Wednesday 19 December 2018

Football Team of the Week: 11 different counties represented in our XV

Ciarán Kilkenny, Tom Prendergast and Jamie Brennan make the XV
Ciarán Kilkenny, Tom Prendergast and Jamie Brennan make the XV

Sam Roberts

It was a busy weekend of football as the championship in Leinster reaches it's climax and round 1 of the qualifiers began around the country.

Laois and Dublin will contest the Leinster final after convincing wins over Carlow and Longford respectively in Croke Park, Donegal booked their Ulster final place with a win over Down, while Meath's championship is over following a dramatic extra-time loss in their qualifier with Tyrone.

Here is your team of the week:

1. Paddy Collum (Longford)

A difficult task for Longford was made nearly impossible after James McGivney's red card, but Paddy Collum played a big role in damage limitation as a number of fine saves kept Dublin from running up an even bigger score.

2. Brian Darby (Offaly)

One of the standout performers in Offaly's win over Antrim, Darby had retired at the end of last year before announcing his return to inter-county action this season, and played his part as Offaly advanced to round two of the qualifiers.

3. Padraig Faulkner (Cavan)

Wicklow did not provide the stiffest opposition but Cavan could only beat the 15 men in front of them on Saturday, and they did so with ease, conceding just six scores in a rout in Aughrim.

4. Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Donegal)

Part of a solid defensive effort in Donegal's comfortable Ulster semi-final victory over Down, Fermanagh await in the final and Declan Bonner's men will feel another Ulster title is well within their reach.

5. Ciarán Brady (Cavan)

Scored 1-3 from play as the Breffni men breezed past Wicklow in Aughrim.

6. Frank Burns (Tyrone)

Scored twice in Tyrone's win in Navan but both scores came at a time when Tyrone had taken back momentum and needed to capitalise, and Burns ensured that they did.

7. Shane Gallagher (Meath)

Worked tirelessly in the heat in Páirc Tailteann and one of a number of Meath players who could lay claim to be part of this combined team. Andy McEntee's side came agonisingly close to the second round, denied only by an experienced Tyrone side that finished stronger.

8. Tommy Prendergast (Waterford)

A key player in both attack and defence in Waterford's historic win over Wexford, in what was the Déise's first victory in the qualifiers since 2011. Charlie Vernon of Armagh was unlucky to miss out.

9. Brian Fenton (Dublin)

A classy performance against an over-matched Longford side, not his ultimate test but further confirmation of his status as one of the best midfielders in the country.

10. Fergal Conway (Kildare)

Four points from play in Kildare's win in Derry, all of which came in the first-half. An important contribution when his team needed it.

11. Niall Donoher (Laois)

It may not have been free-flowing football in Croke Park but Donoher was nonetheless an important cog in the machine in Laois' victory over Carlow. How they will attempt to deal with the challenge of Dublin in the final is anyone's guess.

12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)

A key member of the devastating Dublin attack. It was not the showstopping performance he is capable of in Croke Park but he didn't need to produce it, and Kilkenny nonetheless brought his familiar pace and power to help Dublin stroll to a routine victory.

13. Jamie Brennan (Donegal)

William Woods of Louth chipped in with 13 points (12 from placed balls) in the win over London but the energetic Jamie Brennan gets the nod after bagging 1-3 in Clones.

14. Cillian O'Connor (Mayo)

Became Mayo's all-time top points scorer as they strolled past Limerick, O'Connor scoring a remarkable 3-9 at the Gaelic Grounds and proving if there was any doubt that he will again be crucial to Mayo's championship run this year.

15. Connor McAliskey (Tyrone)

Nearly flawless in the first half, he missed an opportunity or two as the game progressed but ended with 1-8 on a day when no other Tyrone player scored more than twice. Vital to the win in Navan and will be throughout Tyrone's championship run.

Online Editors

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