| 5.5°C Dublin

DUBS TOPS Dublin on cloud nine with record-equalling All-Star haul but Mayo lose out once again

Close

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton, pictured with with his PwC All-Star award at last year's award ceremony, won his fifth All-Star. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton, pictured with with his PwC All-Star award at last year's award ceremony, won his fifth All-Star. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Cavan's Thomas Galligan won an All-Star at midfield. Photo : Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cavan's Thomas Galligan won an All-Star at midfield. Photo : Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cillian O'Connor was one of only two Mayo players to win an All-Star award

Cillian O'Connor was one of only two Mayo players to win an All-Star award

/

Dublin footballer Brian Fenton, pictured with with his PwC All-Star award at last year's award ceremony, won his fifth All-Star. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

DUBLIN made six-in-a-row history in December. Now, in a belated postscript to an unprecedented year, they have emulated All-Star history too.

The PwC Football All-Stars team, announced this morning, contains a record-equalling nine winners from Dessie Farrell’s trailblazing camp.

In the 50-year history of the scheme only two previous Sam Maguire winners – Dublin in 1977 and Kerry in ’81 – have garnered nine All-Stars while the Kilkenny hurlers achieved a similar 60pc share in 1983, 2000 and ’08.

There is no place for skipper Stephen Cluxton, even though the 2019 Footballer of the Year didn’t concede a solitary goal in 2020, but generally Dublin can have few gripes.

In an unusual, but hardly unique, twist, perennial bridesmaids Mayo must settle for one fewer award than semi-finalists Cavan despite finishing ten points closer to the champions.

But a scheme designed to honour individual performances invariably throws up contentious talking points, and the county-by-county breakdown is just one of them.

All told, after a truncated season – where opportunities for back-door outliers to catch the eye were demolished by the absence of qualifiers or the Super 8s – just four counties are represented.

Trailing a distant second to Dublin are Cavan with three, then Mayo with two, while Tipperary full-forward Conor Sweeney is the sole representative from the history-making Munster champions.

The nine Dubs include three first-time winners – John Small, Eoin Murchan and Niall Scully – as well as All-Star ‘veterans’ Brian Fenton (with his fifth midfield gong), James McCarthy and Ciarán Kilkenny (each collecting their fourth), Mick Fitzsimons, Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock (third).

Close

Cavan's Thomas Galligan won an All-Star at midfield. Photo : Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cavan's Thomas Galligan won an All-Star at midfield. Photo : Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cavan's Thomas Galligan won an All-Star at midfield. Photo : Ray McManus/Sportsfile

A further five join that Dublin trio as first-time winners: Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan, his cousin Thomas Galligan and teammate

Padraig Faulkner (at full-back) along with rookie Mayo defender Oisín Mullin and Tipp skipper Sweeney.

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor – the championship’s all-time record scorer – receives his second award, six years after his first.

O’Connor is the only previous winner from outside the Pale to be recognised – and he was already a shoo-in as a Footballer of the Year nominee, alongside Fenton and Kilkenny.

Mayo diehards are sure to be aghast at their frugal haul, citing the fact they were level with Dublin after 50 minutes, and may be particularly aggrieved that Paddy Durcan hasn’t become a back-to-back winner.

The dashing defender scored in three of Mayo’s five SFC outings, but the injury which ended his final at the midpoint may ultimately have conspired against him.

A return of two All-Stars for a beaten football finalist is undeniably low, but scarcely without precedent. This will be the tenth time it has happened (most recently Tyrone had to settle for two in 2018) while two runners-up – Galway in 1983, Cork in 2007 – won just a solitary award.

Close

Cillian O'Connor was one of only two Mayo players to win an All-Star award

Cillian O'Connor was one of only two Mayo players to win an All-Star award

Cillian O'Connor was one of only two Mayo players to win an All-Star award

Countering that, the gap of seven between Dublin and Mayo is the largest differential to date between winners and runners-up.

In another curiosity, McCarthy had been nominated at midfield but, as allowed under rule, he has been switched to right half-back, where he featured during the early Leinster rounds as well as the league.

His relocation, in turn, allows the roaming Thomas Galligan to switch from his nominated forward berth to midfield. McCarthy is joined in an all-Dublin half-back line by Small and Murchan, with teammate Robbie McDaid unlucky to miss out.

Whereas the All-Star team is selected by a panel of national media, the final vote for player and young player of the year is decided by GPA members – and these winners will be unveiled on Saturday evening’s live televised show (RTÉ1 from 6.35pm) when the All-Stars hurling team will also be announced.

ALL-STAR TEAM OF 2020:

1 Raymond Galligan (Cavan)

2 Oisin Mullin (Mayo)

3 Padraig Faulkner (Cavan)

4 Mike Fitzsimons (Dublin)

5 James McCarthy (Dublin)

6 John Small (Dublin)

7 Eoin Murchan (Dublin)

8 Brian Fenton (Dublin)

9 Thomas Galligan (Cavan)

10 Niall Scully (Dublin)

11 Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)

12 Con O'Callaghan (Dublin)

13 Cillian O'Connor (Mayo)

14 Conor Sweeney (Tipperary)

15 Dean Rock (Dublin)

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy