I rated being picked as an All-Star second only to winning an All-Ireland medal.
From speaking to current players, they rate an All-Star as highly as I did.
Back in my day the awards ceremony was the GAA’s Oscar night, full of glitz and glamour, with no expense spared.
It is a great shame that for the second year in a row the awards gig has had to be shelved due to Covid-19.
The actual selection of the team is a subjective issue and every GAA fan has an opinion.
The announcement of the Sunday Game’s Team of the Year on the night of the All-Ireland final has taken some of the spotlight away from the official AlI-Star team in recent years.
Frankly, I don’t think there will be too many arguments over this year’s team.
My personal All-Star team is exactly the same as the Sunday Game’s Team of the Year.
Though a case could be made for Monaghan’s Rory Beggan, Niall Morgan’s pivotal role in Tyrone’s All-Ireland win gets him the goalkeeper berth.
My six defenders are Paddy Durcan, Lee Keegan, Padraig Hampsey, Niall Sludden, Kieran McGeary and Peter Harte.
The trio who ran them closest in my book would be Oisín Mullin (Mayo), Ronan McNamee (Tyrone) and Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)
Midfield is Matthew Ruane and Conn Kilpatrick, with Dublin’s Brian Fenton and Tyrone’s Brian Kennedy in the mix.
Picking six forwards is the tricky bit.
My choices are Conor Meyler, Paudie Clifford, Ciaran Kilkenny, Darren McCurry, David Clifford and Tommy Conroy.
The team is being selected on Wednesday and the main debate will probably centre on whether Paudie Clifford, who was the best player in the Munster Championship, holds off the challenge of his Kerry team-mate Sean O’Shea, the leading scorer in the championship. Likewise, there could be a head-to-head clash between the Mayo pair Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue.
Tyrone’s Kieran McGeary is my Player of the Year with Mayo man Mullin my choice as Young Footballer of the Year.
Here is Pat Spillane All-Star team for 2021:
Niall Morgan (Tyrone)
Paddy Durcan (Mayo) Lee Keegan (Mayo), Padraig Hampsey (Tyrone)
Niall Sludden (Tyrone) Kieran McGeary (Tyrone) Peter Harte (Tyrone)
Matthew Ruane (Mayo) Conn Kilpatrick (Tyrone)
Conor Meyler (Tyrone) Paudie Clifford (Kerry) Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)
Darren McCurry (Tyrone) David Clifford (Kerry) Tommy Conroy (Mayo)