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Debate continues to rage over Canty’s Allstar inclusion

Cork captain Graham Canty was one of the central figures in a TV3 documentary last night which traced his team’s progress to their All Ireland title this year.

But while Canty has in the past proved an inspirational figure in the Rebels line-up, this was not one of his best years in terms of performances because of ongoing injuries and loss of form.

And one of the mysteries of 2010 is just how he managed to win the centre-half-back position on the Vodafone Allstars team in preference to Down’s Kevin McKernan.

Burren clubman McKernan was immense for the Mourne county especially in the matches that really mattered — those stunning All Ireland victories over Kerry and Kildare.

Against Kieran McGeeney’s team, McKernan landed two majestic points as well as underpinning the defence and, by the time he lined out against Cork in the All Ireland decider, he even then looked to be assured of the No 6 shirt on the Allstars team.

As if to further cement his claims to the honour, McKernan lofted over a great point against Conor Counihan’s side but his sterling defensive work could not prevent Down falling by the narrowest of margins (0-16 to 0-15).

McKernan, who captained Abbey CBS Newry to MacRory Cup and Hogan Cup (All Ireland Colleges) glory a few years ago, is already being tipped to emerge as an even more formidable defender in 2011 as the debate continues to rage about just how he missed out on the Allstar award.

Traditionally, the All Ireland champions tend to enjoy a strong representation in the side but this year McKernan was clearly the most consistent centre-half-back in the country.

Canty has given Cork magnificent service but, in terms of performance this year, McKernan was ahead of him.

The sturdy electrical contractor also helped to take his club Burren into the semi-finals of the Ulster Club championship, where they lost to Crossmaglen Rangers.

Last night’s TV documentary captured the excitement, drama and controversy as Cork bridged a 20-year gap to take delivery of ‘Sam’ once again — but their success came at a cost of massive disappointment in Down.

Meanwhile, Down manager James McCartan has included London-based Aidan Carr in his preliminary squad. Injury meant that Aidan, son of former Down boss Ross Carr, was forced to miss most of this year’s campaign but he is keen to return to the side in 2011 as is the experienced Liam Doyle who spent this year completing his rehabilitation following cruciate ligament surgery.

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