Dublin outnumber Ulstermen in Football Allstars nominations
FOUR Ulster counties have garnered 12 PwC Football Allstar nominations between them – which is still one less than five-in-a-row champions Dublin. Only defender Jonny Cooper and half-forward Niall Scully of the kingpins’ regular starters missed out, as they went one better than last year’s dozen nominees.
Ulster winners Donegal lead the way for the northern province with six nominees, twice as many as Tyrone, who made it through to the All-Ireland semi-finals but lost out to eventual runners-up Kerry. There are two nominations for Armagh and one for Cavan, who reached their first Ulster Final for 18 years but lost out in championship to both Donegal and Tyrone.
Kerry’s efforts in reaching the National Football League Division One Final, winning Munster, and taking the Dubs to an All-Ireland Final replay have brought them nine nominations.
Connacht champs Roscommon get two, with Leinster runners-up Meath getting three, with the total of 45 made up of one each of Clare and Munster finalists Cork, bringing the tally of different counties represented to 11. All the teams involved in the ‘Super Eights’ are included, along with Armagh, Cavan, and Clare.
The Footballer of the Year, fittingly, will definitely be a Dub, as their captain and goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton has been put forward in that category along with team-mates Jack McCaffrey and Con O’Callaghan.
There’s another boost for Armagh with Rian O’Neill’s inclusion in the three contenders for Young Footballer of the Year, although the award is likely to go to a Kerryman, either David Clifford or Sean O’Shea. Both those accolades will be ultimately chosen by the membership of the GPA.
Donegal’s contingent starts with goalkeeper Shaun Patton, who is joined there by Cluxton and Kerry ’keeper Shane Ryan, who just edged out Niall Morgan of Tyrone in a close vote.
Donegal defender Stephen McMenamin is also a first-time nominee, with Ryan McHugh having won an Allstar last year and in 2016.
Tir Chonaill captain Michael Murphy (a previous winner in 2012 and 2014 and a nominee last year) received a number of nominations at midfield but has been put forward in attack, along with Jamie Brennan and Paddy McBrearty; the latter was nominated in 2012 and 2014.
The Tyrone trio comprises full-back Ronan McNamee (who was also nominated four years ago), skipper Mattie Donnelly (an Allstar in 2015 and 2016), and Cathal McShane. The last-named was in discussions for the ‘Footballer of the Year’ nominations so the Owen Roe’s clubman is a leading contender for an Allstar.
Armagh’s season of promise is personified by the inclusion of Crossmaglen’s O’Neill among the attacking nominees and Jarlath Og Burns at midfield, 20 years after his father earned a nomination in that department, the latter having led the Orchard County to a first Ulster title since 1982.
The Ulster representation is completed by Cavan’s classy defender Conor Moynagh after the Breffnimen made it through to the provincial final by beating Armagh in a semi-final replay.
Mayo’s efforts in reaching the All-Ireland semi-finals, knocking out Armagh and Donegal along the way, have been rewarded with nominations for defensive trio Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle, and Paddy Durcan, while Aidan O’Shea is in contention at midfield.
Mayo’s earlier conquerors, eventual Connacht champions Roscommon, have had defender Niall Daly and forward Conor Cox recognised.
Meath were well-beaten by Dublin in the Leinster Final and lost all three of their ‘Super Eights’ matches but still get three nominations – backs Donal Keogan and Conor McGill and midfielder Bryan Menton.
There were strong cases made for the inclusion of Clare’s Gary Brennan in either midfield or attack, but although he missed out his Banner County colleague Jamie Malone is included among the 18 forward nominees, as is Brian Hurley of Cork.
2019 PwC Football Allstar nominees (by position):
Stephen Cluxton (Dublin), Shaun Patton (Donegal), Shane Ryan (Kerry)
Davy Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Jack McCaffrey, James McCarthy, John Small
Tadgh Morley, Paul Murphy, Tom O'Sullivan (all Kerry);
Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan (all Mayo);
Ryan McHugh, Stephen McMenamin (both Donegal);
Donal Keogan, Conor McGill (both Meath);
Conor Moynagh (Cavan);
Niall Daly (Roscommon);
Ronan McNamee (Tyrone).
Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh Macauley (both Dublin);
Jarlath Óg Burns (Armagh)
David Moran (Kerry)
Aidan O'Shea (Mayo)
Brian Menton (Meath)
Brian Howard, Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Con O'Callaghan, Dean Rock (all Dublin);
David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Stephen O'Brien, Sean O'Shea (all Kerry);
Jamie Brennan, Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy (all Donegal);
Mattie Donnelly, Cathal McShane (both Tyrone);
Rian O'Neill (Armagh);
Jamie Malone (Clare);
Brian Hurley (Cork);
Conor Cox (Roscommon).
Footballer of the Year candidates:
Stephen Cluxton, Jack McCaffrey, Con O'Callaghan (all Dublin)
Young Footballer of the Year candidates:
David Clifford, Sean O'Shea (both Kerry), Rian O'Neill (Armagh).
2019 PwC Football Allstar nominees (by county):
Dublin (13) – Stephen Cluxton, Davy Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Jack McCaffrey, James McCarthy, John Small, Brian Fenton, Michael Darragh Macauley, Brian Howard, Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Con O'Callaghan, Dean Rock;
Kerry (9) – Shane Ryan, Tadgh Morley, Paul Murphy., Tom O'Sullivan, David Moran, David Clifford, Paul Geaney, Stephen O'Brien, Sean O'Shea;
Donegal (6) – Shaun Patton, Ryan McHugh, Stephen McMenamin, Jamie Brennan, Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy;
Mayo (4) - Chris Barrett, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan, Aidan O’Shea;
Tyrone (3) – Ronan McNamee, Mattie Donnelly, Cathal McShane;
Meath (3) – Conor McGill, Donal Keogan, Bryan Menton;
Roscommon (2) – Niall Daly, Conor Cox;
Armagh (2) – Jarlath Og Burns, Rian O’Neill;
Cavan (1) – Coor Moynagh;
Clare (1) – Jamie Malone;
Cork (1) – Brian Hurley.