All-Star selection doubly cruel on Cillian


Photo: @officialgaa

Every year the All-Star awards never fail to cause controversy and tonight’s version was no exception. While the first fourteen gongs in the football awards went in the direction expected (from our perspective, Ger Cafferkey losing out to Dublin’s Rory O’Carroll was a bit disappointing but it wasn’t a surprise), there proved to be a sting in the tail with championship top scorer Cillian O’Connor overlooked in favour of Monaghan’s Conor McManus for the final place on this year’s team. Worse was to follow for Cillian, though, when, in a truly bewildering decision – one made, it should be noted, by the playing fraternity themselves – he found himself beaten to the YPOTY award by Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey.

I know, I know – these awards mean little or nothing in the larger scheme of things and set against All-Ireland medals they’re all but worthless. But all the same if gongs are being handed out you’d like to think we’d get our fair share of whatever is going. This plainly didn’t happen tonight.

Leaving personalities aside for a minute, winning fewer than five All-Stars for us tonight left us short-changed. Dublin undoubtedly deserved their six (though their three hurling ones – the same number as beaten finalists Cork received – was but the latest example of the kind of serial over-rewarding that goes their way) and Kerry’s two were probably justified as well. I know Monaghan won Ulster but from what I saw of them in their All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Tyrone they looked very, very ordinary. Did they deserve two awards? When Tyrone, who knocked them out of the championship without too much bother, only got one?

Turning to personalities, how can it be right that Cillian – the championship’s top scorer and the only man ever to score a hat-trick of goals in successive championship matches – should lose out to Conor McManus? Don’t get me wrong, the Monaghan man is a talented forward and had a good year. But an All-Star? Ahead of Cillian?

When our man lost that one my immediate reaction was that the journo fraternity were doing this knowing he was getting a third successive YPOTY award. If ever there were a bolted-on certainty, then this was surely it – championship top scorer against two pretty boy Dubs lads who had shown promise this summer but who had both wilted badly when the going got tough at the business end of the season.

I’d say Cillian is pissed off at losing both awards but seeing Jack McCaffrey – who was hauled off in both the All-Ireland semi-final and final, having been posted missing on both matches – win the YPOTY award ahead of him has to be the one that hurts the most. The fact that it was his fellow players who voted on this only adds insult to injury.

I’m delighted for Keith and Lee – who both picked up a second All-Star tonight (Lee also lost out to MDMA for POTY but you can’t quibble with that) – and I’m also very happy to see Colm Boyle and Aidan O’Shea claim deserved awards for the first time. But I’m disgusted at how Cillian has been treated and I’m disappointed that we’re leaving tonight’s awards with less than our fair share of gongs.

Nothing for it, then, but to pack this injustice away as yet another hurt that screams out to be righted in 2014.

72 thoughts on “All-Star selection doubly cruel on Cillian

  1. It is quite disappointing all right.
    Presumably COC was there, did anyone see him? Just wondering if his arm is in a sling?

  2. What a load of old crap. Thankfully these so called awards are of no importance at all. The way Cillian was overlooked is confirmation that the whole thing is a joke. This should be the last year of this circus and the whole thing should be scrapped. In any case the only award we are interested in is handed out on the 3rd or 4th Sunday in September. The hurling awards are further proof of the lunacy that goes on. If the referee had not played an extra 30 seconds in the drawn hurling final i bet you the make up of the hurling all stars would suddenly look so different. Same too if Mayo had sneaked a last minute winning goal in the final we would have a few more all stars and Dublin a few less. Ya have to laugh at it really. Probably best to just hand back your all star award to the clown who gave it to you and say i dont want it.

  3. I suspect Cillian will pick up several awards before he finally throws the boots on top of the press. I only hope we have a couple more forwards capable of the same. Then we’ll be laughing.

  4. These awards mean nothing but seriously Jack McCaffrey claiming YPOTY is a joke. Anyway not unexpected as the Dubs are the blue eyed boys, the only way to right this is win it next year.

  5. I just can’t believe it that Cillian O’Connor didn’t get an All Star and having had injury problems and played through it for his county and then not to get YPOTY is just digusting. Top scorer etc what more can a man do to get a trophy instead of the golden dubs. Jack McCaffrey was good for one or two game in the Championship and then lost all form and it wasn’t that he came good towards the end of the season like Bernard Brogan, who is another golden boy for picking up handy trophies. Another kick to the Counties outside the pale in my eyes. So happy for the lads that got their All Stars, Lee, Keith, Aidan and Colm Boyle.

