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My All-Star picks are dominated by aces from Dubs and Mayo

By Peter Canavan

Picking an All-Star team can be a difficult - and often divisive - task, as most of the journalists involved will tell you. Of course, what they don't need to tell you is how much their selections are guided by what happens in the All-Ireland final, something that many argue make the awards unfair and unbalanced.

The biggest game of the year always has the biggest bearing on the outcome of the annual awards and I honestly believe that's how it should be. No matter what the All-Star critics might say, the two best teams get to the final every year and that's normally because they have the players who have shown the best form.

And even when it comes to picking a team before next week's Sam Maguire decider, there is still no getting away from the claims of Dublin and Mayo footballers. That's why they dominate the team of the summer that I have picked.

I'm sure that plenty of you will pick holes in it, which is fair enough as selecting such teams can be very subjective, but when it comes to the All-Star selection, I don't think there will be too many changes. Mind you, one thing it does reflect - as have recent All-Star teams - is that the qualifiers merit as much recognition as the provincial system.

Another point worth making about this selection of mine is that it is reflective of the modern game, in that numbers and positions have become very fluid indeed.

You don't have an old-style number for a third midfielder or an extra sweeper, but players who carry out these roles to good effect invariably end up on the All-Stars. However, their positioning on the team can spark plenty of debate.

One thing that will never change is the inevitable controversy about those who were 'robbed of an All-Star'.

Among the notable omissions that I have left out are Clare's Gary Brennan, Galway pair Damien Comer and Paul Conroy, Colm Boyle of Mayo, Westmeath's James Dolan, Paul Murphy of Kerry, Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh and Mattie Donnelly, Donegal duo Odhrán Mac Niallais and Ryan McHugh, Dublin's James McCarthy and Tipperary's Michael Quinlivan. Unlucky they may be, but last time I looked you can only put 15 players on a team!

My All-Star team

GOALKEEPER: David Clarke (Mayo)

RIGHT CORNER-BACK: Keith Higgins (Mayo)

FULL-BACK: Jonny Cooper (Dublin)

LEFT CORNER-BACK: Philly McMahon (Dublin)

RIGHT HALF-BACK: Lee Keegan (Mayo)

CENTRE-BACK: Cian O'Sullivan (Dublin)

LEFT HALF-BACK: Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)

MIDFIELDERS: Brian Fenton (Dublin) and Peter Acheson (Tipperary)

RIGHT HALF-FORWARD: Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)

CENTRE-FORWARD: Aidan O'Shea (Mayo)

LEFT HALF-FORWARD: Peter Harte (Tyrone)

RIGHT CORNER-FORWARD: Conor Sweeney (Tipperary)

FULL-FORWARD: Paul Geaney (Kerry)

LEFT CORNER-FORWARD: Kevin McManamon (Dublin)

Belfast Telegraph


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