Off The Ball: Club stars deserve own All Star ceremony
I spent last Friday night presenting awards at the Claregalway Hotel Galway GAA Dream Team Awards night.
A team of players, from intermediate and senior, men and women, were recognised for their displays in the county championships. It's a fantastic idea and recognition for club players across the whole county.
The Dublin County Board award club players with 'Blue Stars' and that selection play the Dublin county team in a challenge game during the new year period. I have been critical of the Dublin county board for only guaranteeing club players one championship game but their Blue Stars are a great idea.
Organising a challenge game against the county team is hugely beneficial for a county manager to see the best talent from around the county. A relatively competitive game like that beats trial games hands down and gives the club selection a taste of intercounty football. They can sink or swim against the big boys.
Club All Stars awards nights, and challenge games like these, should be made standard across every county. Coming so soon after the intercounty All Stars night, they give club players a chance to emulate their heroes, at their own level.
In Laois, a player of the year is chosen from each grade and usually comes from the county champions. I'm not criticising Laois, or any other county's awards night, because any recognition for club players is great. But why not change the model?
Get a sponsor on board, have a club All Stars night, and recognise players across all clubs.
The players would love it, trust me. In Galway last Friday it was obvious how much a club All Star meant to the players.
And while we're at it, why can't the GAA organise an All Star team from the club championships' provincial and All-Ireland series? Who knows, I might even have managed one of those!