Hot on the heels of yesterday’s surprise announcement that Tom Parsons had been named in the Irish squad for the International Rules series in Australia comes an even bigger surprise today with the news that Alan Dillon has been included in the GPA’s Team of the Year shortlist (which isn’t actually all that short – there are three nominees for each of fifteen positions). Full details on the shortlist are here.
Following a second year of fairly serious underachievement at senior level, it was no surprise to see that we had no All-Star nominees this year and I hadn’t expected to see us get any recognition in the GPA version either. Alan’s nomination is a bit of a puzzle as he didn’t exactly set the world on fire this year. He had an indifferent NFL and struggled with injury for much of the early part of the year, eventually ending up having some minor surgery and missing the Sligo game as a result. He returned to the starting line-up for the Connacht final where he was our leading scorer on the day with seven points, five from frees, and he got four points (all from frees) in the qualifier defeat to Tyrone. All in all, none of this was Team of the Year stuff and with Brian Dooher also on the shortlist for the no.10 jersey, it’s easy to see what the outcome of that particular contest will be. Still, well done to the Ballintubber man for getting onto the list.
As regard other Mayo players who might have got a look in, Tom Parsons probably had a shout for one of the midfield places on the shortlist but the one Mayo player who can genuinely feel aggrieved not to get a mention is David Clarke. He had an excellent year between the sticks for us and he needed to have too, what with that ropey defence in front of him. Some of the one-on-one stops he made – notably against Sligo – were top-class. I don’t think that Fermanagh’s Ronan Gallagher, Westmeath’s Gary Connaughton or Wexford’s Anthony Masterson were any better than the big Ballina man but they’re the three the GPA have picked. Given the memorable year they had and despite the sackful of goals they conceded to the Dubs in the Leinster final, this spot looks certain to be claimed by the Yella Bellies’ keeper.