  6. These awards are just an outlet for the journalists to justify the shite that they spout all year. JMC was their darling all year. Cillian’s selection just wouldn’t sell as many copies of the paper. They had it between Aidan and MDMC before the final and they were just justifying their own nonsense. Cluxton was the reason Dublin win Sam – end of!
    Surely a rating system over the whole year could be devised if they weren’t so lazy. But they ARE lazy and what should we expect from an ass but a kick!

  7. I disagree about judging players on 2 performances the award is based on a full years performances. Too much emphasis put on final

  8. Hard “luck” cillian. Well done to the rest of our boys. I reckon they’d throw all the awards in the Liffey tonight if they knew they’d be back in Croker next September for another go.
    Lets see if jack can earn the award next year, definetly didn’t this year.

  9. I’m shocked & bewildered that Cillian didn’t get anything. What a farce. It’s a joke.

  10. That’s what comes of having A I medals in your pocket and Sam on the sideboard – winner takes all sort of thing……

  11. I hate to hear that Mayo whinge. Of course Cillian was the best young player this year. Cillian overcame serious adversity, double hat trick, shown a composure way beyond his years. McCaferry at this stage runs well like Tom Cruise in films but other then being a good sprinter and scoring a screamer of a goal which could have gone either side of the post, he’s no Cillian O Connor.

    The chasm between the two is vast. The YPOTH award is set their to encourage and nurture young deserving talent. Cillian has been there and done that bit, McCaferry as under developed as he is has the medal to prove it. Cillian has bigger fish to fry now. I get tired of this endemic Mayo “hard done by spout” it gnaws through me.

    Trust me I know what being overlooked means if you let the whinge sink in. That’s half of the problem. I believe McCaffery will develop into a top class player who knows what it takes to win.

    Cillian and Mayo need to focus their mind energy into what’s important and we all know what that is. Win the fucking All Ireland and fuck everything else.

  12. Getting just four All-stars wasn’t a surprise but the four should have been Keegan,Higgins,Boyle and O’Connor i don’t think Aidan O’Shea did enough to deserve one for a start his brother had better all round championship and picking O’Sullivan,Cavanagh as number 6,13 shows all silly the All-stars have become.

  13. Fully agree Joe, in fairness, Dublin were impressive when it mattered and deserve their awards. McCaffrey is a good young player and COC has won twice already. 5 was max AIl stars that we were going to get.

    COC played well up to QF and did really well to play in the final. As has been said already, he will win plenty before he finishes playing, so lets not begrudge any of those that won tonight.

    Focus next year is to go one step further and win Sam, and once that is achieved, we will have no concerns about all stars or POTY!

  14. Although I agree on the Cillian issue I feel Seamus O’Shea was the one who really lost out again it looks like a media darling slant on things and game for game Seamus in my opinion out- shone his brother but with all the media coverage going his brothers way it has even clouded fellow players perspectives – anyway that was 2013 and we have a lot to prove for 2014 hoping the boys have the bit firmly between the teeth!

  15. Let’s just find the way to do it right and turn the almost there into there. We can and will do it soon. All the lessons must be learned by now. Otherwise we really do have a problem.

  16. Just one thing for it now and that is to win Sam, it’s the only way to make those handing out awards to take notice and we will have our fill of Allstars and COC who must be getting bored with YPOY by now to cap it with POY.
    Anyway congrats to our Allstars and commiserations to Cillian, his talent might not be recognised within the pale but it is held in the highest esteem among those that know their football……………JMC gets it for a goal against Cork over the guy who scored 6 in successive matches says it all.

  17. Just adding my voice to the outrage here – while ultimately the All-Stars count for nothing (we all know what really counts) it’s still a big accolade for a player and I’m just sick that Cillian not only lost out on that front, but to McCaffrey for YPOTY. Absolutely scandalous – while McCaffrey admittedly shows fantastic promise O’Connor at this point is streets ahead in terms of development, and Cillian didn’t go missing on the biggest day. There have been glaring omissions and talking points before, but this really takes the biscuit.

