Thursday 18 January 2018

Dublin lead way as football All Star nominations are announced

All six defenders make final cut for All-Stars

Dublin's Jonny Cooper, centre, Rory O'Carroll, left, and Philip McMahon celebrate at the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Dublin's Jonny Cooper, centre, Rory O'Carroll, left, and Philip McMahon celebrate at the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

All-Ireland champions Dublin lead the way with 11 nominations for the 2015 GAA/GPA Football All-Stars, in association with Opel, which are announced today.

For the first time since 2010, however, captain Stephen Cluxton is not among the 45 names announced.

Cluxton has set the highest goalkeeping standards over the last 15 years but is overlooked as Donegal's Paul Durcan, Kerry's Brendan Kealy and Monaghan's Rory Beggan are included.

The five-time All-Star has looked under more pressure than in previous years, with mistakes against Fermanagh and Mayo particularly standing out.

All six of Dublin's regular starting defenders in this year's championship have been included - a reflection of how much they improved both individually and collectively this season after last year's defeat to Donegal when they were ripped apart and hit for 3-14.

Cluxton, Denis Bastick, Dean Rock and Paul Flynn, who has won All-Stars in each of the last four years to create a Dublin record for successive awards, are the four starters to lose out.

Flynn carried an injury for much of the season but came strong in the second half of the All-Ireland final.

In contrast, All-Ireland finalists Kerry have just two defenders nominated - Shane Enright and Jonathan Lyne.

Both midfielders, David Moran and Anthony Maher, are included, while Paul Geaney, who had an impact in almost every championship game he played, makes the final 18 up front.

In a change with protocol the nominations have been selected in blocks of defenders, midfielders and forwards rather than the traditional lines that have been in place in recent years.

2 tyrone tipp 1.png
Mattie Donnelly, Tyrone, in action against Paddy Codd, Tipperary. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 3B

Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly, who operated at midfield for much of the year, has been chosen as a forward - a clear indication that his prospects of selection are better there.

Donnelly scored 0-11 during Tyrone's run to the All-Ireland semi-finals - a campaign that sees six others nominated, including defenders Ronan McNabb, Ronan McNamee and Cathal McCarron.

Tyrone captain Seán Cavanagh is also included, getting in ahead of Darren McCurry and Conor McAlliskey.

Mayo players may have more pressing concerns but their prominence this season is illustrated by seven nominations, including Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons and Diarmuid O'Connor for the first time.

Donegal's season petered out in an All-Ireland quarter-finals but the nature of their Ulster campaign and subsequent victory over Galway in a fourth-round qualifier, is reflected in current All-Star goalkeeper Durcan being joined by Frank McGlynn, Ryan McHugh, Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy on the list.

5 September 2015; Cillian O'Connor, Mayo, after scoring his side's first goal past Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton and Rory O'Carroll, left. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final Replay, Dublin v Mayo. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

From last year's team, Durcan, Murphy, Keith Higgins, Gallagher, James O'Donoghue, Moran, James McCarthy and Cillian O'Connor are all returned to the nomination stage again.

In all, nine counties have got nominations, with Westmeath's and Fermanagh's progressive seasons recognised by the inclusion of Kieran Martin and Sean Quigley in attack.

That's an identical spread to 2014 when Dublin, Mayo, Donegal and Kerry were joined by nominees from Tipperary, Galway, Armagh, Monaghan and Cork.

Donie Kingston's inclusion will come as a surprise as Laois were the first team out of the qualifiers after their June defeat to Antrim. But Kingston had a very strong year on a team that otherwise struggled, scoring 2-12 from play from 2-22 in four championship matches and performing to a very high level throughout the league.

Quigley hit 4-42 in the league for Fermanagh and added another 2-36 in the championship which included four points from play against Dublin in an All-Ireland quarter-final. Martin inspired Westmeath's landmark win over Meath.

Brendan Kealy (Kerry), Paul Durcan (Donegal), Rory Beggan (Monaghan).


Vinny Corey (Monaghan), Karl O'Connell (Monaghan), James McCarthy (Dublin), Cian O'Sullivan (Dublin), Rory O'Carroll (Dublin), Jonny Cooper (Dublin), Jack McCaffrey (Dublin), Philly McMahon (Dublin), Shane Enright (Kerry), Jonathan Lyne (Kerry), Keith Higgins (Mayo), Lee Keegan (Mayo), Chris Barrett (Mayo), Cathal McCarron (Tyrone), Ronan McNamee (Tyrone), Ronan McNabb (Tyrone), Frank McGlynn (Donegal), Ryan McHugh (Donegal).


Brian Fenton (Dublin), Anthony Maher (Kerry), David Moran (Kerry), Neil Gallagher (Donegal), Colm Cavanagh (Tyrone), Tom Parsons (Mayo).


Paddy Andrews (Dublin), Bernard Brogan (Dublin), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin), Donnchadh Walsh (Kerry), James O'Donoghue (Kerry), Paul Geaney (Kerry), Sean Quigley (Fermanagh), Peter Harte (Tyrone), Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone), Sean Cavanagh (Tyrone), Michael Murphy (Donegal), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Cillian O'Connor (Mayo), Diarmuid O'Connor (Mayo), Aidan O'Shea (Mayo), Kieran Martin (Westmeath), Donie Kingston (Laois).


Bernard Brogan, Philly McMahon, Jack McCaffrey (all Dublin)


Diarmuid O'Connor (Mayo), Ryan McHugh (Donegal), Ryan Wylie (Monaghan)


Dublin 11, Kerry 8, Tyrone 7, Mayo 7, Donegal 5, Monaghan 4, Westmeath 1,

Fermanagh 1, Laois 1

Irish Independent

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