GAA Football

GAA: Cavan Club Allstars selection

Seanie Johnston of Cavan Gaels
Kevin Carney

Cavan Gaels came out tops in the Senior Club Football Championship. See how many Club Allstar awards they got as Kevin Carney's selection of the stand-out players...

2017 Cavan All-Stars

1 Ciaran Flynn (Cavan Gaels)

Got the nod this year ahead of Donegal native Martin Cassidy who was between the sticks for the Gaels when they won their penultimate SFC title in 2014.

Flynn repaid the faith team-manager Jason O’Reilly showed in him with his clean sheets in this year’s SFC semi-final and final key to the county town side’s success in securing their 14th blue riband title.

Brave and strong under the high ball, he proved to be a dab hand at splitting the posts from long-range frees too.

2 Joey Jordan (Lavey)

The loose-limbed versatile defender continues to be his side’s most consistent operator.

Blessed with a great engine and a great turn of speed to boot, his display in his side’s SFC quarter-final defeat to Ramor Utd was straight from a purist’s video library.

His runs up the field in his support of his attacking colleagues are his stock-in-trade and it will be a surprise if Cavan boss Mattie McGleenan doesn’t invite him onto his panel for 2018.

3 Oisín Kiernan (Castlerahan)

The 24 year old pig farmer is one of the most underrated players on the 2017 SFC losing finalist’s team and one of the principal reasons Castlerahan kept five clean sheets in their seven game championship campaign. Recruited this year from the Ballinacree club in nearby county Meath, the six foot plus stopper was Castlerahan’s top scorer with two points in their defeat to Cavan Gaels in this year’s SFC final.

Would make a very interesting addition to the Cavan senior squad.

4 John Cooke (Crosserlough)

Cooke was his team’s stand-out performer when the ‘lough scared the pants of would-be champions Cavan Gaels in the SFC quarter-final before going under by 3-6 to 1-14.

Unheralded but highly-rated by his clubmates, Cooke’s discipline in the tackle and his powers of recovery make him an ideal corner-back.

His man-of-the-match display in the win (2-13 to 0-9) over Ballinagh when Crosserlough booked their place in thhe quarter-finals was one of the best individual performances of tthe 2017 SFC.

5 Levi Murphy (Cavan Gaels)

Part of a ‘not an inch’ half-back line that was arguably the Gaels’ best sector all year.

Murphy is a forward ‘cum defender whose pace off the mark and slight of hand makes him an ideal counter-attacking player.

At 29, he’s in the best form of his career and is possibly the most improved player in senior football circles in Cavan right now.

His penchant for running off the shoulder makes him a forward’s nightmare opponent.

6 Barry Fortune (Cavan Gaels)

Played with a level of composure and authority in this year’s SFC final way beyond his 22 years.

Relocated to the centre-back berth at club level in 2017, the ‘erstwhile underage county star put the shackles on no less a player than long-time senior countyman Ronan Flanagan in the blue riband decider, keeping him scoreless in the process.

His intelligent reading of the game and his strength-in-the-tackle help make him one to watch for the future.

7 Darragh Kennedy (Killygarry)

Just 19, Kennedy is poetry in motion and it’s no surprise that he continues to be inundated with offers from soccer, rugby and hurling mentors to line out for them. His athleticism is matched only by his expert kick passing skills. For such a young player, he’s a tremendous reader of the game. The former county minor’s sharp link-up play, confidence and energy is sure to get him noticed for many years to come.

8 Dara McVeety (Crosserlough)

The driving force behind his club’s renaissance this year.

A class apart as the black and ambers stayed rooted to the top of division two of the league for most of the year and ‘oftimes unplayable in the SFC, McVeety is the archetypal modern-day ‘engine man’.

Destined to be a top man for club and county for many years to come, the 24 year old shone like few others across the county in the middle third of the field in 2017.

9 Padraig Faulkner (Kingscourt Stars)

Developing into arguably the most consistent club footballer in Cavan. Backed up his brilliant SFC-winning year of 2015 with another inspirational season in 2017.

lways on the front foot, the spring-heeled 23 year old former under 21 Ulster medallist is equally at home in defence.

Tremendously determined, invariably out in front for the incoming ball and a useful auxiliary to a tiring attack, he is fast developing into being Kingscourt’s talisman.

Still just 23, Faulkner’s thunderous runs forward are complemented by great powers of recovery.

10 Niall Smith (Cavan Gaels)

Has burning pace to get away from his marker and his ability to draw frees is a pivotal part of his game. Scored two textbook points on the run in a very confident first half display in this year’s SFC final.

A manager’s player who’ll consistently empty the tank while always chipping in with a couple of neat and, invariably, timely points.

Is another player who might well have tickled Mattie McGleenan’s fancy over the course of the past year.

11 Martin Reilly (Killygarry)

The former Burnley soccer player is probably in a class of his own when it comes to pinging precise passes 30-40 metres goalwards.

His ability to lose his marker and arrow shots over the black spot with the outside of his foot are trademarks of his game.

Blessed with the engine of a Mercedes, Reilly is the man that makes an up-and-coming Killygarry team tick.

A shoo-in for a place on Mattie McGleenan’s First XV when push comes to shove in 2018.

12 Cathal Maguire (Ramor Utd)

Maguire’s tour de force in his side’s SFC quarter-final victory over Lavey was one of the most convincing individual displays of the 2017 season.

Apart from two excellent points that mid-September night, his energy, physical presence and heart made his return from the US all the more valuable.

A player who seems destined to fulfil his underage potential, the attacker ‘cum midfielder is very much one for the future.

13 Adrian Cole (Ramor Utd)

Even allowing for his rather subdued performance in the SFC semi-final defeat to Castlerahan, Cole did his chances of getting a senior county call-up in the coming year no harm at all.

Hit the ground running in this year’s SFC with a man-of-the-match 1-3 tally from play against Cuchullains and never looked back as he proceeded to be the defending champions’ go-to attacker for the rest of the campaign.

Top goalscorer in this year’s SFC with four majors.

A particular threat to defenders under the high ball.

14 Sean Johnston (Cavan Gaels)

Collected his third man-of-the-match award in early October after a stunning display against Castlerahan in the SFC final.

Despite his 34 years and an injury-curtailed season, he gave everyone a reminder of what made him formerly one of the best attackers in the country by hitting the high notes just when it mattered in the SFC.

His mercurial ability to turn on a sixpence and spirit exocets over the black spot from almost impossible angle remains a joy to behold.

15 Conor Smith (Killygarry)

Nifty, skilful and elusive, Smith produced arguably his best form to date at senior level to bag goals for fun in both league and championship this year.

The pivot of Killygarry’s exciting attacking play which got them rave reviews in 2017, young Smith operates in the James McCartan mould with his burrowing, opportunism and gritty ball-winning style making him a nightmare to mark.

Possibly the most improved senior club player of the year.

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