11 counties represented in All-Star nominations but Dublin dominate

Dublin's Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny were nominated for footballer of the year alongside teammate Jack McCaffrey
By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

All-Ireland champions Dublin have claimed 12 PwC All-Star football nominations, one less than last year as all one of the Super 8 teams were represented in the 45-strong cohort.

Although Ciarán Murtagh and Enda Smith had strong shouts, Connacht finalists Roscommon failed to pick up a nominee while All-Ireland runners-up Tyrone and semi-finalists Galway and Monaghan all earned seven.

The non-Super 8 teams included are Armagh (Rory Grugan), Carlow (Paul Broderick), Fermanagh (Che Cullen) and Laois (Graham Briody).

Munster winners Kerry are represented by Gavin White and David Clifford, who is a young footballer of the year contender (aged 21 or under) alongside Dublin’s Brian Howard and Tyrone defender Michael McKernan. For the first time since 2010 Mayo are not included in the shortlist.

A Dublin player will be crowned footballer of the year for the first time in three years as all three hail from the county - 2016 nominees Brian Fenton and Ciarán Kilkenny and 2015 footballer of the year Jack McCaffrey.

Of the Dublin team that started the All-Ireland final win over Tyrone earlier this month, only Philly McMahon, Cian O’Sullivan and John Small miss out. Eoin Murchan, who gave two fine performances against Niall Sludden, gains his first nomination in his debut season in defence along with Jonny Cooper. While James McCarthy, who could have also been picked at midfield, is included in the backs.

Howard, also enjoying an excellent first full senior year in Dublin colours, is chosen among the forwards although he might have been selected elsewhere given his versatility.

On top of All-Star footballer of the year nominees Fenton and Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan, Paul Mannion and Dean Rock make the cut. In this four-in-a-row era of Dublin’s, three of Jim Gavin’s players are nominated for the fourth consecutive season - Cooper, Fenton and Kilkenny.

Dean Rock

Less than half of the Tyrone team are in the shake-up including captain Mattie Donnelly, Pádraig Hampsey and Peter Harte, although Niall Sludden is the only player assigned to the 18 forwards. Conor McAliskey narrowly misses out.

Monaghan, who Tyrone beat in their semi-final, boast seven too with the Wylie brothers, Drew and Ryan, becoming the first siblings to make the nominations list since the O’Connors of Mayo, Cillian and Diarmuid, in 2016. Rory Beggan is considered the leading candidate by many to take the goalkeeping slot and Conor McManus will be hoping for a third All-Star.

Also with seven, Galway enjoy their best haul since their 2001 All-Ireland success and having three players honoured in defence and attack along with Thomas Flynn in midfield. Captain Damien Comer, Shane Walsh and Ian Burke are among the 18 attackers.

Kildare’s three nominees is a fair reflection of a remarkable season for Cian O’Neill’s side and Ulster champions Donegal also claim the same number, Michael Murphy selected for the first time in midfield where he featured for most of their campaign.

Eoghan Bán Gallagher and Ryan McHugh are likely to go close for All-Stars when they are picked on October 31 ahead of their November 2 awards night in the National Conference Centre in Dublin. They will be announced on Thursday, November 1.

Ryan McHugh

The inter-county body will vote for the player and young player of the year awards from the lists agreed on by the selection committees comprising journalists. They will be asked by the GPA to put in order of preference their choices.

GAA president John Horan, who chaired yesterday’s selections meetings in PwC’s officers on Spencer Dock in Dublin, said: “My congratulations to all of those who have been nominated for these prestigious PwC All-Star Awards.

After the fantastic summer of action that we have just had with all the extra games and all the extra drama of the new quarter-final football format, it adds even greater honour to be chosen on this shortlist.

“We have a selection of 45 players who lit up our season and we are indebted to them for the sacrifices they make to play Gaelic football at such a high level.”

The 45 hurling All-Star nominees will be revealed tomorrow morning as well as the three hurler of the year and three young hurler of the year candidates.

All-Star football nominations

GOALKEEPERS: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin); Graham Briody (Laois), Rory Beggan (Monaghan).

DEFENDERS: Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Donegal); Jonny Cooper, Jack McCaffrey, James McCarthy, Eoin Murchan (all Dublin); Che Cullen (Fermanagh); Seán Kelly, Eoghan Kerin, Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh (all Galway); Gavin White (Kerry); Eoin Doyle (Kildare); Karl O’Connell, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie (all Monaghan); Pádraig Hampsey, Peter Harte, Tiernan McCann, Michael McKernan (all Tyrone).

MIDFIELDERS: Michael Murphy (Donegal); Brian Fenton (Dublin); Thomas Flynn (Galway); Niall Kearns (Monaghan); Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone).

FORWARDS: Rory Grugan (Armagh); Paul Broderick (Carlow); Ryan McHugh (Donegal); Brian Howard, Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan, Dean Rock, Niall Scully (all Dublin); Ian Burke, Damien Comer, Shane Walsh (all Galway); David Clifford (Kerry); Paul Cribbin, Daniel Flynn (both Kildare), Ryan McAnespie, Conor McManus (both Monaghan); Niall Sludden (Tyrone).

Footballer of the year::Brian Fenton, Ciarán Kilkenny, Jack McCaffrey (all Dublin).

Young footballer of the year (U21): David Clifford (Kerry), Brian Howard (Dublin), Michael McKernan (Tyrone).

Nominations breakdown (11 counties): Dublin 12; Galway, Monaghan, Tyrone 7; Donegal, Kildarel 3; Kerry 2; Armagh, Carlow, Fermanagh, Laois 1.

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