Monday 23 April 2018

The Sunday Game reveal All-Ireland final man of the match and team of the year

Dublin players, from left, Eoghan O'Gara, James McCarthy and Dean Rock celebrate following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin players, from left, Eoghan O'Gara, James McCarthy and Dean Rock celebrate following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Mayo at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

The Sunday Game panel have named Dublin midfielder James McCarthy man of the match for the 2017 All-Ireland final.

McCarthy was instrumental in Dublin's one-point win over Mayo on Sunday as the Jacks won their third consecutive All-Ireland final.

The Ballymun man was also named as RTE's player of the year.

Eight-time All-Ireland winner Pat Spillane said that McCarthy was inspirational for Dublin and that Mayo defender Chris Barrett was the standout for the Westerners.

"Man of the match from a Mayo point of view... Andy Moran was superb but Chris Barrett was absolutely superb. I just thought he was inspirational today. He threw his body on the line for his county in terms of intercepting and tackling," Spillane told RTE Sport.

"From a Dublin point of view, Paul Mannion kicked three great points in the second half but if I was a gambling man now and was hitting Paddy Power with a bet for somebody, bearing in mind that the boys aren't voting until later on tonight, but I would put my house on James McCarthy.

"I thought he was inspirational from start to finish. Two brilliant points, huge engine and his vital mark at the end, man of the match James McCarthy."

Commenting on his man of the match award McCarthy said: "I'm absolutely delighted, but I'm more delighted we won the match.

"It's been an incredible journey, we're such a tight group. We've been through the ringer together and that's what got us over the line today I think.

"We're so close together and different guys step up at different stages so we're happy out."

Sunday Independent columnist Colm O'Rourke voted for McCarthy as player of the year and said: "James McCarthy is my footballer of the year and he has been probably footballer of the year, or close to footballer of the year, for the last five years.

"He's a man for winter or summer, rarely misses games, and sets an exceptionally high standard in almost every game. He doesn't get man of the match awards, or rarely gets them, but he still plays at a very high level almost all the time."

Joe Brolly also voted McCarthy for Footballer of the Year and said: "McCarthy's winning influence in the last 10/15 minutes today, when it really came down to it, when you decide who are going to be the winners in this game, he's such a good footballer. Has a brilliant attitude towards the game as well."

The Sunday Game panel have revealed their 2017 Gaelic Football team of the Year with all but one player competing in Sunday's All-Ireland football final.

Kerry full-forward Paul Geaney is the only non-Dublin/Mayo player on the team with Dublin and Mayo gaining seven selections each.

Stephen Cluxton, Michael Fitzsimons, Cian O'Sullivan, Jack McCaffrey, James McCarthy, Con O'Callaghan and Paul Mannion were selected from Dublin while Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle, Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons, Aidan O'Shea and Andy Moran gaining selection for Mayo.

2016 Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan was a notable omission from the side with his county teammate Colm Boyle and Dublin's Jack McCaffrey both preferred to the Mayo defender.

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