Search begins for 2021 Irish News Ulster All-Stars
As the world at large tentatively felt its way out of lockdown and spectators streamed back into grounds again, they and viewers of TV and online streams witnessed skill, drama and excitement.
Footballers, hurlers and camogs battled for Ulster and All-Ireland glory. Stories were written, stars created and memories made.
Tyrone picked themselves up after being floored by Covid to land an unlikely All-Ireland title.
Antrim camogs were also at Headquarters to secure the All-Ireland intermediate title. The hurlers of Derry and Tyrone reached Christy Ring and Nicky Rackard Cup finals respectively, while Fermanagh landed national silverware by defeating Cavan in the Lory Meagher Cup. There was a trip to Dublin on ladies’ football finals day for Antrim in the All-Ireland junior decider.
The Dublin venue also hosted the Ulster senior football final between Tyrone and a Monaghan side which had won an emotionally-charged provincial semi-final against Armagh less than 24 hours after the tragic death of their U20 captain Brendan Og Duffy.
The GAA family rallied around the Duffy family, just as it had done so many times over the past 18 months with households and communities devastated by the pandemic.
The 2021 Gaelic Games season offered hope and healing and now it is time to reward those players who have provided us with so much joy and entertainment throughout the year.
The Irish News Ulster All-Stars acknowledges excellence across Gaelic football, hurling and camogie.
Starting today, you can select a team for each code by either filling out the form in the paper or online at irishnews.com/allstars. You can also vote for a Player of the Year in each code.
Over the coming days, our reporters and correspondents will help you select your team by providing reminders of some of the outstanding performances of the year in football, hurling and camogie.
Irish News editor Noel Doran said: "It has been another outstanding season for the GAA, despite all the challenges presented by the pandemic, and I'm delighted that we will again be able to recognise the achievements of the top Ulster performers across all four codes. Our Ulster All-Stars initiative is now established as among the main highlights of the GAA calendar, and I'm sure that our readers will respond as positively as ever."
Irish News Sports Editor Paul McConville said: “Last year was a first for the Irish News Ulster Allstars as we named teams for football, hurling and camogie for the first time and I am delighted that readers will again get to chance to select the most deserving men and women to fill those teams this year.
“In highlighting the top performers across all four codes, we celebrate the role sport has had to play in bringing us back to something close to normal. Our readers love to follow every twist and turn of the Gaelic Games season and I have no doubt we will see a great response to this year’s All-Star initiative.”
Annette Small, Group Marketing and Communications Manager said: “The Irish News Ulster All-Stars have grown into one of the most prestigious fixtures on the Irish sporting calendar. This year we saw outstanding performances from players across all four codes, allowing us to enjoy an outstanding championship season despite a very challenging year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors O’Neills Sportswear, Spar, PKF-FPM and Millar McCall Wylie for their support.”
Voters will be entered into a draw for a 2021 All-Star jersey and an O’Neill’s gift card to the value of £100. There will also be four runner-up prizes of an Irish News Ulster All-Star jersey.
Vote by post or online at www.irishnews.com/allstars