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Ulster's stock rises with healthy share of All-Star nominees


By Declan Bogue

Ulster has a healthy representation in the 2018 PwC All-Stars nominations, with 19 players from the northern province shortlisted.

What this says with almost half of the 45 places heading to Ulster is anyone's guess, but All-Ireland finalists Tyrone were tied with Monaghan on seven, Ulster champions Donegal had three and Armagh and Fermanagh both had one each.

Despite their total domination of the All-Ireland series, Dublin finished with 12 nominations, which was one less that last year.

Tyrone - who beat Monaghan on their way to the final - are level with the Oriel county, whose performances in beating Tyrone in the Ulster Championship and their positive Super8s performances ensures a healthy representation.

Fermanagh's Che Cullen becomes the first from that county to be given a nomination since Sean Quigley in 2014, while Rory Grugan of Armagh wins some richly-deserved recognition.

The Footballer of the Year, which will be voted for by the players themselves, will be between three Dublin stars in Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny and Jack McCaffrey.

In previous years, this hasn't always gone to the All-Ireland champions, with Andy Moran of Mayo capturing it in 2017.

While it is something of an achievement for Tyrone to have Michael McKernan in the running for the Young Player of the Year, the 20-year-old Coalisland man is unlucky to be competing alongside Kerry phenomenon David Clifford, who could possibly win that honour and a senior All-Star.

The men in the running for an All-Star

GOALKEEPER: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin), Rory Beggan (Monaghan), Graham Briody (Laois)

DEFENDERS: Jonny Cooper, Jack McCaffrey, Eoin Murchan, James McCarthy (all Dublin), Padraig Hampsey, Tiernan McCann, Peter Harte, Michael McKernan (all Tyrone), Karl O'Connell, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie (all Monaghan), Eoghan Kerin, Sean Andy ÓCeallaigh (all Galway), Eoghan Ban Gallagher (Donegal), Gavin Whyte (Kerry), Eoin Doyle (Kildare), Che Cullen (Fermanagh)

MIDFIELDERS: Colm Cavanagh, Mattie Donnelly (Tyrone), Brian Fenton (Dublin), Niall Kearns (Monaghan), Michael Murphy (Donegal), Tomás Flynn (Galway)

FORWARDS: Niall Scully, Ciaran Kilkenny, Brian Howard, Paul Mannion, Dean Rock, Con O'Callaghan (all Dublin), Shane Walsh, Damian Comer, Ian Burke (all Galway), Ryan McAnespie, Conor McManus (both Monaghan), Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin (both Kildare), Niall Sludden (Tyrone), Ryan McHugh (Donegal), David Clifford (Kerry), Rory Grugan (Armagh), Paul Broderick (Carlow)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST: Brian Fenton (Dublin), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)

YOUNG FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR: Brian Howard (Dublin), David Clifford (Kerry), Michael McKernan (Tyrone).

Belfast Telegraph


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