First look at the All-Stars

All-Stars logo

There’s been some discussion in the comments over the last week or so about what’s likely to happen in relation to this year’s All-Stars and with the list of nominations due out any time now I guess it’s as good a time as any to think about this.

When I was looking at this last year, a handy starting point I used was the teams selected by the GAA,The Sunday Game and others as this helped to highlight the major areas of agreement and disagreement on the likely destination of the awards. It makes sense to do so again this year so here are a few selections to get us going: GAA, The Sunday Game, Irish IndependentCiaran Whelan and Tomás Ó Sé.

Having done so, however, I’m going to rapidly eliminate the last two, as they’re both badly biased ex-player picks. Whelan, one of the better analysts on TSG it must be said, can’t resist being over-generous to his native county, giving them a wholly undeserved three gongs while Ó Sé’s pick makes no sense whatsoever, for the reasons Davy J has already outlined so well in the comments.

If we look, then, at the GAA and TSG teams, it becomes immediately apparent that ten of this year’s All-Stars are going to be pretty easy to sort. Aidan O’Mahony, Neil McGee and Keith Higgins are all certainties in the full-back line, Kerry duo Paul Murphy and Peter Crowley will win out in the half-backs, David Moran is a cert for midfield, Paul Flynn and Ryan McHugh are likewise in the half-forward line while Cillian O’Connor and James O’Donoghue look to be bolted-on for the full-forward line (though as I argue in a bit our man might possibly lose out here depending on how the chips fall).

That leaves five places – goalkeeper (which is between Donegal’s Paul Durcan and Kerry’s Brian Kelly), one of the half-back slots (with Frank McGlynn and Colm Boyle the favourites here), one of the midfield places (almost certain to be Donegal’s Neil Gallagher but the GAA team has Michael Murphy there), centre-forward (where Aidan O’Shea has a big shout, with Diarmuid Connolly also in the running and Murphy too) and full-forward (where it’s a shoot-out between Michael Murphy and the Kieran Donaghy).

As ever, geopolitical considerations will come into it, i.e. what the macro share-out should be. I’d expect Kerry to get 5-6, Donegal most likely 5, ourselves 2-3, Dublin definitely no more than two.

If Kerry get six, then in addition to O’Mahony, Murphy, Crowley, Moran and O’Donoghue, they’ll get either Kelly or Donaghy. Donegal’s five are likely to be Neil McGee, Neil Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Michael Murphy and one of Durcan or McGlynn. Keith is our banker and Cillian should be too but if he gets squeezed out again (which would be a gross injustice but if Murphy and Donaghy are both picked in the full-forward line he will be) then one of Boyler or Aido (maybe both but I doubt it) will get it. Dublin will definitely get Flynn (excellent again this year but only against lesser opposition) and might at a push get Connolly.

I’m not holding out too many hopes for over-reward for us so while I hope we get three, I think it’s likely we’ll get two. I also think Kerry will get six, Donegal five, which would then mean that, once more, Dublin will get more than they should, i.e. two rather than one. Here’s how I think it’ll pan out: Kelly; O’Mahony, McGee, Higgins; P Murphy, Crowley, McGlynn; Moran, Gallagher; Flynn, Connolly, McHugh; O’Connor, M Murphy, O’Donoghue.

Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year are both slam-dunks, with Kerry’s O’Donoghue confirming his poster-boy status by winning the former while Ryan McHugh will take the latter.

42 thoughts on “First look at the All-Stars

  1. A number of things have come close to pushing me over the edge this year. But the final straw will be if Cillian O’Connor loses to that baldy oul Kerry bollox whose only award this year should be “Best Use Of A Big Arse”.

    Yeah, I’m still bitter. Very, very bitter. But just cos he overdosed on the magic beans and and has hands the size of transport boxes (that he admittedly put to good use over a portion of the season) shouldn’t mean that our man, who had a consistently excellent year, should lose out. Again.

  2. Willie Joe – how do we deserve two, yet Dublin deserve one. They put in some great performances and one bad. We played well against Galway, and against Kerry at times, but not as well as some of the football Dublin played.

  3. Woah Harsh enough on Whelan if ya don’t mind me saying WJ!

    Think his is a very well-rounded pick and I’d actually agree with all of it! I think he’s always very fair and is here again. Connolly and Flynn must be shoe-ins and McCarthy had a magnificent campaign up to the semi so don’t see any bias. I might have pushed for Crowley but I think Boyle’s performance v Cork and in the first game v Kerry give him the nod. I don’t think Boyle will get one though

  4. Cillian will definitely get one AM don’t worry

    Gonna have to (very very reluctantly) jump into that big gobshite’s corner though

    He won them the All Ireland imo. Both in the two games vs ourselves and the final. Whatever you think of him he’s a bloody handful. I feel he’s had some howlers over the years and has been very overrated at times but I’ve no doubt his impact was phenomenal this year

  5. Well what’s an All Star of then? Playing 2.5games well or being a consistent player over the while season. It’s all bollox and it wouldn’t be the first time Mayo were shafted, Kevin Mc springs to mind

  6. I’d say we are a good shout for 3 awards willie joe. We drew our semi so had effectively 2 matches that matter as opposed to Dublin’s one where our players were on display. As we all know there awards are based almost exclusively on all Ireland semis and finals. Beaten all Ireland finalists will not get 5 awards either, particularly if Ryan mc Hugh picks up YPOTY too. Don’t think we have ever received 5 all star awards after losing an all Ireland final (bar maybe 96, and that was a replay). So Donegal will be very fortunate to get 5 in my opinion. I’d go 6, 4, 3 and 2 for Kerry, Donegal, Mayo and Dublin respectively. Higgins, Cillian and Boyle for me!

