Seeing as it’s the players who make the final choice (albeit from a shortlist put together on their behalf by a junta of GAA worthies), the GPA’s Team of the Year is usually a more even-headed assessment of who the stand-out performers are in Gaelic football and hurling in any given year than is its journo-based equivalent, the All-Stars. Not this year, though, as the just-announced Football Team comprises 14 players who took part in this year’s All-Ireland final (eight from Kerry, six from Cork) and Kildare’s Dermot Earley.
This is just plain daft. Not only are three of the provincial champions overlooked but so also have been the two beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists. And the one player who manages to break into the Munster love-in comes from a team which failed to win Leinster and then lost at the All-Ireland Quarter-Final stage. Sure, didn’t we do better than that?
Fair enough, you may say – the All-Ireland is where it all counts and so it’s only to be expected that the players who feature in September will also figure highly when awards like this come around. But 14 out of 15? If that’s the case, then why not go the whole hog and reserve all of the places on the so-called Team of the Year (and the All-Stars while they’re at it) for players drawn from the two counties that reach the All-Ireland final each year?