Four All-Stars for us

This year’s football All-Stars were announced earlier on this morning and we’ve got four players – Keith Higgins, Ger Cafferkey, Lee Keegan and Alan Dillon – on the chosen fifteen. The full 2012 team – which features eight lads from Donegal, two from Cork and one from Dublin as well as our quartet – is here.

I said when the nominations came out a few weeks back that if we got four players on this year’s team we’d be doing okay so in overall terms I think we’ve been fairly represented. Keith Higgins was, I reckon, our only shoo-in nominee and who we got in the other positions was always going to depend on the overall shake-up.

Donegal’s enormous haul of eight – generous but probably deserved, you’d have to say – obviously put great pressure on the remaining positions and the need to accommodate the two beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists meant that we were never going to get more than four. And that, in turn, meant that a few of our lads were going to end up without a slot on the team when the music stopped.

Chief amongst those who can feel really hard done by is Kevin McLoughlin, our stand-out forward this year and the man that I think all of us expected to make the final fifteen. In the end it appears to have come down to a choice between the Knockmore man and Alan Dillon and, for my money, they picked the wrong man. Alan had a super season – he was particularly outstanding against Dublin – but so too did Kevin, who, crucially, was far more prominent than Alan was in the All-Ireland final. That should, I reckon, have been the decisive factor in choosing between them.

Barry Moran can also feel a bit miffed not to make the team, especially when he sees that Cork’s Aidan Walsh has. Walsh is a great talent but when his team really needed him – in the second half against Donegal – he played in an utterly self-indulgent way, ballooning a number of shots wide and generally failing to do what a good midfielder needed to do for his team. It wasn’t an All-Star performance and it’s a bit of a joke that he’s ended up as one when Big Barry’s more understated, steady performances were a far better representation of what a top-class centre-fielder should be all about.

David Clarke is also slightly unlucky to lose out – not least given his save of the season from Bernard Brogan in the semi-final – but Donegal’s Paul Durcan was always odds-on to get the ‘keeper’s place on the team. It’s great that the wider world has finally woken up to our man’s existence and hopefully he’ll be up there again challenging for this place on the team twelve months from now.

It’s great to see Ger Cafferkey’s solid season at full-back being recognised and great too to see how Ger has steadily improved over the last few years to become such an important player for us. For years we bemoaned the fact that no worthy successor to Kevin Cahill had appeared and this year proved beyond doubt that Ger has taken on this mantle. It’s a well deserved award for him.

I’m also delighted to see Lee Keegan – in his first full year as a regular inter-county player – get the nod in the half-back line. I’m a huge fan of the Westport man, who in a few short months this year has established himself as one of our most important players, and it’s great to see that his barnstorming displays this year – which weren’t limited to his storming performance in the final itself – meant that he proved impossible for the judges to ignore. I was worried that his absence for much of the All-Ireland semi-final might count against him but thankfully it didn’t.

In summary, four All-Stars is a fair reflection of our season but, as is always the case with these awards, there’s sure to be plenty of heated debate about some of the individual positions, including who should have got the four that we ended up with. Congrats to all those who did and commiserations to those – in particular the truly unfortunate Kevin McLoughlin – who didn’t.

The awards will be presented tomorrow night, when the hurling All-stars will be announced live, and it’s then too that we’ll see if Cillian O’Connor manages to bag the YPOY award for the second year running. Best of luck to Cillian in that one too.

35 thoughts on “Four All-Stars for us

  1. Congratulations to our 4 All-Stars, all well deserved for the year that they have put in. I must say, though, that it is a crying shame that Kevin McLoughlin has been left off the team. I think he was our most consistent performer all summer and definitely should have been rewarded with an All-Star.

  2. First All Star for Westport G.A.A. Congratulations Lee, well done. I agree Barry Moran unlucky also Kevin McLoughlin, Mayo will be there again in 2013 where Barry, Kevin, Aidan , Cillian and Andy will join the All Stars.