    Also agree re Seamie – while I’d not begrudge Aido the gong for a second I think his big brother stepped up this year with far less fanfare. Also disappointed for Ger given the year he put in, especially when you see Brogan who was distinctly average for most of the championship waltzing in for a gong on the back of one good day.

    But Cillian’s omission stings the most. I’m sick for him. By god, if we needed any more encouragement to get back behind the lads for another crack at it, this is it.

  18. Forgot to say – obviously delighted for Keith, Lee, Colm and Aido – in particular for Colm, who for me was a hero this year. I hope we’ll be seeing them add more to their collection this night next year, along with their teammates.

  19. I am delighted for the lads who got their all stars tonight. It’s a. Great personal achievement and yeah Cillian a little hard done by but come on……fans over react with these awards…..all stars shmall stars. There is only ONE thing worth winning and that’s the All Ireland. Tony Kelly from Clare said he would throw the lot back if it meant winning an all Ireland next year. The winner is all that is remembered lads…..simple as.

  20. To be honest the only man in my view who was hard done by and deserved an All star was Seamus O’Shea. He out of any of the “All stars” was the only man who stood up to be counted in the final. To be fair, Keegan earned is as well. I know these lads burst a gut all year and deserve the recognition. None of us are in any position to judge and say such and such didn’t deserve an award.
    COC should be proud of what he did for the county this year and no non award can take that away from him.
    Looking forward now to next year and seeing how we can bounce back. Losing hurts but by jesus these lads give us good days and there will be more ahead. Maigh Éo go deo!!!

  21. Sorry, just re-reading what I just commented and want to say that the lads who did get the All stars, were of course well deserving of theirs. Ann-Marie hit the nail well and truly on the head. Reading every comment you post, they seem to make perfect sense! If you are not already in sports journalism, I reckon you should definitely consider it. You put the so called experts to shame in my view!

  22. lets be honest about this, most of Cillian,s scores were taps ins and frees, when it mattered he was found wanting eg: last minutes of AL final. Truth hurts.

  23. Agree 100%,Seamus was way ahead of Aidan this year.Aidan got his all star for the Donegal game.Anyway fuck the all stars it’s All Ireland medals our lads want

  24. The journalists who pick this have alot to answer for….what aload of shite! Cillian coming away without an all star and ypoty is a joke. He missed nearly 3 full games and still finished top scorer. I’m a proud mayoman but I’m still entitled to my opinion and I will say the way they rejigged the team to facilitate aos is a joke. So what they’re saying is aidan you’re at least the 4th best midfielder after macauley cavanagh and o sullivan but sure we’ll move them so you get an award. The lad was the bookies odds on favourite after the donegal game to win player of the year and played his way out of it after his Tyrone and Dublin perfomances so don’t think an all star is merited (sos had a better year). I think big barry also showed in county final how good he was and that was another farce he didn’t get one last year. And then cafferkey missing out! And higgings didn’t really play in backs and got one! Can they not pick you for the number on your back?

  25. Congrats and well done to our four All Stars a great achievement and well deserved. The fact that 3 are defenders says a lot. Also Caff couldn’t be too far away. Cillian is very unlucky but when you look at his injury disrupted year you might see why he missed out. He played well v Galway, missed out v Ros, played second half v London, was very good v Donegal, got injured after a few minutes v Tyrone and though he did brilliantly to play in final he certainly did not perform anywhere near his best. Also unlucky for YPOY but having won it twice he will cope. We shouldn’t be whinging about McCaffrey here in our outrage over Cillian, he had a great year though he did falter somewhat in Dubs last two games, Something similar happened to one of our All Stars.. Think Monaghan were lucky to get two awards but well done to them. No complaints about Gooch or O Donaghue and think Cluxton should have got Player of Year. He certainly is the main reason Dubs won final.

  26. It’s a joke at this stage patriot! Re jigging positions is the biggest joke and no way the monaghan man deserved it ahead of cillian

  27. TWJO I think you’re right re Cluxton – it’s hard for a goalie to gain that kind of recognition and while I’m no great fan of Cluxton on a personal level I think he is consistently unrivalled in his reading and control of the game – and we all saw what he contributed on Sept 22nd.

