Hurling & Camogie

Gerard Walsh among seven Antrim Joe McDonagh Allstar winners

Gerard Walsh wins his second Joe McDonagh Allstar
Gerard Walsh wins his second Joe McDonagh Allstar

ANTRIM and O’Donovan Rossa hurler Gerard Walsh paid tribute to his team-mates after being awarded a Joe McDonagh Allstar gong, his second of his career.

Walsh was one of seven Antrim players chosen by the Allstar committee – with Ryan Elliott, Keelan Molloy, Eoghan Campbell, Joe Maskey, Conal Cunning and Ciaran Clarke the others.

The 15 winners will be officially recognised at a black tie ceremony in Croke Park tomorrow evening.

Down forward Daithi Sands also received Allstar recognition for his performances in the Joe McDonagh.

“It’s a great honour,” said Walsh, who won his first Allstar in 2020, “but at the same time when you look across our panel of 30 or more players, any one of them would’ve deserved that award. I’m just fortunate enough to be one of the ones who was represented for the achievement of winning the Joe McDonagh.

“I wouldn’t be there only for the rest of the lads."

Molloy also celebrates his second Joe McDonagh Allstar, while his Dunloy club-mates Elliott and Conal Cunning win their first gongs following the county’s successful run to McDonagh Cup glory earlier this year, which is their second under manager Darren Gleeson.

Beaten finalists Kerry scoop three spots on the Joe McDonagh team of the year.

GAA President Larry McCarthy said: “The Joe McDonagh Cup once again delivered on its mandate of producing highly competitive, highly entertaining matches and finished with a stunning 5-22 to 4-24, Antrim-Kerry decider at Croke Park.”

GPA chief executive Tom Parsons said it was “no surprise” to see how heavily Antrim were represented in the final selection.

Meanwhile, Walsh reflected on a difficult season for the Rossa hurlers after they fell to Loughgiel Shamrocks in the quarter-final stages of the championship.

The west Belfast men cut a dash in the 2020 and '21 club championship, but absenteeism, injuries and suspensions cost them dearly.

“We had nine or 10 lads who featured in the county final last year who were unavailable to us in the game against Loughgiel. It was unfortunate.

"But we just had to go with what lads we had available and we all gave it a good lash for 'Rossa. But we’ll be back next year and we’ll give it another go in the hurling and football.”

Joe McDonagh TOTY Selection – Antrim (7) Kerry (4) Carlow (2) Offaly (1) Down (1)

1. Ryan Elliot (Antrim) 2. Joe Maskey (Antrim) 3. Gerard Walsh (Antrim) (Previous winner in 2020) 4. Eoin Ross (Kerry) 5. Fionan Mackessy (Kerry) (Previous winner in 2020, 2021) 6. Eoghan Campbell (Antrim) 7. Mikey Boyle (Kerry) 8. Keelan Molloy (Antrim) (Previous winner in 2020) 9. David Nally (Offaly) 10. Martin Kavanagh (Carlow) 11. Chris Nolan (Carlow) (Previous winner in 2020, 2021) 12. Daithí Sands (Down) (Previous winner in 2019) 13. Conal Cunning (Antrim) 14. Pádraig Boyle (Kerry) 15. Ciarán Clarke (Antrim)