  3. Well I’ve never held too much importance on the All-Stars and in-particular the way they are judged. They’re obviously a nice recognition for the players involved, so well done to our 4 lads. But I completley give up on them now. How can McLoughlin not get an all-star? He should have been in the running for player of the year, never mind an all star. And when you look back on how the selection committee like to shoe horn players in to unfamiliar positions just so they get a spot, surely a player as versatile as McLoughlin could have been accomodated somewhere?
    Agree also about Moran, it seems he was the victim of them wanting to spread the awards around the semi finalists.

  4. Maybe McLoughlin will continue to be under-rated by opposition teams (and journalists) next year on his way to picking up the POTY award after helping Mayo win the AI. We live in hope! Agree completely with Dan above about Moran being a victim of wanting to give all semi-finalists an award. a cop-out.

  5. Poor McLoughlin must be wondering what he has to do to get recognised. Whoever chose this 15 without him in it must know nothing about the game, i.e directors or directors wives or “hangers on”. Also wrong goalkeeper selected. Luckily these awards are of little or no importance these days and should be phased out completely. Lost all credibility years ago.

  6. Wasn’t far wrong with my October 3rd prediction.

    Paul Durcan
    Neil McGee (Donegal); Ger Cafferkey Keith Higgins
    Lee Keegan Karl Lacey (Donegal); Frank McGlynn (Donegal)
    Neil Gallagher (Donegal); Aidan Walsh (Cork)
    Mark McHugh (Donegal); Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin); Kevin McLoughlin
    Colm McFadden (Donegal); Michael Murphy (Donegal); Colm O’Neill (Cork)

    Can’t believe McLoughlin din’t get one.

  7. Pity the players union went under the umbrella of Croke park, they used to pick their own All stars, McLoughlin would have got his with them. By not picking McLoughlin they are completly undermined, with a few thrown in for long service and all the other shite the GAA revels in.

  8. Well Folks i hope you are all very well , i have not been on the site since our loss and will take the next few days to go through all your thoughts and posts. I was lucky enough to be able to head off around america for the last 4 weeks on my honeymoon and enjoyed it.

    But now we are back , Barry Moran can feel justifiably aggrieved in my opinion.

    It is all about our match in Salthill now , we will look forward to the FBD and to the league as well as preparation. For my part i will be trying to recruit more people to the Cairde Mhaigheo here in london over the next three months. If any of you are interested please get in touch and likewise if you have family members or friends over here in the UK.

    To quote Teddy Kennedy “the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

  9. What’s probably more important is the number of nominations we got. If we agree that nominated players are among the best in the country, then we can see how far some players have come, though their own hard work, and the way James Horan and the management team have brought them on.

    For example, Barry Moran got a nomination; last year he was dropped from the panel, but worked his way back this year and worked his way back again after the league final. Colm Boyle: finally made no 7 his own only this year. Davy Clarke: could not get his place last year. Aidan O’Shea: at the start of last year many wondered if he would remain on the panel.

    Five of our defenders (Clarke, Caff, Higgins, Keegan and Boyle) are considered among the best in the country. Not bad if you think of the horror show in Croke Park against Dublin in the league in March 2011, when we shipped four goals in the first 15 minutes or so.

    So, the question is: can the management develop a number of players further? They will have to bring in some, who are quite capable of being nominees next year – Kilcoyne springs to mind. But, others may have to go, players who are talented and who would thrive in other circumstances but who just don’t fit the pattern now and they way Horan and co want them to play.

    Or, maybe they too can change and prove us all wrong, as some of this years nominees have done!

  10. Willie Joe, must say your comments are a bit disappointing, for your money to say they picked the wrong person is a bit lazy don’t you agree – are u from Mayo ?. Would you not agree both deserved there All-Star. I think you’re the only person who didn’t think Dillon deserved one. Pat Spilliane, Liam Hayes, Darragh O Se & The Sunday Game all registered that Dillon is an AllStar 2012, where does that leave you.

