Nineteen Ulstermen nominated for PwC GAA/GPA Football Allstars
NINETEEN Ulstermen have been nominated for this year's PwC GAA/GPA Football Allstars, with representatives from five different northern counties.
Unsurprisingly, All-Ireland Finalists Tyrone and the side they beat in the semi-final, Monaghan, lead the way, with seven nominees each, followed by three for Ulster champions Donegal.
Ulster finalists Fermanagh get one contender, as do Armagh, namely defender Che Cullen and forward Rory Grugan respectively.
The talking point in Ulster may be the omission of Tyrone’s top scorer Connor McAliskey, who played well in the final and was excellent in both meetings with Monaghan. The Clonoe clubman registered 2-41 over 10 matches but was not selected among the 18 forwards.
Indeed, Niall Sludden is the only Red Hand nominated in the attack, with captain Mattie Donnelly at midfield alongside Colm Cavanagh, and Peter Harte named among the backs. All but Donnelly were also nominated last year, although only Moy man Cavanagh collected an Allstar.
Harte joins county colleagues Padraig Hampsey, Tiernan McCann (both of whom were nominated in 2017), and Michael McKernan in the defensive nominations. The last-named is also among the three ‘Young Footballer of the Year’ nominees, although that is likely to be a fight between Kerry prodigy David Clifford and Dublin newcomer Brian Howard.
Howard is among a dozen Dubs nominated, starting with their skipper and goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, who will be challenged most closely for the number one jersey by Rory Beggan of Monaghan.
The Scotstown man has six county colleagues also among this year’s nominees: Ballybay brothers and defenders Drew and Ryan Wylie, wing-back Karl O’Connell, newcomer at midfield Niall Kearns, the versatile Ryan McAnespie, and, of course, the brilliant forward Conor McManus.
The Donegal trio included will come as no surprise to anyone who has watched this year’s Championship, with nominations for attacking back Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher, captain Michael Murphy at midfield, and the flying Ryan McHugh in attack. The Kilcar man won an Allstar two years ago, at left wing-back, while Murphy has been recognised twice, in 2012 (full-forward) and 2014 (centre half-forward).
Another Ulster county captain in contention is Armagh’s Grugan, while Cullen’s performances against McManus and Murphy in particular ‘Erne’ him his inclusion.
The only Connacht players in the mix, after years of top level involvement by nearly men Mayo, all hail from their arch-rivals Galway, who won the province and lost out in the All-Ireland semi-finals to Dublin.
The Tribesmen give the nod are defenders Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, Sean Kelly, and Eoghan Kerin, midfielder Thomas Flynn, and attackers Ian Burke, Damien Comer, and Shane Walsh.
Kildare, who lost all three of their All-Ireland quarter-finals matches but pushed eventual semi-finalists Monaghan and Galway hard, are rewarded with three names: defender Eoin Doyle and forward Paul Cribben and Daniel Flynn.
Munster champions Kerry have just two, namely wing-back Gavin White and teenage sensation Clifford, although the latter is one of those who seems certain to gain an Allstar.
Making up the representatives from 11 different counties are players from different ends of the pitch, Laois goalkeeper Graham Brody and Carlow forward Paul Broderick, neither of whose county made the ‘Super Eights’.
Dublin are guaranteed the ‘Footballer of the Year’ for the first time since 2015, having lost out to Mayo men Lee Keegan and Andy Moran over the past two seasons.
The GPA membership will select from the Dubs’ last winner of this accolade, wing-back Jack McCaffrey, midfielder Brian Fenton, and playmaker Ciaran Kilkenny.
2018 PwC GAA/GPA Football Allstars nominations:
By county, greatest numbers first:
Dublin (12): Stephen Cluxton; Johnny Cooper, Jack McCaffrey, James McCarthy, Eoin Murchan; Brian Fenton; Brian Howard, Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan, Dean Rock, Niall Scully
Tyrone (7): Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte, Tiernan McCann, Michael McKernan; Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly; Niall Sludden
Monaghan (7): Rory Beggan; Karl O’Connell, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie; Niall Kearns; Ryan McAnespie, Conor McManus
Galway (7): Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, Sean Kelly, Eoghan Kerin; Thomas Flynn; Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh
Donegal (3): Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher; Michael Murphy; Ryan McHugh
Kildare (3): Eoin Doyle; Paul Cribben, Daniel Flynn
Kerry (2): Gavin White; David Clifford
Fermanagh (1): Che Cullen
Laois (1): Graham Brody
Armagh (1): Rory Grugan
Carlow (1): Paul Broderick.
Nominations by position:
GOALKEEPERS (3) (by alphabetical order of surname):
Rory Beggan, Graham Brody; Stephen Cluxton;
Johnny Cooper, Che Cullen, Eoin Doyle, Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher, Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte, Sean Kelly, Eoghan Kerin, Jack McCaffrey, Tiernan McCann, James McCarthy, Michael McKernan, Eoin Murchan, Sean Andy O Ceallaigh, Karl O’Connell, Gavin White, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie;
Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly, Brian Fenton, Thomas Flynn, Niall Kearns, Michael Murphy;
Paul Broderick, Ian Burke, Damien Comer, David Clifford, Paul Cribben, Daniel Flynn, Rory Grugan, Brian Howard, Ciaran Kilkenny, Ryan McAnespie, Ryan McHugh, Conor McManus, Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan, Dean Rock, Niall Scully, Shane Walsh, Niall Sludden.
Footballer of the Year nominees:
Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny, Jack McCaffrey (all Dublin).
Young Footballer of the Year nominees:
David Clifford (Kerry), Brian Howard (Dublin), Michael McKernan (Tyrone).