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Ace Donnelly points way for Ulster with second All-Star

By Declan Bogue

Published 03/11/2016

Matthew Donnelly picks up his second consecutive All-Star
Matthew Donnelly picks up his second consecutive All-Star

All-Ireland champions Dublin lead the charge in the 2016 football All-Stars, with six of Jim Gavin's side making the final selection. Ulster kings Tyrone, meanwhile, gain two All-Stars. Midfielder Matthew Donnelly picks up his second consecutive award, while Peter Harte collects his first All-Star after making his Championship debut for the Red Hands back in 2010, coming on as a sub against Antrim.

Elsewhere, beaten finalists Mayo have four players represented, while Tipperary and Munster champions Kerry - who both reached the All-Ireland semi-finals - are awarded one each.

The positioning of All-Stars has become something of a hot topic in recent years, as the roles of players in the half-forward and half-back lines have become much more fluid in the modern era.

For example, in the Ulster final, Harte lined out at wing-half back for the throw-in. His direct opponent was Ryan McHugh of Donegal, who kicked three points from play in the first period.

And yet Harte is named on the team as a half-forward, with McHugh earning his first All-Star as wing half-back and taking UIster's representation to three. Kilcar man McHugh, at 22, emulates his brother Mark (2012) and father Martin, who won his first All-Star in 1983 and his second nine years later in 1992 when Donegal won their first All-Ireland title.

Ryan also claimed the Young Player of the Year award in 2014, when Donegal were beaten in the All-Ireland final by Kerry.

The McHughs are now only the second family within the GAA to have a father and two sons as All-Stars, after the Brogans with Bernard senior and junior, and Alan.

Another man to have emulated his father is Dean Rock, the Dublin corner-forward who finished as top scorer in the Championship with 1-58 over seven matches.

His father Barney won All-Stars in 1983, '84 and '85.

Other father-son All-Star combinations include Tyrone's Frank and Brian McGuigan, Kerry's Kennelly family (father Tim, son Tadgh), the Morans (father Denis 'Ogie', son David), the Earleys (father Dermot senior with Roscommon, son Dermot with Kildare), the McCaffreys of Dublin (father Noel, son Jack), Pat and Paddy Reynolds of Meath, and the O'Neills (father Liam with Galway, son Kevin of Mayo).

There are a number of first-time All-Stars. David Clarke of Mayo - despite being dropped for the drawn All-Ireland final - claims his first after being on the county panel since 2001.

In his third season on the Mayo panel, Brendan Harrison claims his first award. Johnny Cooper of Dublin is alongside him, taking over the full-back position and All-Star award from Rory O'Carroll last year.

It is a first All-Star for Ulstermen Harte and McHugh, and also for the aforementioned Rock, while lone Kerryman Paul Geaney will also be getting his shoes shined for the main event.

Michael Quinlivan becomes only the second All-Star footballer from Tipperary with his selection at full-forward. The only other man from the Premier county to have been recognised by the scheme is Declan Browne, who collected two in a career spent living off scraps in Munster.

With six counties represented, it is the greatest spread among the counties since the 2010 season.

In the list of overall All-Stars, Tyrone's two awards draws them level with Armagh on 24, a figure Donegal also reach, edging the north-west neighbours ahead of illustrious traditional footballing counties Down and Galway, who are both on 23.

The All-Stars ceremony will take place tomorrow in Dublin's Convention Centre, with live coverage on RTÉ from 7pm.

This year, the hurling team will be announced live on the night.

The shortlist for Footballer of the Year sees Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin nominated along with Mayo's Lee Keegan. This is voted by members of the Gaelic Player's Association.

The Young Player of the Year award will be contested by Diarmuid O'Connor of Mayo and Tipperary duo Jimmy Feehan and Josh Keane.

Abu Dhabi is the venue for the All-Stars tour this year, with the travelling party heading off on November 23.

An exhibition game will be played between the 2016 and 2015 All-Star teams, at a suitable venue and time to be confirmed, with GAA representatives concerned about the daytime heat in the United Arab Emirates and the dangers of dehydration.

In hurling, Antrim have a healthy representation on the Christy Ring Champion 15. Simon McCrory, Eoghan Campbell and Ciaran Clarke are all included.

They are joined by John McManus and Caolan Taggart of Down, as well as Derry's Oisin McCloskey.

In the Nicky Rackard Champion 15, there is Ulster representation in the shape of Armagh's Cahal Carvill, Ciaran Clifford and Declan Coulter.

Danny Cullen of Donegal, Ryan Bogue of Fermanagh, Monaghan's Connor McKenna and Tyrone captain Damian Casey are also included.

David CLARKE

Mayo

 

JOHNNY COOPER

Dublin

 

BRIAN FENTON

Dublin

 

MATTHEW

DONNELLY

Tyrone

 

COLM BOYLE

Mayo

 

BRENDAN

HARRISON

Mayo

 

LEE KEEGAN

Mayo

 

PHILLY McMAHON

Dublin

 

RYAN McHUGH

Donegal

 

DIARMUID

CONNOLLY

Dublin

 

PETER HARTE

Tyrone

 

CIARAN KILKENNY

Dublin

 

MICHAEL

QUINLIVAN

Tipperary

 

DEAN ROCK

Dublin

 

PAUL GEANEY

Kerry

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