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Independent.ie's Gaelic Football End of Championship Awards

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The Kerry squad celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup after the game. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

The Kerry squad celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup after the game. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

The Kerry squad celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup after the game. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

We may not have got the final we desired, but there was much to admire about Championship 2014. Here are our best and worst and award winners.

Player of the Year: James O'Donoghue (Kerry)

He may have been scoreless on Sunday but his 4-24 in this year's championship was nothing short of astonishing, especially considering that 2-20 came from play. Diarmuid Connolly, Cillian O'Connor and Michael Murphy could have dethroned him had they lifted Sam.

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Kerry's James O'Donoghue and Kieran Donaghy, 14, celebrate their side's victory. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Kerry's James O'Donoghue and Kieran Donaghy, 14, celebrate their side's victory. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Kerry's James O'Donoghue and Kieran Donaghy, 14, celebrate their side's victory. GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kerry v Donegal. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

 

Young player of the Year: Ryan McHugh (Donegal)

He gave an inspired display in the victory over Dublin and is a central player in Jim McGuinness' plans and that's why he was targeted by Kerry. Paul Murphy eclipsed him in the final and had a brilliant breakthrough year alongside Dublin's Cormac Costello and Shane Walsh of Galway.

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Donegal forward and IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh gives the thumbs up after scoring Donegal’s first goal against Dublin in the recent All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.

Donegal forward and IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh gives the thumbs up after scoring Donegal’s first goal against Dublin in the recent All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.

Donegal forward and IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh gives the thumbs up after scoring Donegal’s first goal against Dublin in the recent All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.

 

Goal of the year: Tomas Flynn (Galway v Kerry)

The giant midfielder exposed a huge hole in the Kerry defence when he picked the ball up on his own 65 and galloped through leaving three defenders in his wake before calmly slotting to the net.

Here's the goal:

 

Point of the year: Diarmud Connolly (Dublin v Donegal)

Tempted to choose Shane Walsh magical point against Tipperary when he controlled a fizzing 45 on his right foot before swivelling and floating over a point with his left but Diarmuid Connolly's defiant score against Donegal gets the gong. He breaks through 7-8 strong Donegal tackles before hitting the ball over with his right under pressure in the second half as Dublin chased the game.

Game of the year: Kerry v Mayo (replay in the Gaelic Grounds)

Flops of the Year

LOUTH v Kildare

CORK v Kerry

LIMERICK v Tipperary

Best display of the year

1. James O'Donoghue v Cork

2. David Moran v Mayo

3. Ryan McHugh v Dublin

Howler of the year

Paul Durcan's second half kick-out on Sunday which gifted Kieran Donaghy a goal and Kerry a four-point lead.

Duel of the year

The titanic battle between Keith Higgins and James O'Donoghue at the Gaelic Grounds. The Kerry forward was named 'Man of the Match' but his direct opponent would definitely have been on the shortlist had Mayo been victorious.

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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

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

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

 

Shock of the year Donegal's victory over Dublin

Jim Gavin's side were 1/7 favourites to advance to the All-Ireland and would have held a seven-point first-half advantage had Diarmuid Connolly been able to beat Paul Durcan when one-on-one. What happened next will never be forgotten by Donegal supporters and GAA fans for a long time.

Accidental celebrity

Mick Barrett, from Castlebar town, became an overnight sensation when he came onto the pitch  during extra-time of the Mayo-Kerry replay to ask referee Cormac Reilly "what he was at".

It took six security personnel to remove him from the pitch.

 

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Mick Barrett is restrained as he tries to confront referee Cormac Reilly during the closing stages of the All-Ireland semi-final

Mick Barrett is restrained as he tries to confront referee Cormac Reilly during the closing stages of the All-Ireland semi-final

Mick Barrett is restrained as he tries to confront referee Cormac Reilly during the closing stages of the All-Ireland semi-final

Most soccer-like moment

Shane Walsh almost gets the award again for his amazing touch against Tipperary but it has to go to Diarmuid Connolly for his Suarez-like handshake refusal against Meath goalkeeper Paddy O'Rourke.

Agree or disgree? Let us know in the comment section below.

Online Editors