    Dillon was without doubt our most consistent and dangerous forward in both league and championship 2012. I feel he outshone Kevin over the course of the championship (Excellent v Leitrim, Sligo, Down and Dublin) & off course Donegal targeted him why wouldn’t they so much they double teamed him at most opportunity, but 1st half was majorly involved. Crucial moments in that game (missed frees, handling errors from our inside line and the second goal of the post) cost us not Dillon’s promiences or McLoughlins, both worked their asses off. Accept it or not WJ time to pipe down.

    Congratulations to Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins and Lee Keegan top marks for your first allstar.

  11. Fair enough, onetheball, but it’s just my opinion which on my site I think I’m entitled to air (without, by the way, someone like you telling me to pipe down so watch your language in future). I’m not saying Alan didn’t deserve one, just that if it was a choice between him and Kevin I’d have picked Kevin. But then I wasn’t picking so it doesn’t really matter. I felt (correctly as it turned out) that we’d end up with four so disappointment on some level was going to happen – it’d have been great for Alan and Kevin to get one and Barry and David too but we were never going to get that many.

  12. This post comes with a warning if you are “Remember 51” Don’t read:
    Targeted or not, when it mattered most in the All Ireland final Alan Dillion was nowhere to be seen, on the otherhand McLoughlin stood up and played Mayo back into the game. McLoughlin deserved one on the basis of all his performances this year, particularly the last two games. Higgins is a class act and is wasted at corner back should be centre back a position where Mayo are midlan.

  13. Well done to the four lads, and a few more can feel hard done by. But 4 or 5 was all we were ever going to get. What is interesting for me is that 3 backs got them, Boyle and Clarke were not far of the mark also, I believe. Proving that the selection committee think our backs are our strongest asset.

    Midfield is still a problem area, the first 10 mins v Donegal and when MBMA when midfield for Dublin we were in real trouble. Barry needs another 5% improvement IMO, and Aiden tends to need a while to settle into games. This won’t win AI’s, and hopefully Buckley and co can aid us in this respect.

    The forwards is a much bigger problem IMO. We are very predictable, balls up the line to corner forwards, and diagional runs from Andy from FF are our main attacking weopons. These draw the defence out and runs from half backs/forwards into this space gets us scores.
    We need at least two new strings to our bow in 2013. Such as a big man in FF line knocking downs balls to Cillian, Doc , Varley, Conroy or who ever. I was very disapointed when AOS went in FF in AI. Himself and Freeman jumped at least twice for the same ball, ending up tackling each other. Was this practiced on the training ground?

    Another option would be putting Dillon and Mc Loughlin in corner Forward, and bring in more Height/ strenght to half forward line. I’m not talking about a bullock, he need to be as good a ball player as the existing two guys. Do we have such a man.

  14. Kevin McLoughlin is recognised by his own for the player that he is, and that is the most important thing. Recognition by the part-time diplomatic corp observers is secondary.

  15. Looking back Alan Dillon was also better than McLoughlin in the Connacht final. Both deserved All-stars but seeing as only 4 was given and the choice was between the two i think Dillon shaded it. Not sure about Keegan TBH (he didn’t play v the semi final) and Barry Moran was better than Cork Walsh.

  16. Not picking Kevin McLoughlin was simply crazy. He was our best player bar none this year! the judges got this one wrong.

  17. I agree over k mcl hope coc gets player of the year unfortunately he won’t as he won it last year

  18. Ha Ha James And Willie Joe.. Touche. Apologies for last post. Didnt mean to be that sharp. Thats what happens when you post in the early hours.
    Delighted for Keith and agree with you that he should be tried at CB in league. Think we have good cover at cornor back. Kevin is an all star and everyone in Mayo thinks so. That will have to do this year.
    Alan was not his brilliant best in All Ireland but think he deserves one as well. Ballintubber fell apart when he went off last Sunday. Would like to see him in cornor forward in league.

  19. Delighted for the boys but Kevin should be in.

    I seen in the Mayo News that PJ Monaghan that contributes here was being criticised by the County Secretary. I know our club got PJs e mail and it said alot more than was said in the paper and deserved more attention. I dont know if PJ wants to elaborate – I’m sure he still visits here. PJ did deserve more respect than Padraig Duffy or Kevin O’Toole seem to be giving him.