  7. If Ciaran Donaghy gets an all star I think the least he should do is send James Horan a thank you card. He failure to deal with him both days would be the only reason he would get one.

  8. Very harsh all right on Whelan there WJ. Tomas O’Sé’s pick is laughable and shows that while you can be a great player, you can also be a poor analyst. But Whelan’s team is close to spot on other than McCarthy which might show a slight bias coming through.

    CO’C and Higgins are nailed on for Mayo WJ. I also think Flynn and Connolly are certs, which means no All Star for Ryan McHugh but as you say, he’ll get YPOTY. Crowley will get the no.6 ahead of Boyle but (maybe biased) I think Boyle had a better year.

    That’s 6 Kerry (O’Mahoney, Crowley, Murphy, Moran, O’Donoghue, Donaghy) 5 Donegal (Durkan, McGee, McGlynn, Gallagher, Murphy) 2 Dublin (Flynn, Connolly) and 2 Mayo (Higgins, O’Connor).

  9. Ryan mc Hugh was useless in the all Ireland final and was in the dug out after 40 minutes, after spending the game up to then in Paul Murphy’s pocket. Young player of the year yes, no qualms about that, he had a great season up to that. But no way should he get an all star. No mayo player would ever receive an all star if he was taken off in an all Ireland final that’s for sure. If Cillian doesn’t get one its a joke. The fact that he was unlucky not to get one last year either will count in his favour and therefore he should get one.

  10. I’d say GBXI’s team there will be the exact one

    Lads Donaghy will get one I reckon, and in my opinion anyway it’s fully deserved. But for him they would not have won an All Ireland, wouldn’t even have made a final. Ye’s I find him a despisable so-and-so but have to hand it to him, he’s some player

    Yes we didn’t deal with him well enough but that’s bizarre reasoning. You could argue no-one dealt properly with O’Donoghue, O’Connor, Connolly etc etc all year. The fact that they cleaned most guys they were on is more often than not a reflection on them than the guy that was on him

  11. Do you think Cillian’s red card in the semi will hurt him? I think it might, unjust but would be the excuse to award both Murphy and star.

  12. Sure Tomas O She pick is lunacy altogether, For me Cluxton is the best No1 we have ever seen in gaelic football, sure he’s not perfect, throw’s the very odd wobbly (against Mayo thankfully) but overall the best, he has raised the bar so much that the goalkeeper is now pivotal. I think our own Robbie Hennelly is the next best and in fact I think he’s better than Cluxton was at the same age, so not this time Robbie but in the future for sure!The Kerry keeper, not deserving of a nomination, and people are having sympathy for Durcan, you just cant make a mistake like that and deserve an allstar. Its unlikely that Aiden will get a gong, but he sure would only for the reffing of Cormac Reilly against both Cork and Kerry, open season it was on Big Aiden and protected species on Big Kieran. For me like many other posters its Kieth, Colm and the one and only Cillian for Mayo, Dohanhy not in my book, bad sportsman ie kicking all the balls away behind Robbie’ Hennelly’s goal with impunity in Limrick diving and feigning injury, Gifted a goal by Durcan in the final, plus We (Mayo) made a bad job of marking him! Player of the year by a mile is Diarmod Connolly, YPTY Ryan McHugh now that Cillian is the big age of 22 years. Its always interesting and a bit like politics Regional balance pretence. If the best 15 were to get awards Aiden O Shea and Stephen Cluxton would be there, but I just cant see it happening. I think Donal Vaughan will get nominated which if he does will be his third nomination, don’t think he will get an award either Ok maybe he’s a small bit short of deserving an allstar award, but he sure is a hell of allot better than any of the likely Two from the Kindom that will I’d say. Hopefully next year we will get 7 or 8!

  13. Connolly is my foty by the way, quite simply the best footballer in Ireland in my opinion. The guy oozes class- and even when his team were under the cosh against Donegal he took them on himself. Great sign of a player

    Himself JOD and Paul Murphy my nominations

    Young footballer I’d nominate McHugh (winner), Shane Walsh and cormac Costello

  14. @Ciaran Connolly might well be the most naturally talented player in Ireland, and was superb against Dongeal, never gave up, but how can you have him as POTY ahead of O’Donoghue? O’Donoghue ran riot in every game bar the final, where he did a job for the team. Connolly fails to turn up in too many games and he has some absolute stinkers that you would hardly expect from a junior player. This has been his best year in a Dublin jersey but he certainly wasn’t as effective or important as James O’Donoghue this year.

