Thursday 19 September 2019

Pat Spillane criticises All-Star selection committee for 'screwing up' football XV

Pat Spillane feels Stephen Cluxton, Drew Wylie and Dean Rock can feel hard done by
Pat Spillane feels Stephen Cluxton, Drew Wylie and Dean Rock can feel hard done by Newsdesk Newsdesk

Kerry legend Pat Spillane has taken aim at those involved in the selection of the PwC Football All-Stars team for 2018.

Writing in his column in today's Sunday World, Spillane claimed that Dublin should have been awarded nine All-Stars (they won seven) as Kerry did when they achieved their four-in-a-row in 1981.

He was also critical of the exclusion of Stephen Cluxton, the selection of Colm Cavanagh at full-back and the inclusion of Donegal's Ryan McHugh and diminutive Galway corner-forward Ian Burke.

"We have all heard it said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Congratulations to the All-Star selectors for coming up with the GAA’s version of a camel. I didn’t think it was possible to screw up the selection this year, but boy they did it in style," he said.

"Let’s begin with the biggest blunder of all: the decision to pick Rory Beggan ahead of Stephen Cluxton for the goalkeeping position.

"Given Dublin’s utter dominance of Gaelic football and the fact that Cluxton is by far their most influential player, it is truly astonishing that he hasn't won an All-Star since 2013. I reckon he should have equalled my record haul of nine All-Stars by now.

"Quite simply, Beggan didn’t deserve the award because he made three critical mistakes in Monaghan’s three biggest championship games. They conceded last-gasp goals against Fermanagh and Kerry after he failed to deal with long balls into his zone. Then in the All-Ireland semi-final he had a rush of blood to the head and booted the ball away when Monaghan had a chance of securing an equaliser.

"It’s an insult to Donegal’s Eoghan Bán Gallagher and Monaghan’s Drew Wylie that Colm Cavanagh is selected at full-back – a position he never played in.

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"Granted, Brian Howard played a lot of football in the middle third of the field, but he should have been an automatic pick at wing-forward.

"Ryan McHugh is also selected at wing-forward, though he’s an attacking wing-back. He wasn’t even Donegal’s best player this year: Gallagher and Paddy McBrearty, until he got injured, were more effective. If I was Dean Rock, Shane Walsh, Damien Comer or Niall Sludden, all of whom are bona fide forwards, I would be peeved to see a wing-back get a position up front.

"There is always a lucky All-Star and Galway’s Ian Burke fills the role this year. He was Galway’s third-best forward after Comer and Walsh."

The 2018 PwC All-Stars Football team, Rory Beggan of Monaghan, Jonny Cooper of Dublin, Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone, Padraig Hampsey of Tyrone, Karl OConnell of Monaghan, James McCarthy of Dublin, Jack McCaffrey of Dublin, Brian Fenton of Dublin, Brian Howard of Dublin, Paul Mannion of Dublin, Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin, Ryan McHugh of Donegal, David Clifford of Kerry, Conor McManus of Monaghan and Ian Burke of Galway. Photo by Sportsfile

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