Tuesday 20 February 2018

Martin Breheny: There is an overlooked factor that needs to be taken into account when discussing All Stars voting

Stephen Cluxton
Stephen Cluxton
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

My phone beeped last Saturday with a message from a man whose opinions I rate.

He wasn't happy with the All-Star football team, specifically the choice of David Clarke rather than Stephen Cluxton in goal. He contended that Cluxton had a better year, a view shared by many although not by the majority of the All-Star selectors.

I was among the latter number but would readily agree that it's a matter of opinion in a contest of very fine margins. Cluxton might well have been selected by another group - indeed if hundreds of committees assembled around the country, it's likely that the split would be fairly even.

However, there was one point that my texter - who is not from Dublin - made which was not relevant. Others have done the same.

They hold that captaining Dublin to an All-Ireland three-in-a-row should have added to Cluxton's plus factors, especially since he didn't win an All-Star in 2015 or 2016 either.

I thoroughly disagree. If the awards are to have any credibility, they must be basely solely on the season just finished.

Where All-Stars selection are concerned, every player makes his debut in the year under review.

Carry on McGrath - it's best for those with a Déise dream

It was a long time coming but confirmation that Derek McGrath is to remain on as Waterford manager should come as welcome news to every hurling supporter in the county.

The last thing Waterford need now is a change of manager, having advanced ever closer to the All-Ireland target this year.

McGrath's critics continue to query whether the style of play is stunting the squad's growth, which is rather bizarre.

Waterford won the Allianz League in 2015, lost the replayed final last year before exiting the All-Ireland race in a replayed semi-final against Kilkenny.

They reached only their second All-Ireland final since 1959 this year and finished one score behind Galway in a game where they had chances to do more damage.

It's the sort of progress that augurs well for Waterford's future, where it's a matter of adapting and adjusting rather than abandoning.

McGrath is best-placed to oversee that crucial phase of the squad's development.

Yes, some changes will be necessary but that's the case in every county.

Waterford's graph has moved steadily upwards under McGrath and there's no reason to believe it won't continue.

Irish Independent

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