The GAA/GPA Gaelic football All-Star awards for 2021 were unveiled on RTÉ a bit earlier on this evening. The football awards had none of the shock value of their hurling equivalents in what was an uncontroversial and largely fair selection.
We came away with three All-Stars. Lee Keegan picked up his fifth award, cementing his place as one of the greatest players of this generation and certainly the finest we’ve ever seen in the Green and Red. Mattie Ruane and Ryan O’Donoghue both won an All-Star for the first time.
Our other winner tonight was Oisín Mullin who landed the Young Footballer of the Year award for the second successive year. In doing so he emulated the achievements of both Cillian and Diarmuid O’Connor.
Overall, Tyrone – deservedly – filled their boots, the All-Ireland champions winning eight All-Star awards as well as the Footballer of the Year award. Kieran McGeary beat teammate Conor Meyler as well as Lee Keegan to that prestigious honour.
As well as ourselves, Kerry got a generous enough total of three All-Stars while Dublin picked up the remaining one. Full details on this year’s football awards are here.
From our perspective, three awards from eight nominations is a fair enough return, not least given the underwhelming nature of the team’s display in this year’s All-Ireland final. Personally, I was hoping that, at a minimum, both Lee and Ryan – the two men who really stood up for us in that torrid Sam Maguire decider – would win out and it’s great to see they did. With Mattie and Oisín also picking up awards this is one year where we can be happy to say we got our fair share in the All-Stars.
Congrats to all the players honoured tonight, in particular to our four winners.