Football

Derry's Rogers pips McGuigan to be among 2023 Footballer of the Year nominees

Dublin captain James McCarthy tussles with Derry's Brendan Rogers during the Division Two Final.
Dublin captain James McCarthy tussles with Derry's Brendan Rogers during the Division Two Final.

THIRTEEN different counties represented in the Football Allstar nominations total of 45 – and still there are men unlucky to miss out. You all know, with absolutely certainty, who they all are.

Perhaps much of the debate will surround someone who is a nominee, but isn’t among the three Footballer of the Year contenders, namely Derry full-forward Shane McGuigan.

The Slaughtneil man finished as top scorer overall in the Championship, with a tally of 2-52 – four more than Kerry captain David Clifford, who registered 5-39. Of that total, McGuigan scored 1-23 from play. He was ‘man of the match’ in all three Ulster matches, against Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Armagh, and had a terrific season overall.

So did his club-mate and county colleague Brendan Rogers, with a remarkable display despite defeat in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry.

As someone fortunate enough to be ‘inside the tent’ I shan’t leak out too much, but suffice to say that it was an incredibly close call between McGuigan and Rogers to get the nod as ‘the third man.’

Read more:

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Realistically, there were always going to be nominees, at least one each, from champions Dublin and beaten finalists Kerry. Equally realistically, the winner will surely either the current holder of that accolade, Kingdom captain David Clifford, or two-time previous winner Brian Fenton, the Dubs’ midfielder.

Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton consoles Kerry captain David Clifford after the All-Ireland SFC Final.
Dublin midfielder Brian Fenton consoles Kerry captain David Clifford after the All-Ireland SFC Final.

However, even earning a Footballer of the Year nomination is clearly quite the feat.

This time around I didn’t suggest having four FotY contenders, as was the case in 2017, on the basis that it was so difficult to decide between two outstanding goalkeepers that season – Dublin legend Stephen Cluxton and David Clarke of Mayo. The latter ended up with the Allstar – but it was his county colleague Andy Moran who was chosen for the overall award.

The membership of the GPA have another difficult decision this year in their vote this year, effectively between Fenton and Clifford.

Yet who knows? They might agree with the verdict made when the nominations were determined and go for the outstanding Brendan Rogers.