    Didn’t mean to “whinge” about McCaffrey (and I don’t *really* think I did) obviously, it’s a massive achievement for him and he will only get better and better, but in terms of input, instinct and maturity as a player I really think Cillian is streets ahead at this point. Perhaps you’re right and the fact that he didn’t feature in the early games and missed most of the semi went against him. Certainly feel he deserved an all-star at least, though that said, I think McManus put in a great year.

    Anyway, as was said above, there’s one thing worth winning next year, and if we win that, they can hang onto the poxy All-Stars 😉

    Thanks Erris Head – gonna frame that for the wall but I’d be a bit of a one-trick pony where the ould sport is concerned 😉

  28. Ok I think we need to stop the whinging here. 5 all stars is too many for the beaten AI finalists. Would agree that COC deserved one, and Aido was probably luckiest mayo player, buts not that big a deal really. Show them on the pitch that they were wrong next year and the rest will look after itself.

    If we win the AI next year and the team we beat in the final get 5 all stars I guarantee there will be plenty moaning here. Thought Monaghan were lucky to get 2 and benefited from the usual bias towards new kids on the block.

    As for YPOTY, it has nothing to do with journalists and is solely selected by GPA members, who obviously felt McCaffrey was better. Personally wouldn’t agree but you can’t argue with players selection or blame media hacks. In addition WJ, sorry to be pedantic but McCaffrey was not substituted against Kerry and played the whole game! He was roasted by Donnacha Walsh though.

    Anyway as you said, store the hurt away and roll on 2014!

    P.S. would agree Dub hurlers should not have won 3 Allstars and Limerick just 1, you got that right anyways!

  29. The All Stars or the All Politics? I gave up on them in 1997 when Kildare got 3 for reaching and losing the Leinster semi final. We got 2 for reaching a second consecutive All Ireland final that year.The All Star bash gives the boys a chance to scrub up, put on a dicky bow and let the politicians and shakers see them up close.

    Looking at the stats (open to correction here by the way) Mayo have never been a media darling for those awards. We now hold 33 of which 16 were won by eight players Flanagan, WJ, Nallen, Horan, Dillon, Ken Mort, Higgins and Keegan. That leaves 25 players picking up the rest. Hardly reflecting a county who contested 7 finals since 1989 along with 4 League finals.

    Looking at other counties who got those awards we see Galway on 37,Ros on a credible 15,Donegal with 27 for their 6 Ulster titles and 2 All Ireland finals, Kildare on 15 mainly thanks to Micko and McGeeney and a dribbling media, Dubs on 93, Kerry on 129, Cork 64, Tyrone 41, Meath 49. Down have 23 and Offaly have a healthy 30. Even those exponents of scorched earth football, Monaghan have 9.

    What that tells you is up to yourself. Seamus O Shea deserved one, Aiden didn’t. O Connor was robbed plain and simple, just like McLoughlin last year. The biggest development for me has been the demise of the number 3 man. That two players who were scorched a number of times in competitive football this year, battled it out for that spot shows the declining role the full back now holds in the modern game.

    If All Stars went on ability then numerous Mayo keepers since 1971 would have picked them up, I speak of Clarke and Burke in particular. Davids Heaney and Brady never got one. Cahill, Noel Connelly and Trevor Mortimer felt the chill as well. That McDonald and O Neill were confined to one a piece is a joke.

    If COC needs the motivation of missing out on an award that he has pocketed twice as a kid to do well next year then hes not the lad I imagine him to be. O Connor will move on from this knowing the only medal that barks is the golden Celtic Cross. All Stars my arse!

  30. John Cuff.
    Everything you write is 100% with my thinking. All stars are as always a load
    of crap. Next year they will put a full forward in goalies position to give the sucker an award. Seamus O’Shea deserved this years award.

  31. So disappointed for Ger Caff and COC. but lads this is not OVER just intermission, its how we deal with the losses that will count, if we enter championship 2014 with a do or die and an all for one one for all mentality, we’ll take some stopping, but 100% for all games and nothing left behind us.

  32. BREAKING NEWS: Mayo Bloggers Slam Aidan O’Shea

    Most counties feel they should get more All Stars.

    We must be unique in slagging off our first midfield All Star since Pat Fallon in ’97.

