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Six-in-a-row champs Dublin are leading the All-Stars charge but Ulster in with a shout with 11 nominees


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Leading light: Dublin midfield ace Brian Fenton is a strong contender to collect the prestigious Player of the Year award

Leading light: Dublin midfield ace Brian Fenton is a strong contender to collect the prestigious Player of the Year award

�INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Leading light: Dublin midfield ace Brian Fenton is a strong contender to collect the prestigious Player of the Year award

Not for the first time in recent years, Dublin names dominate the annual list of PwC GAA All-Star football nominees.

Indeed, only two members of the team that started the All-Ireland final against Mayo last month, Paddy Small and Jonny Cooper, are not included.

It has become par for the course that it's the Dubs who go on to occupy the vast majority of positions on the actual All-Star line-up and it will be very much a case of same again this year.

While due deference has been paid to a Mayo side that fell yet again at the final hurdle, a smattering of Ulster names have made it into this elite assembly, thus reflecting the quality of a provincial Championship that captivated the entire island.

It is certainly encouraging to see Cavan's spectacular feat in winning the Anglo-Celt Cup further rewarded with Raymond Galligan, Ciaran Brady, Padraig Faulkner, Gerard Smith, Thomas Galligan, Gearoid McKiernan and Martin Reilly joining Donegal trio Peadar Mogan, Michael Langan and Ciaran Thompson, along with Armagh's Aidan Forker, in the list of representatives from the northern province.

Mogan in particular has come to the fore in some style of late, his dashing displays adding a fresh dynamic to Donegal's strategy, while Forker has been the epitome of consistency in an Armagh side that gained promotion to Division One in the Allianz League before the wheels came off the wagon in that disastrous showing against Donegal in the Ulster Championship semi-final.

Yet while Dublin's ongoing mastery of the All-Ireland series could well be further extended, All-Star accolades won't just fall into the laps of their players.

Even the much-decorated Dublin skipper Stephen Cluxton faces a very stiff battle for the goalkeeping berth, while the selectors could do a lot worse than hand the full-back slot to Cavan's lion-hearted Faulkner, who has been a tower of strength at the heart of the Breffni County defence.

Of course, there is, as expected, a raft of Dubs shoo-ins, with Brian Fenton, James McCarthy, Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock and Con O'Callaghan expected to amble onto the team, while Mayo's Patrick Durcan and Cillian O'Connor are also likely to make the cut.

It's not often that Kerry's representation is limited to just one player with David Clifford having cemented his credentials yet again in commanding style. Who would ever have thought that they would see the day when Tipperary players would have outnumbered Kingdom nominees by four to one? Changed times indeed.

Unsurprisingly, Fenton, Kilkenny and O'Connor are the short-odds favourites for the Footballer of the Year award, while the Young Footballer of the Year nominees are Mayo duo Tommy Conroy and Oisin Mullin with Meath's Jordan Morris.

Goalkeepers: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin), David Clarke (Mayo), Raymond Galligan (Cavan).

Defenders: David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons, Robbie McDaid, Eoin Murchan, John Small (all Dublin); Chris Barrett, Patrick Durcan, Lee Keegan, Eoghan McLaughlin, Oisín Mullin (all Mayo); Ciarán Brady, Pádraig Faulkner, Gerard Smith (all Cavan); Bill Maher, Kevin Fahey (both Tipperary); Aidan Forker (Armagh); Peadar Mogan (Donegal); Iain Corbett (Limerick).

Midfielders: Brian Fenton, James McCarthy (both Dublin): Matthew Ruane (Mayo); Gearóid McKiernan (Cavan); Ian Maguire (Cork); Colin O'Riordan (Tipperary).

Forwards: Seán Bugler, Ciarán Kilkenny, Con O'Callaghan, Dean Rock, Niall Scully (all Dublin); Tommy Conroy, Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O'Connor, Ryan O'Donoghue, Aidan O'Shea (all Mayo); Thomas Galligan, Martin Reilly (both Cavan); Conor Sweeney (Tipperary); Michael Langan, Ciarán Thompson (both Donegal); Paul Conroy, Shane Walsh (both Galway), David Clifford (Kerry).

Breakdown (10 counties): Dublin 13; Mayo 12; Cavan 7; Tipperary 4; Donegal 3; Galway 2; Armagh, Cork, Kerry, Limerick all 1.

Footballer of the Year nominees: Brian Fenton, Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin); Cillian O'Connor (Mayo).

Young Footballer of the Year: Tommy Conroy, Oisín Mullin (both Mayo); Jordan Morris (Meath).

Belfast Telegraph


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