Ulster's finest in the running for Ladies Football Allstars
TEN Ulster players are among the 45-strong nominees who will descend on the Citywest Hotel in Dublin this evening for the annual TG4 Ladies Football All Star Awards gala.
Ulster champions Donegal, who claimed their second senior provincial title in three years earlier this summer, and were denied a first ever Division One league title by Cork, have five nominees - Ciara Hegarty at centre half back, Karen Guthrie at midfield, Niamh Hegarty at centre half forward, captain Geraldine McLaughlin at full forward and Yvonne McMonagle, who picked up an All Star in 2010 at left corner forward.
Armagh’s Caroline O’Hanlon is one of six nominated for the two midfield positions and has won the prestigious All Star award on three other occasions - 2006, 2012 and most recently in 2014. She is joined by her Orchard team-mate Aimee Mackin who is nominated at right half forward and picked up her first All Star award back in 2015.
Monaghan, who were beaten Ulster finalists this year, sees veteran defender Sharon Courtney nominated once more, this time at centre half back, and like O’Hanlon she has three All Star awards to her name so far winning in 2008, 2011 and 2013.
Cavan’s Aisling Doonan is nominated at centre-half forward and Tyrone captain Neamh Woods, who was instrumental in her side’s journey to the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final this year, is nominated at right half back.
All-Ireland senior champions Dublin lead the way with 12 nominations, while National League Division 1 winners Cork are honoured with nine players on the list.
There are six nominations for beaten All-Ireland senior finalists Mayo. Forward Cora Staunton could earn a record-equalling 11th All-Star award on the night, after the Carnacon player was shortlisted for the full-forward position.
Munster winners Kerry have three players and there are two nominations for Waterford and one each for Galway, Sligo and All-Ireland intermediate champions Tipperary.
Other awards on the night will see the Senior Players’ Player of the Year announced, which is between Dublin duo Sinead Aherne and Noelle Healy and Mayo’s Cora Staunton.
All-Ireland intermediate champions Tipperary have Aishling Maloney and Aisling McCarthy nominated for the players’ player of the year along with Tyrone’s Neamh Woods while the junior players’ player of the year will be between Derry’s Emma Doherty, London’s Lisa Cafferkey and Carlow’s Edel Hayden. Interesting, no-one from All-Ireland junior champions Fermanagh was nominated. The nominees in all three categories have all been selected by their fellow players, who could not vote for their own team-mates.
The four provincial young players of the year will also be honoured tonight with Lara Dahunsi from St Paul’s in Belfast recognised for her exploits in Ulster. Kelley Colgan, from Clann na nGael in Roscommon, will receive the Connacht award, while the Leinster winner is Emma McCormack from Fingallians in Dublin and Fiona Keating, from the Courcey Rovers club in Cork, is the Munster Young Player of the Year. Wexford’s Breda Curran will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The LGFA and Sport TG4 have announced a special Facebook 'Live from the Red Carpet' programme, which will broadcast on both Sport TG4 and Ladies Gaelic Football Facebook pages from 6.30pm for a series of exclusive interviews with players and officials ahead of the All-Star banquet.
Three players have been nominated for each position on the field, and the full list of nominees is as follows:
Goalkeepers – Martina O’Brien (Cork), Ciara Trant (Dublin), Noelle Gormley (Sligo).
Right corner back – Emma Spillane (Cork), Martha Byrne (Dublin), Megan Dunford (Waterford).
Full back – Sinéad Finnegan (Dublin), Aislinn Desmond (Kerry), Sarah Tierney (Mayo).
Left corner back – Róisín Phelan (Cork), Rachel Ruddy (Dublin), Martha Carter (Mayo).
Right half back – Melissa Duggan (Cork), Caroline Kelly (Kerry), Neamh Woods (Tyrone).
Centre half back – Ciara Hegarty (Donegal), Niamh Collins (Dublin), Sharon Courtney (Monaghan).
Left half back – Shauna Kelly (Cork), Leah Caffrey (Dublin), Sinéad Burke (Galway).
Midfield – Caroline O’Hanlon (Armagh), Karen Guthrie (Donegal), Aileen Gilroy (Mayo), Lauren Magee (Dublin), Lorraine Scanlon (Kerry), Fiona McHale (Mayo).
Right half forward – Aimee Mackin (Armagh), Ciara O’Sullivan (Cork), Carla Rowe (Dublin).
Centre half forward – Aisling Doonan (Cavan), Doireann O’Sullivan (Cork), Niamh Hegarty (Donegal).
Left half forward – Nicole Owens (Dublin), Aishling Moloney (Tipperary), Katie Murray (Waterford).
Right corner forward – Eimear Scally (Cork), Sinéad Aherne (Dublin), Sarah Rowe (Mayo).
Full forward – Niamh McEvoy (Dublin), Geraldine McLaughlin (Donegal), Cora Staunton (Mayo).
Left corner forward – Orla Finn (Cork), Yvonne McMonagle (Donegal), Noelle Healy (Dublin).