    A guy who dominated the Sigerson, managed well in the league, brushed aside Galway in Salthill, thundered in against Ros in the second half, and lorded it against London. He was simply awesome against Donegal and deserved it for that alone. He was very effective against Tyrone in the semi despite being on a yellow. He didn’t dominate in the AIF but his role for much of it was a defensive midfielder.

    What’s not to like?

    I have been critical of him in the Co final – but that’s a separate issue. They don’t give All Stars for that.

  33. Was at that shambles that they call the all stars.It was crap.€35 just to get in and not even a hang sandwich!Temporary bars set up like stalls at a car boot sale.These bars had a very limited selection of wildly expensive Guinness only products(If Heineken was your tipple you had a very sober night!).The function was spread across the entire premier level on the hogan stand side and was a disaster as regards atmosphere.The nerve center was around section 330/331 and the bizarre choice of DJ empowered music and flashing lights was akin to a teenage disco(if they’re still called that!).Overall it was a complete load of shite and having been to the AS’s for the previous 2 years,I’d have to say that holding the function in Croke Park was a retrograde step.Had a chat with Cil afterwards and he wasn’t too bothered-he’s a bigger man than that.

  34. Mayo were beaten in the AI by one point by “the best team in Ireland”, yet Dublin were awarded 50% more All Stars. In 1996 when we were beaten by one point, Meath and Mayo were awarded the same number of all stars. By the way Mac’s left boot, we didn’t get five all stars last night, we got four.

  35. I agree with that Catcool, and in my book ( and not looking at it through Green and red glasses) I’d have the O’Shea Bros at midfield in the All-Stars.

    The fact is there are a number of GAA journalists that know their stuff and attend matches all over the country all year long and I’d respect May of their opinions. However, there are many more than half of those with a vote for the All-Stars, that think they know their stuff and are very much sunshine attendees at games, especially in the more unfashionable times of the year.

    I mean seriously, O’Carroll instead of Caff. For the 3 jersey; McCaffrey over Cillian (winner the previous two years) for YPOTY, and McManus over him for corner-forward. And Cluxton should be Player of the Year, and he probably lost it because he’s media shy.

    And I mean no disrespect to O’Carroll, McCaffrey, McManus, or Macauley – all great or potentially great players, but not the best in their positions over 2013. I could live with the rest of the choices but picking players out of their positions because they can’t make hard decisions and pick just the best. The committee that organise the awards are more interested in numbers and perception, rather than what should be the ethos of the awards that would command total respect.

    Congrats to our four winners and commiserations to our stars who didn’t collect last night – we know and they know their rightful standing. The don’t need confirmation from diplomats journos rather than serious judges of Gaelic Football – obviously the new venue and works picnic isn’t the only standard that’s dropping.

  36. Don’t think Caff was scorched a number of times this year I actually thought he was better this year than last year. Admittedly Brogan scored 2 3 but whatever about the first one Caff certainly was not at fault for second one.

  37. Not having a go at you Anne Marie I think your comments are very accurate. Not too pushed about All Stars but the more Mayo get the better.

  38. Well done to AOS. Not a great end to the season footballing wise for him but this
    might be the boost he needs to get back on the horse and get stuck in next year.
    Well done to the other 3 lads as well.

  39. true Joe, also this young player award is very vague or is there an age bracket like under 21 as Cillian has won this award the last two years. Congrats to Jack McCaffrey, best of luck in the future. It shows how well Cillian has done and how established he is even at this young age. Also seen Ciaran Sheehan from Cork is only 22yrs, is that not young! Maybe it should be a newcomer award or a rookie award. If it is Young Player then surely U 21 and Minor championship players in said championships could be in the frame

  40. o sullivan at number 6 when he played there for how long all year ? ?? dublins number 12 diarmuid connelly must be a little angry too, he was immense in the final, big and physical causing trouble. aid o se lucky but take it,. kevin mcloughlin deserved one last year more than aiden this year.

  41. The best Mayo midfielder against Galway,Ros,London and in the AI final was Seamie O’Shea, No slamming of Aidan O’Shea i just think and would most agree his brother had a better year than him.