  15. theres a great piece about brian cody on yesterdays irish times. until we actually shake ourselves enough to lose the mentality of runner up we are going to continue as runner up, thats what hes saying i think. cillian o connor and co have the look of winner about them i think, if only they can rub it off onto other panel members and start winning soon, we can become kerry or kilkenny.

  16. @Anne-Marie

    If there were All-Star Awards for Post of the year, on this site, then I’d be voting for your above Post, its very funny and brought a big smile to my face anyway!

  17. Shane walsh for ypoty Ryan mchugh was good only against dublin I think his point against against tipp can swing it for him remember jack mc got it last year s walsh could do something similar this year too.

  18. GBXI it’s just a personal preference really!

    To be fair I watched a sh1tload of him all year so probably skews it a bit, and I know league and club don’t count but still as I say it’s my preference- I don’t give out the award luckily

    It was a fairly tight call on the Sunday Game between the 2 aswell I recall a few panelists going for Connolly, I don’t think there’s much in it at all.

  19. Cait Shane Walsh has a lot to prove at senior level yet. Against ourselves and Kerry he was fairly poor, I know he’s young but McHugh certainly had a better all round year

    He looked very good against the “smaller teams” but he needs a year or two before he’s the real deal I’d say

    That point v Tipp was top class though!

    You’re right though Jack Mc was daft last year and I’m not convinced Cillian was at all deserving the year before so there is precedent for “upsets”

  20. I go for Connolly as player of the year cause of the goal against monoghan and those points against donegal he a great player better the b brogan I don’t know what dubs fans say to that.

  21. If Donaghy gets one and Cillian doesn’t then I will be convinced Cormac Reilly has all the votes. Cillian was close to MoM in every game and if we beat Kerry in replay he might have got that one as well. Expect Cillian, and Keith for certain. Boyle has a good chance and AOS an outside chance. Think Dubs deserve more than 1 as they were the best team in country. True they had one bad 40 mins but otherwise outstanding. Think Connolly was best player, outstanding for his club and excellent for county

  22. Couldn’t give two f#%@s about the all stars to be honest. All I care about are our boys winning celtic crosses…what’s another year…!! :'(

  23. Donaghy an all star? Heel probably get one but i agree with some of the posts. He can thank our handling of him if he does.

  24. Changing the subject who will win county final can’t wait for it. Are the bar favs for it.

  25. I think Cillian’s red card could be the undoing of his All Star chances alright. Does anybody know what penalty he got? Was it described as kicking or attempting to kick with force or with minimal force? And does the penalty carry forward into next season or next season’s championship? Otherwise he should be a shoo in for an All Star.
    I would be amazed if Big Arse, to quote Anne Marie, gets an All Star after two and a bit games including a present of an open goal chance in the final where otherwise he was not terribly effective. AOS and Higgins should also be shoo ins with Boyle also having an excellent chance Cluxton would be my choice for goalkeeper as Durcan’s blunder in the final effectively buried Donegal’s chances. However I don’t think any of the Mayo players will be too concerned with winning an all Star or not this year. It’s not the award they want.

  26. id give cormac reilly an allstar for being thebiggest boloxof a refin livinghistory,he could give it to big arse i hedoesnt get one

  27. I heard this morning for a very good source that Donegal are trying to convince James Horan to put his name forward for the Donegal job .

  28. Cannot see Donegal going for an outsider at this stage. Even less would it be possible for James to take the job and continue in his day job.
    But Sligo releasing Pat Flanagan is interesting. I don’t think that Kevin McStay would go for it – but Liam MacHale?? Maybe not as manager but as coach with a Sligo manager?
    Sligo must have something up their sleeve – or was it that Flanagan was hoping for a better option and they lost patience waiting for his decision.

  29. I’d be surprised big time if James horan even looked at managing a team again in a long time. What could possibly top his run with Mayo? Apart from winning Sam, not much and he doesn’t seem the type to just go along for the crack, so donegal is not going to happen.

  30. Congrats to Ballyhaunis on winning the county intermediate final after a tough and tight encounter with Hollymount this afternoon.

  31. Higgins and O Connor will win an All Star it would be hard to make a shout for anyone else. We will fare better next year. Mayo need to be ruthless like their own County board. Keith and Cillian will fully deserve their All Star honour. If Mayo don’t know now for full sure what they have left behind time and recent time again, well then we will never learn.

  32. James Horan now favourite to took over at Donegal? Bizarre! Anyway can’t see it happening!

  33. WTF is going on, Boylesports have slashed Horans odds from 33/1 to 11/4 fav, there is something to that surely.

  34. Bananas stuff. Maybe someone was reading Mayo/Meath Man’s post at the weekend 😉
    Can’t see it happening. If it does, I will literally eat my jersey

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