Friday 13 December 2019

Independent.ie Football Team of the Year

Cormac Byrne

From when the ball was thrown in at Gaelic Park in New York on May 4 to the final whistle of yesterday's war of attrition at Croker, we have been treated to some great football... and some not so great football. Here is our team of the year.

1. Paul Durcan (Donegal)

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A dejected Paul Durcan, Donegal, after the game

This is not a sympathy pick. Durcan's kickouts, bar one, have been brilliant all summer and he is one of the most underrated shot-stoppers in the game. His save from Diarmuid Connolly's shot, although routine, altered the course of the championship.

Unlucky to miss out: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin), Robbie Hennelly (Mayo)

2. Marc Ó Sé (Kerry)

Mayo's Michael Conroy in action against Kerry's Marc O Se in the All Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final Replay. Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

His response to being omitted from the starting team for the replay against Mayo showed exactly why Marc Ó Sé is one o the top corner-backs in the history of the game. Never gave Colm McFadden a sniff yeterday and was continously breaking up Donegal attacks.

Unlucky to miss out: Colin Walshe (Monaghan), Eamonn McGee (Donegal)

3. Neil McGee (Donegal)

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Neil McGee believes a lasting respect for Donegal football has been established after what the county has achieved over the past four years. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
 

The most no-nonsense defender in the country. Outscored James O'Donoghue yesterday which gives a measure of his performance. Eoghan O'Gara will have nightmares about him, never let the Dublin forward break through his clutches once.

Unlucky to miss out: Aidan O'Mahony (Kerry)

4. Keith Higgins (Mayo)

Kerry's James O'Donoghue takes on Mayo's Keith Higgins in one of the most compelling duels in the game in recent times during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
 

His tussle with James O'Donoghue in the Gaelic Grounds will be remembered for a very long time. His pace and tenacity means he would walk into any team in the country and deserves inclusion in this one.

Unlucky to miss out: Andy Mallon (Armagh), Paddy McGrath (Donegal), Fionn Fitzgerald (Kerry)

5. Paul Murphy (Kerry)

Kerry's Paul Murphy outjumps Ryan McHugh of Donegal during the All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photo: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
 

Quiet, unassuming but so effective. He broke tackles yesterday in a game where very few others were doing so and his point was a thing of beauty.

Unlucky to miss out: Lee Keegan (Mayo), Aaron Kernan (Armagh), Anthony Thompson (Donegal).

6. Peter Crowley (Kerry)

Peter Crowley, Kerry, blocks down the shot from David Walsh, Donegal. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
 

His physicality was do often too much for opponents this year. A mature presence who held his centre-back position diligently.

Unlucky to miss out: Jonny Cooper (Dublin), Karl Lacey (Donegal), Vinny Corey (Monaghan)

7. James McCarthy (Dublin)

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9 August 2014; James McCarthy, Dublin, in action against Padraig Donaghy, left, and Stephen Gollogly, Monaghan. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Dublin v Monaghan, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
 

Dublin were untouchable until the All-Ireland semi-final and James McCarthy was central to their total football style. Continuously left players trailing in his wake.

Unlucky to miss out: Colm Boyle (Mayo), Frank McGlynn (Donegal)

8. David Moran (Kerry)

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David Moran will want to prove he is the best midfielder in the country
 

He was amazing in both games and although he failed to fire to the same extent yesterday, he has to be in the team. His return from injury is an inspiration.

Unlucky to miss out: Seamus O'Shea (Mayo), Dick Clerkin (Monaghan), Gary Brennan (Clare)

9. Neil Gallagher (Donegal)

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Neil Gallagher of Donegal makes a brilliant block to stop an effort from Derry's Ryan Bell
 

A tower of strength in Donegal's midfield. Tactically astute and very strong on the ball. Rarely puts a a foot wrong in possession and superb in the air. Rotated very well with Michael Murphy.

Unlucky to miss out: Anthony Maher (Kerry), Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin), Padraig O'Neill (Kildare)

10. Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)

9 August 2014; Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan saves the attempt on goal from Diarmuid Connolly in the 58th minute. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Quarter-Final, Dublin v Monaghan, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
 

Scored the point of the championship in the defeat to Donegal when he evaded seven or eight defender before knocking it over. Had Dublin won the All-Ireland he would be a safe bet for Player of the Year. A Rolls Royce of a footballer.

Unlucky to miss out: Donnchadh Walsh (Kerry)

11. Aidan O'Shea (Mayo)

Aidan O'Shea celebrates scoring Mayo's only goal in their All-Ireland qualifier clash with Cork at Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
 

Thrived in his role at centre-forward, constantly picking up second balls and driving Mayo forward.

Unlucky to miss out: Leo McCloone (Donegal), Shane Walsh (Galway), Kevin McManamon (Dublin)

12. Ryan McHugh (Donegal)

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Ryan McHugh, Donegal, scores his side's first goal, past Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Dublin v Donegal, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
 

Gave the performance of his life against Dublin and never stops working for his team. A very selfless player who should be crowned Young Player of the Year.

Unlucky to miss out: Paul Flynn (Dublin)

13. James O'Donoghue (Kerry)

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Kerry's James O'Donoghue - one of Fitzmaurice's main strike weapons
 

An explosive presence. His performance against Cork in the Munster final should be shown to every aspiring inside forward. He has years of terrorising defences ahead of him.

Unlucky to miss out: Colm McFadden (Donegal), Jamie Clarke (Armagh), Cormac Costello (Dublin)

14. Kieran Donaghy (Kerry)

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Kieran Donaghy
 

Many will argue that he hasn't played enough football to be picked, but his impact altered the course of the championship and he made the difference when it came to who lifted Sam.

Unlucky to miss out: Cillian O'Connor (Mayo), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Bernard Brogan (Dublin)

15. Michael Murphy (Donegal)

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Michael Murphy, Donegal
 

The 2012 Player of the Year was immense again for Jim McGuinness and even though he doesn't have number 14 on his back in this team, he had to be picked.

Unlucky to miss out: Alan Brogan (Dublin), Conor Sweeney (Tipperary)

A few differences between our team and the choice of the Sunday Game panel.

Here is the RTE Sunday Game Football team of the year 2014 :

1. Paul Durcan (Donegal)

2. Aidan O'Mahony (Kerry)

3. Neil McGee (Donegal)

4. Keith Higgins (Mayo)

5. Paul Murphy (Kerry)

6. Peter Crowley (Kerry)

7. Colm Boyle (Mayo)

8. David Moran (Kerry)

9. Neil Gallagher (Donegal)

10. Paul Flynn (Dublin)

11. Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)

12. Ryan McHugh (Donegal)

13. James O'Donohue (Kerry)

14. Michael Murphy (Donegal)

15. Cillian O Connor (Mayo)

 

Which team do you agree with? Which team is better? Who got omitted that should be in the side? Tell u in the comments section below.

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