  42. You must be joking!!!,

    If it was only tap ins how come colm cooper and the rest weren’t banging up huge scores? If you ever played the game you would realise that the best players always seem to be in the right place at the right time to get those tap ins.
    And I have to bring up the league game in cork, two sideline balls, different sides of the pitch, both scored by young o connor. Name another forward in Ireland that could do it.
    All I can say is I’m glad it’s a mayo jersey he’s wearing, we have hope with the like of him on our side.

  43. Cillian is a wonderful talent, and his two sideline points in Cork were immense .

    His injury really hampered his progress this season, I believe he was really coming on leaps and bounds in his general play and then got hit with the injury.

    He is vital to our progress not alone for next year but the future in general , he is the one talent I expect to improve and prove to be enormous for Mayo. We can start to bulid around him , when the likes of Dillon and Andy decide to call it a day. Kirby, Irwin, tommy Conroy, docherty, Evan Regan etc can be moulded into a better forward line than we have ever had along with Cillian as the leader in the forward department.

  44. What a fantastic win for Mitchels over the much fancied Corofin today – Horan will surely find some new additions to the Mayo panel after that performance ….

  45. Watched it on tg4, I thought It was a poor enough game. Maybe the weather was a factor. Anyway, poor or not, congtratulations to castlebar, and could be biased but i thought the ref gave corofin some very handy frees? Anyone else notice that?
    Good interview with pat Holmes at the end, “or whatever”.

  46. Yes fantastic for the Michels, nobody gave them a chance but they showed grit and deserved the win, that it was over the much fancied Corofin makes it even better.
    Richie and Tom awesome as were all of the team really.
    Good luck lads in the final.

  47. Ya that ginger fella no 12? that knocked in the 1st goal I think he got MOTM as well, should be worth a look

  48. Fair play castlebar. Grt win. Played as a team and should have won by more. Thought O Reilly was brilliant, both feeneys, cuniffe really good. Think they will beat Brigits too. Jesus ref was brutal. Did his best to ruin the match. No cop on at all.

  49. Ref was brutal, really hard to figure out where he gets his over carrying rule from, he was pulling both sides on less than three steps, fookin ridiculous carry on.

    Where will the final be held?

  50. Great win for Castlebar with some great performances. I’m not a gambler but I hope those who are took full advantage of the bookie’s reprted generosity.
    Along with those already mentioned I thought Tom King had a great hour.
    The Castlebar full backline will need to tighten up, particularly on their first quarter display, for the final or Kilbride and Dolan will make them pay.
    I was also puzzled by the role of Barry Moran, he seemed more interested in taking frees in his own half back line that trying to win possession from them. Also the policy in the second half in particular seemed to be to keep kick outs away from him. Several went short and some direct to Gary Sice at wing forward.
    Corofin’s decision to take off Alan Donovan [or was he injured] was a big mistake for them as they missed a number of frees afterwards.
    I expect the final will be in St Brigid’s home ground, Kiltoom, as it is a county ground,

  51. Great piece of writing John Cuffe. COC is the best young player of the year, where it matters most for any forward,with or without the medal. Congrats to Lee, Aidan, Colm and Keith

  52. Why are you all getting up in a heap about all stars, they are and always were a joke and never paid any heed to them, very year there contrevorsial every year, giving all stars to players out of positions in both football an hurling…………Well done to castlebar today and it only convinces me even more that horan frigged up big time on the line when you see feeney and moran performances for the mictchels, was he even there today as i hav,ent seen him at junior or intermed chapionship games at mchale pk.

  53. Well done c’bar!! Delighted to see corofin beaten. They’ve been talking themselves up all summer here in Galway and only had brigids in their minds.

  54. It’s funny how influential the media and other people’s perceptions can be in deciding things like this. Cillian deserved YPOTY but the big loser of the night was definitely Seamus O’Shea. He was better than Aidan in 5 out of 6 games, while also having an excellent game v Donegal.

  55. [Deleted]. The best Mayo mid-fielder in all Championship games this year, bar the Donegal game, was Seamus.

  56. Seanod87 – you’ve been commenting here long enough to know by now that you’re not allowed to insult others when doing so. I’ve deleted the offending bit of your comment.

  57. conor mcmanus 100% deserved it and yes monaghan deserved their two all stars! mansy is a talented forward nd is instrumental in everything

  58. Read the heading on the blog-MAYOGAABLOG…and I for better one think Cillian deserved an all star,don’t care if Monaghan got 10!

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