Down pair Stephen Keith and Conor Woods named on Joe McDonagh Cup select
DOWN stalwarts Stephen Keith and Conor Woods have been named in the GAA/GPA Joe McDonagh Cup Team of the Year.
The Ballycran team-mates, who also helped their club recapture the county title last month, have given Down sterling service through the years, and their experience proved crucial for the Ardsmen this year.
Elsewhere, the selection is largely dominated by Joe McDonagh champions Westmeath, who have seven players honoured after winning all three matches in an impressive campaign that climaxed with a supreme performance against Kerry in the final.
The Kingdom have three representatives on the team, while Meath, Carlow, and Kildare have one each.
Westmeath’s Tommy Doyle was named Joe McDonagh Cup Hurler of the Year after a fine campaign that saw the Lough Lene Gaels clubman produce a series of storming displays at centre-back for the Lake County.
Congratulating the winners, GAA president Larry McCarthy said: “This is a proud moment for the group of players who on the back of their exceptional displays for their counties have been chosen to take a place on a high-calibre team of the year.
“It was a keenly contested championship which brought the very best out of these skilful and inspirational players.
“I am certain it is a success also shared by your families and club mates and thank you for the commitment to the pursuit of excellence. I particularly want to congratulate Tommy Doyle, who has been chosen as Player of the Year and is a player who has given such sterling service to the Lake County and Lough Lene Gaels for so many years.”
GPA chief executive Tom Parsons added: “While our games are all about being part of a team, individual recognition like this is a huge honour and I want to congratulate the 15 players who have been selected for the Joe McDonagh Cup Team of the Year.
“You were the best 15 players in a season that saw many outstanding performances and you should take great pride from that. A special word of congratulations too to Westmeath’s Tommy Doyle on his selection as the Joe McDonagh Player of the Year.”
Meanwhile, Fermanagh’s Sean Corrigan was named Lory Meagher Cup Player of the Year for his exploits with the Erne County.
The experienced Lisbellaw sharpshooter hit 2-20 from play over the course of Fermanagh’s Lory Meagher Cup-winning campaign, and was also named in the Champions 15 team.
Oisin Kelly of Offaly (Christy Ring Cup), Keith Higgins of Mayo (Nicky Rackard Cup) were also singled out for personal accolades on the back of impressive years.
Belmont clubman Kelly scored 2-10 in three matches for the Faithful County, including seven points from play in the Christy Ring Cup final victory Derry.
Higgins, meanwhile, proved he’s as handy with a hurl as a football by scoring 1-30 in four matches during Mayo’s Nicky Rackard Cup winning campaign.
All three featured on the Champions 15 team, which encompasses the Christy Ring, Nicky Rackard and Lory Meagher competitions.
Armagh goalkeeper Simon Doherty is named between the sticks, while Slaughtneil and Derry pair Sean Cassidy and Cormac O’Doherty are named at corner-back and midfield respectively.
Rory Porteous joins Fermanagh team-mate Corrigan in the 15, as do Cavan’s Enda Shalvey and Tyrone hotshot Damian Casey.
GAA/GPA Joe McDonagh Cup Team of the Year
Stephen Keith (Down); Darragh Egerton (Westmeath), Conor Woods (Down), Eric Leen (Kerry); Aonghus Clarke (Westmeath), Tommy Doyle (Westmeath), Fionan Mackessy (Kerry); Robbie Greville (Westmeath), Brian Byrne (Kildare); Davy Glennon (Westmeath), Killian Doyle (Westmeath), Jack Regan (Meath); Chris Nolan (Carlow), Niall Mitchell (Westmeath), Shane Conway (Kerry)
GAA/GPA Champion 15 Team of the Year
Simon Doherty (Armagh/Rackard); Sean Cassidy (Derry/Ring), Ciarán Burke (Offaly/Ring), Rory Porteous (Fermanagh/Meagher); Enda Shalvey (Cavan/Meagher), Ben Conneely (Offaly/Ring), David Kenny (Mayo/Rackard); Cathal Freeman (Mayo/Rackard), Cormac O’Doherty (Derry/Ring); Damian Casey (Tyrone/Rackard), Gerard O’Kelly-Lynch (Sligo/Ring), Seán Corrigan (Fermanagh/Meagher); Oisin Kelly (Offaly/Ring), Eoghan Cahill (Offaly/Ring), Keith Higgins (Mayo/Rackard)