Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Joe Kernan: GAA club servants deserve to shine like stars too

This is the time of year when the Allstar hurlers and footballers enjoy their respective safaris to exotic locations, a deserved reward for their endeavours at inter-county level over the past season.

Next to winning an All-Ireland medal, the conferring of an Allstar accolade is the highest honour a player can get at national level.

Yet one aspect of the Allstars concept continues to puzzle me. Why are such awards merely limited to inter-county players?

I see no reason why the scheme could not be broadened to embrace club players.

Over the course of recent years there have been many outstanding club players who would have been worthy of Allstars.

I am thinking here of the McEntee twins John and Tony, Aaron Kernan and Paul Hearty (all Crossmaglen Rangers), Conleith Gilligan (Ballinderry), Frankie Dolan (St Brigid’s Roscommon) and Kevin McGourty (St Gall’s).

These are just some of the players who I feel have not been fully recognised within the game. They are faithful servants to their clubs and invariably step up to the plate on big occasions to deliver the goods.

I think too of John (Shorty) Treanor whose sublime finishing skills had much to do with Burren’s double All-Ireland club triumph in 1986 and 1988.

Here was a player who was imbued with a rare talent and would certainly have been splendid Allstar material.

His creative skills, sweet left foot and ability to oversee an attacking strategy not only saw him earn club honours but also gained him county recognition.

Obviously Allstars are not within the gambit of everyone but it would certainly be a form of encouragement to club players if they were to be included in the net.

It was most encouraging from an Ulster perspective to see Antrim hurler Liam Watson in the hurling squad that has spent the past week in San Francisco.

He has shown himself to be a quality player and the fact he was recognised by the Allstar selectors will give him a lift — and do Loughgiel’s chances in their forthcoming All-Ireland club hurling semi-final no harm at all.

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