Friday 23 March 2018's Football Team of the Weekend

Bernard Brogan celebrates after scoring Dublin's fourth goal
Bernard Brogan celebrates after scoring Dublin's fourth goal
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Our team features seven players from Dublin, four from Tipperary, three from Antrim's conquerors Fermanagh and a single representative from Longford.

1. Evan Comerford (Tipperary)

After starring for the Premier at U-21 level, his championship debut went as good as he could have hoped, though he will have far more to do next time out against Kerry. Assured kick-outs and tipped for a bright future between the sticks.

2. Jonny Cooper (Dublin)

The Dublin rear-guard was reduced to an almost spectator-like capacity after the break, but Cooper remained prominent throughout, eager to get on the ball and launch attacks. Some believe the Na Fianna man is better suited further up field, but a firm favourite of Jim Gavin in an ultra-competitive panel.

Jonny Cooper admits watching the 2011 final in the stands sharpened his ambition

3. Davy Byrne (Dublin)

The U-21 captain took the number three jersey, though it is likely to be a temporary measure with Rory O'Carroll still first choice. Won't get an easier day minding the house, but still took his opportunity to impress.

4. Robbie Kiely (Tipperary)

The defender who now plays his club football with Carbery Rangers in Cork was a key part of the Tipp defence that limited Waterford to just five points at Semple Stadium, with only one coming from play. The versatile 25-year-old will relish the step-up in quality next time out against the Kingdom.

Robbie Kiely

5. Darren Daly (Dublin)

An injury for James McCarthy gave the experienced Fingal Ravens man his opportunity and he gathered a lot of possession for Jim Gavin's side. The 32-year-old is pushing hard for selection for the Leinster semi-final.

6. Ryan McCluskey (Fermanagh)

Undoubtedly the leader of the pack for the Ernemen. A knee injury before the break ended his involvement but had already demonstrated his defensive solidity by that stage.

Ryan McCluskey in action against Cavan in 2013

7. Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)

Always one of the busiest players on the pitch no matter the opposition, the Clontarf man spent more time in an attacking mode such was the nature of yesterday's facile win over Longford. Prominent in many of the scores from the home side.

8. Ryan Jones (Fermanagh)

An exhibition in eye-catching scores, the towering midfielder played a captain's part in their championship opener against Antrim. Scored three on the day and his ability to win primary possession and surge up-field will be required if they are to have any chance against Monaghan

9. Steven O'Brien (Tipperary)

Brian Fenton caught the eye for the Dubs, but another of Tipperary's young guns was in top form at Semple Stadium. Often the less heralded-member of the U-21 midfield alongside All Star nominee Colin O'Riordan, he hit six points yesterday to add to his growing reputation.

Tipperary's Steven O'Brien.

10. Rory O'Connor (Longford)

A sorry day for Jack Sheedy's men, but any player who knocks over three points from play with such limited possession deserves credit. The wing-forward steadied the ship early on when the minnows quickly found themselves eight points in arrears. The floodgates opened after the break, but he demonstrated an accuracy that any forward would be pleased with.

11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)

The Sunday Game decided on the Castleknock star for the official man-of-the-match award for his clever link play, work-rate and not to mention a tally of three points. Seems like he has been part of the inter-county scene for far longer than three years such is his ease on the ball. Another gem in a star-studded forward division.

Ciaran Kilkenny

12. Ciaran Flaherty (Fermanagh)

The centre-forward was at the heart of most of Fermanagh's attacks, which may have been in part why Antrim's Sean McVeigh's resorted to a high-elbow challenge which saw the full-back dismissed. Hugely industrious around the middle third of the pitch.

13. Kevin McManamon (Dublin)

Allocated the number 14 jersey, he operated further out the field where his direct running and selfless play yet again was a feature of his play. As Roy Curtis wrote yesterday, "McManamon’s worker-ant philosophy, his direct running, a capacity to breathe in the most claustrophobic surrounds and create space for others presented a robust case for a starting slot here."

Kevin McManamon

14. Michael Quinlivan (Tipperary)

The gifted full-forward has been Tipperary's main attacking threat the past couple of years and his goal was typical of his ability to sniff out a scoring opportunity.

15. Bernard Brogan (Dublin)

The ace marksman plundered 1-06 in what appeared to be at times nothing more than shooting practice. Knows only too well bigger challenges lie in wait, but his form will have corner backs with much to worry about this summer.

Dublin forward Bernard Brogan shoots to score his side's fourth goal against Longford at Croke Park. Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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