  20. Congrats to the 4 winners but what a whopper of an omission. Kevin Mc would have been my 1st choice. Then again for all the hype the allstars are a load of political nonsense.

  21. Congratulations to all 4 mayo players on picking up their awards, well deserved. Kevin mc can feel hard done by, but based on previous years and the manner of our final defeat, 4 awards was the max we could expect. Whether they selected the 4 best mayo players is another thing entirely and a matter for lively debate! Aidan Walsh was the strangest selection IMO, had a pretty ordinary year, definitely a media darling. Alan Dillon had a bad final yes, but he was in the running for player of the year before the game, so he had to be selected. He’s also been the most consistent player in a mayo shirt for the last 10 years and is not respected enough for his footballing ability, especially outside mayo. There is not a team in Ireland that he would not walk onto, I dont care what anyone says.
    I wouldn’t bet against him becoming the first mayo player to win 3 all stars, and I bet none of his critics would either. Someone should ask the dubs what they think of him, given that he ran the show against them in both 2006 and 2012 all Ireland semi finals.

  22. Well said Aussie, Dillon is very under-rated by a lot of Mayo supporters. When you watch him at club level you can see he’s miles ahead of everyone else.

  23. Dillon is a legend. He has been our best forward of the last 20/30 years and always shows up on the big day. Alot like James Horan in that way.

    Stone Cold I heard about that mail and was reading about it in the papers. Apparently every club in the county got one. Presume it has something to do with the Strategic Review and all that. Anybody read it?

  24. I totally agree with Aussie Exile’s comments re; Alan Dillon, he has been our , ‘ Marque’ player, not alone this year, but for the last number of years. He was pinpointed, by Jimmy McGuinness, in the final, for extra attention, why was this, he obviously could see his importance to our team, after watching him during the year and especially in the semi final, where McGuinness could sit back in Croke Parke and analise our game in the full knowledge that Donegal were already in the final.
    I have been an admirer of Alan Dillons football ability down through the years and like other great Mayo former great Players, he won’t be fully appreciated until we try to replace him, after he retires.
    I also think that Kevin Mcloughlin deserved his All Star, Hope we can stay injury free during the league, we are playing the best teams in the Country and lets hope we go toe to toe with them, expecting to win, all our games, playing nice or ugly, which ever is needed.

  25. Not sure Barry Moran was as good as people are making out. Caught some good ball in 1st half againt Down but faded after that.
    Caught two balls all game against Dublin and was pretty poor IMO against Donegal as they won the midfield battle.
    Not sure he is the long term partner for AOS to be honest.

  26. Jeez the sooner the FBD starts the better. The place is gone all smaltzy and gooey. That All Ireland final beating has done more damage top us than I ever thought. If our aim is to have players become the first Mayo men to win three All Stars then god help us. I would swop the effing lot of them for a single Minor, U21, club All ireland title.

    All Stars that can omit the single reason that we didn’t drown in the All Ireland final thanks to McLoughlin refusing to be cowed, are a joke. Peter Burke, Dave Brady, Kevin Cahill, Noel Connelly and Trevor never won them and we can add McLoughlin to that pile now.

  27. all stars are the tiny strand of the comfort blanket you cling to john after the hopes have been dashed , The FBD is the new ray of hope rising in the morning through the clouds and scuttery january weather , you are dead right , Bring it on !!!

  28. Whats peoples opinion on who should get trials and get a chance to impress in the FBD, without any BIAS please.

  29. O’Connor named young player of the year (not many would have expected that lncluding himself) Was said tonight Alan Dillon got MOTM v Dublin,Down and i also thought himself and Barry Moran were our best players in the Connacht final.

    Those that said Kevin Mcloughlin should have got All-star instead of Dillon should think again.

