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GPA selection a major snub for provincial champions

By John Campbell

The four provincial champions have drawn a blank on the Opel GPA football Team of the Year for 2010.

The team, which will be honoured at a gala banquet in Citywest tonight, contains five players from defeated All-Ireland finalists Down and just three from champions Cork.

Just 10 of the players who claimed All Stars last month have doubled up with GPA awards, but it is the complete absence of any player from the quartet of provincial champions — Roscommon, Kerry, Tyrone or Meath — that will raise most eyebrows.

Two provincial winners, Kerry's Colm Cooper and Tyrone's Philip Jordan, made the All Star football selection, but 80 per cent of the GPA team is made up of players from the four teams that reached the All-Ireland semi-finals by the back door, with one each from three of the beaten provincial finalists, Sligo, Limerick and Louth.

In many estimations Jordan was the most consistent and influential half-back of the season, but given the system of selection the GPA adopts, he faced a direct challenge from Cork's Paudie Kissane at left wing-back.

Kissane versus Jordan was always likely to be one of the tightest calls and with a dearth of realistic Cork contenders, Kissane — highly impressive against Kerry, Limerick and Roscommon in the championship —- edged out Jordan.

The reduction of selections from the All-Ireland champions reflects the view that Cork were not nearly as impressive on an individual basis in victory as they were in defeat 12 months earlier.

It also reveals that their strength was as much in their reserves and their ability to hold their nerve in a tight finish.

The GPA football team is selected by players, but the nominations are arranged by a committee of journalists and past players, headed by former Donegal forward Martin McHugh.

It could be the last time that there are two post-championship awards, with speculation that the All Stars and GPA selection will merge from 2011 onwards.

Opel GPA football team of the year: Brendan McVeigh (Down); Charlie Harrison (Sligo), Michael Shields (Cork), Philip McMahon (Dublin); Kevin McKernan (Down), Emmet Bolton (Kildare), Paudie Kissane (Cork); Paddy Keenan (Louth) John Galvin (Limerick); Daniel Hughes (Down), Martin Clarke (Down), John Doyle (Kildare); Daniel Goulding (Cork), Benny Coulter (Down), Bernard Brogan (Dublin).

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