Two Football Allstars for Derry as Kerry and Galway dominate PwC awards

Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue will pick up a PwC Football Allstar tomorrow night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue will pick up a PwC Football Allstar tomorrow night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin Derry captain Chrissy McKaigue will pick up a PwC Football Allstar tomorrow night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

DERRY are Ulster’s only representatives on this year’s PwC Football Allstars team with two winners, Chrissy McKaigue and Conor Glass, as champions Kerry and Galway dominated the annual accolades.

The Kingdom will pick up seven Allstars tomorrow night at Dublin’s Convention Centre, while five go to the Tribesmen, with the other being a sixth award for Dublin icon Ciaran Kilkenny.

There are a rather remarkable 11 first-time winners, including the first nine players on the team-sheet, with only a trio of Kerry attackers having won before like Kilkenny – the Clifford brothers, Paudie and David, and Sean O’Shea.

Kerry’s seven also includes goalkeeper Shane Ryan and three backs – Jason Foley, Tadhg Morley, and Gavin White. The inclusion of the last-named meant no room for another Derry defender: strong cases were made for the inclusion of the excellent Conor McCluskey and for the versatile Brendan Rogers, the latter either among the backs or at midfield, but both missed out.

White becomes the first winner from the Templenoe club, renowned for the Spillane brothers, since 1987, when Tom collected his third, adding to nine for Pat and one for Mick (in 1985).

Oak Leaf skipper McKaigue was a unanimous choice, one of seven to receive the backing of all the selectors, while Glass was well favoured to join Galway’s outstanding Cillian McDaid at centrefield.

The other Tribesmen selected were defenders Liam Silke and John Daly and forwards Damien Comer and Shane Walsh, with the latter having been most people’s choice as Man of the Match in their All-Ireland SFC Final defeat by Kerry.

Now with Kilmacud Croke’s in Dublin, having been with his home club Kilkerrin/Clonberne during the Championship, Walsh ended up as top scorer overall, with a tally of 1-36 over six matches.

Armagh may well feel aggrieved that Rian O’Neill did not make the cut, with arguments for the Crossmaglen man’s inclusion either at midfield or in attack, although the quality of forward play this year was extremely high.

Derry full-forward Shane McGuigan missed out despite a slightly higher score per game average, with his tally of 2-27coming from five matches.

Still, McKaigue and Glass become Derry’s first Allstars for 15 years, since another duo in 2007, Kevin McCloy and Paddy Bradley, bringing the Oak Leaf County’s tally now to 29, won by 19 different players.

Aged 33, Chrissy is the oldest outfield first-time All-Star for quite some time, and the first ever for the Robert Emmet’s club in south Derry. Glass becomes the first Maghera men since Enda Gormley collected his second accolade in the Oak Leafers’ annus mirabilis of 1993.

Kilkenny’s sixth award moved him level with some greats of the game – Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, Tyrone legend Peter Canavan, and the Kerry duo of Ger Power and Jack O’Shea.

The Castleknock man is still only 29 – but David Clifford is just 23 and now has his fourth Allstar, after winning in 2018, 2019, and last year.

The Kerry prodigy will surely be voted Footballer of the Year by the GPA membership tomorrow night, especially as any ‘Galway vote’ will be split between the two others competing for that honour, McDaid and Walsh.

Derry have Ethan Doherty in contention for Young Footballer of the Year, along with Dublin defender and Galway back Jack Glynn.

Kerry extended their advantage at the top of the football Allstars tree, moving onto 155, with Dublin in second spot on 141; Galway remain in sixth, now on 43, still behind Cork, Tyrone, and Meath.

Once again only the four provincial champions have received individual honours, although there were no qualifier matches last year or in 2020; the last time that occurred with qualifiers was in 2017.

2022 PwC Football Allstars:

Shane Ryan (Kerry);

Chrissy McKaigue (Derry), Jason Foley (Kerry), Liam Silke (Galway);

Tadhg Morley (Kerry), John Daly (Galway), Gavin White (Kerry);

Conor Glass (Derry), Cillian McDaid (Galway);

Paudie Clifford (Kerry), Sean O’Shea (Kerry), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin);

David Clifford (Kerry), Damien Comer (Galway), Shane Walsh (Galway).

Winners by county:

Kerry 7; Galway 5; Derry 2; Dublin 1.