Friday 14 December 2018

Dublin and Galway dominate team of the Allianz Football League

New faces impress in spring campaign, writes Colm Keys

Eoghan Kerin of Galway, Monaghan keeper Rory Beggan and Dublin's Niall Scully
Eoghan Kerin of Galway, Monaghan keeper Rory Beggan and Dublin's Niall Scully
Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin's Jonny Cooper anticipates well, he’s aggressive, links further outfield superbly and rarely, if ever, gives the ball away. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Galway's Séan Andy Ó Ceallaigh. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Eoghan Kerin has been a combative opponent during Galway’s unbeaten run. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Kerry's Paul Murphy. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Dublin's James McCarthy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Few players glide across the ground as effortlessly as Karl O'Connell. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Dublin's Brian Fenton scored 1-8 in this campaign. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Mattie Donnelly ran riot against Mayo. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cavan's Dara McVeety. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dublin's Ciaran Kilkenny amassed 2-20 in eight games. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin's Niall Scully. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Patrick McBrearty scored seven points against Dublin, four from play. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Damien Comer in action for Galway. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Daniel Flynn plundered 3-11 from play in six games. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

For Dublin it was a fifth Allianz NFL title in six years but for the likes of Galway and Monaghan it was a campaign full of progress and that is reflected in our Division 1 Team of the League.

Goalkeeper: Rory Beggan (Monaghan)

Beggan kept six clean sheets and used his accurate long kicking from the hands and off the ground to telling effect. In a team laden with free-takers, he chipped in with eight points from distance off the ground. Just edges Galway's Ruairi Lavelle.

Right corner-back: Jonny Cooper (Dublin)

Probably the outstanding defender in the game on current form, he anticipates well, he's aggressive, links further outfield superbly and rarely, if ever, gives the ball away.

Full-back: Sean Andy Ó Ceallaigh (Galway)

Full-back has been a troublesome spot for Galway in recent seasons but Ó Ceallaigh's bow since graduating from U-21 ranks has been a success. Provided security in a Galway defence that only conceded one goal in eight games.

Left corner-back: Eoghan Kerin (Galway)

Troubled by Paul Mannion in the first half of Sunday's league final but Kerin has been a combative opponent during Galway's unbeaten run through the group stages.

Right half-back: Paul Murphy (Kerry)

Blown away by the storm that has been Ciaran Kilkenny but that shouldn't deter from the steadying influence he was during a couple of inconsistent months for Kerry.

Centre-back: James McCarthy (Dublin)

Limped off against Galway in the final and missed the Kerry game but McCarthy's consistency and physicality endure in spring campaigns and this was no different.

Left half-back: Karl O'Connell (Monaghan)

Few players glide across the ground as effortlessly as O'Connell who hit high points against Mayo, Kildare, Tyrone and Dublin with his surging runs from deep positions.

Midfield: Brian Fenton (Dublin)

Untouchable in his first three games, barely making an obvious mistake, Fenton is the game's dominant midfielder, an oasis of calm with a sublime array of passes. Scored 1-8 in this campaign.

Midfield: Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone)

Ultra-consistent Donnelly kicked an important winner against Kildare, gave sustained chase against Monaghan and then ran riot against Mayo.

Right half-forward: Dara McVeety (Cavan)

Cavan didn't have many backers at the outset of the campaign but McVeety's leadership transformed them, right up to his enforced departure in Sunday's league final.

Centre-forward: Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)

Player of the league, Dublin's orchestrator-general with Fenton who was equally efficient creating or finishing. He amassed 2-20 in eight games, sometimes profiting from a spell in the full-forward line.

Left half-forward: Niall Scully (Dublin)

Got important goals against Mayo and Kerry in similar fashion and posted four points against Donegal. Edges out Galway's Eamon Brannigan.

Right corner-forward: Patrick McBrearty (Donegal)

Missed a chance to keep Donegal in Division 1 last week but that shouldn't cloud a contribution that had a high point against Dublin when he scored seven points, four from play.

Full-forward: Damien Comer (Galway)

Almost unplayable at times against Dublin in the league final, his willingness to drop the shoulder is difficult to defend against as just about every opponent has found out.

Left corner-forward: Daniel Flynn (Kildare)

Hard to omit Dean Rock given the importance of some of his scores but on a badly-beaten team Daniel Flynn plundered 3-11 from play in six games, Goals against Dublin, Donegal and Mayo topped by six points against Kerry.

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