  30. I see that Patriot is not a great fan of all that drama in The All Star Awards Show and wants to cut to the chase of the upcoming much more important FBD.
    Incidentally are we going to be allowed compete in the competition ? … I thought we were going to be kicked out for being non travellers recently !
    I have to say I’m with the Patriot on this one.
    As regards 2013 we need to find a further 5/6 players and we are going to need a few positional tweaks as well. I am not saying that we need 5/6 new starting players but we do need them in the panel either starting or applying huge pressure on the starters.
    We lost Campbell & Harte to injury this year. We lost Mort to a walkout & Kilcoyne to emigration. Are they coming back ? Is the slate going to be wiped clean for the new year ?
    We need to look at some youngsters up front … I’m talking about O’Shea the Third, Kirby, Coen & Regan. Could we think about developing one of these in the role Tommy Walsh used to play for Kerry a few years back ?
    Should we think about relocating AOS at 11 so as to free midfield space for Gibbons & SOS? Should we move Higgins to the half backs and try someone else at corner back?
    These are the great questions & I believe James needs to revert to his earlier policy of significant change from game to game not just in the FBD but in the League as well.
    If we proceed solely with the current personnel I believe we will come up just short again and we’ll be having the same discussion this time next year.
    I believe we know at this stage what the likes of Dillon can do & would be better off finding out what a few newcomers can do. Anybody have any thoughts on this ?
    Onwards & Upwards.

  31. Your right Joey i had litle interest in the all star awards show. Its hard to have interest when the all star team is disclosed to the publicprior to the players getting the award. My mind was on the U21 championship in mchale park. Castlebar beat claremorris easily and Ballintubber beat Hollymount/Carramore in a close encounter, without the services of the best young player in the country for the past two years. Another final between the rivals Ballintubber & Mitchels.

    There was alot of good young footballers on show and im hopeful a few of them will wear the county jersey in the future. Diarmaid O Connor, Cillians younger brother looks very decent and dont bet against this lad getting a national award in a few years like his brother! Diarmaid is minor again in 2013 and Cillian is U21 again in 2013. If Mayo and more importantly the clubs keep producing talented young footballers like the O Connors then Mayo football will be in a good place for many years.

  32. Patriot its about time you looked past Ballintubber and one family! Who from Ballaghadereen should be there? Who from the Mitchells u21 will get a look in as well? Leave your club loyalties aside because there are players like Kilcoyne from Knockmore who definitely should get a look in. How come when you play most teams you try not to give away a free inside 45 but yet in the All Ireland man we hadnt one consistent free taker. Time to find one and a forward or 2 along with Andy to come back in

    On the topic of All stars I’ll back WJ up and say that while it was great that the 4 lads got them I still think Clarke, McLoughlin and Moran were consistent over the whole season and were the most consistent of all in the championship. Clarke saved our asses in the semi and from going 10 down in the final. And he put in some great performances all year.

    We fell apart when McLoughlin went off in the semi, and was a great ball winner all year.

    And as for facetheballs comments, if you remember the Sligo match we had our arses to the wall for much of it and only pulled through by 2 and Moran was the powerhorse that day, he kicked a vital point in the Dublin game and won ball when we needed ball won, and I do believe he won more ball than Gallagher in the final, particularly from kickouts.

    So those 3 lads were definitely also in contention. Anyway not begrudging the lads that got them! LEts hope to see those 3 I just mentioned get them, with the others and some other faces like Colm Boyle and you’d never know who else. UP MAYO

  33. Lads – I think a lot of you are overrating McLaughlin. Take off the blinkers and think for a minute. Himself and Dillon were never both going to get all stars (seeing as we were well beaten in the final) and over the course of the championship Dillon was the better player. McLaughlin had a shocking first 15 mins in the All Ireland Final and he wasn’t hugely influential in the second half. He was only good for 15-20 mins in the second quarter of the final. Don’t get me wrong – McLoughlin had great yr but I can see why he wasn’t given an all star. Delighted caff got one. I didn’t rate him when he started playing for Mayo but he has improved immensely and was our best player this year.

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