival as playmaker, inside target man and finisher. His switch inside, together with Cathal McShane, transformed them.

Irish Independent

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