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Ulster GAA stars glitter among elite

By John Campbell

Ten Ulster players have been included in the 45-strong list of GAA/GPA Football Allstar nominees from which the 2011 Allstars team will be chosen.

Not surprisingly, Ulster champions Donegal provide the bulk of the northern contingent with seven players while there are two from Tyrone and one from Derry.

In recent years Ulster has enjoyed a much healthier representation in the Allstars, which are sponsored by Opel, but this time round Dublin and Kerry provide the bulk of the nominees.

The Donegal representatives include Paul Durkan, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn, Karl Lacey, Kevin Cassidy, Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden all of whom were outstanding in their team’s surge to the Division Two National League crown and the Ulster title.

Of this seven, McGee, Lacey and McFadden look to have strong claims for places in the line-up which will be unveiled at a gala banquet in Dublin on October 21.

Tyrone have two players, Joe McMahon and Sean Cavanagh, in the mix. McMahon was as industrious as ever for the Red Hands this year and is currently training with the Ireland squad in preparation for the International Rules series against Australia.

Cavanagh, who is recovering from injury, was again the essence of consistency for Tyrone this year and ended up scoring 2-12 in the championship series which put him in 12th position in the overall list of top scorers.

Cavanagh’s versatility has underscored most of Tyrone’s process in the recent past and although he is presently recovering from injury he has already indicated that Mickey Harte’s side will be very keen to re-claim their provincial crown next year.

Derry’s sole representative is Eoin Bradley who is nominated despite having missed portion of the year through suspension before succumbing to a serious injury earlier in the summer.

The fact that Bradley is included emphasises the part he played in bringing Derry into the Ulster final in their first year under John Brennan.

Dublin provide twelve of the nominees with goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton along with half-back Kevin Nolan and forward Bernard Brogan looking certain to make the team.

Kerry offer nine players and not unexpectedly players like Darran O’Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy and Colm Cooper will be strong candidates to make the team’s forward line.

“Their inclusion on this list is recognition of the excellent campaigns they had and the contribution they made to our championship this year,” declared GAA President Christy Cooney.

And GPA official, Dessie Farrell also chipped in with a generous tribute to the nominees.

“The coming together of the GPA and GAA Football awards this year is a reflection of the strengthening partnership between both Associations,” said Farrell. “It was a wonderful and dramatic football championship and we’re all looking forward to seeing the final GAA GPA Football All-Stars team selection.”

The Player of the Month award winners from May to September were also confirmed and they are: May: Ben Brosnan (Wexford); June: Alan Brogan (Dublin); July: Karl Lacey (Donegal); August: Colm Cooper (Kerry); September: Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry).

All-Star Nominees

Goalkeepers

Brendan Kealy (Kerry)

Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

Paul Durkan (Donegal)

Full Backs

Michael Foley (Kildare)

Neil McGee (Donegal)

Frank McGlynn (Donegal)

Marc Ó Sé (Kerry)

Rory O'Carroll (Dublin)

Tom O'Sullivan (Kerry)

Joe McMahon (Tyrone)

Hugh McGrillen (Kildare)

Cian O'Sullivan (Dublin)

Half backs

Karl Lacey (Donegal)

Donal Vaughan (Mayo)

Trevor Mortimer (Mayo)

Kevin Nolan (Dublin)

Kevin Cassidy (Donegal)

Emmet Bolton (Kildare)

Tomás Ó Sé (Kerry)

Killian Young (Kerry)

Ger Brennan (Dublin)

Midfielders

Bryan Sheehan (Kerry)

Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin)

Alan O’Connor (Cork)

Seán Cavanagh (Tyrone)

John Doyle (Kildare)

Denis Bastick (Dublin)

Half Forwards

Ben Brosnan (Wexford)

Alan Brogan (Dublin)

Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry)

Declan O’Sullivan (Kerry)

Paul Flynn (Dublin)

Alan Dillon (Mayo)

Kevin McManamon (Dublin)

Paddy Kelly (Cork)

Eamonn Callaghan (Kildare)

Full forwards

Donnacha O’Connor (Cork)

Michael Murphy (Donegal)

Bernard Brogan (Dublin)

Colm Cooper (Kerry)

Andy Moran (Mayo)

Colm McFadden (Donegal)

Eoin Bradley (Derry)

Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)

Cillian O’Connor (Mayo)

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