The All-Stars is always a topic that raises much debate this time of the year. The reason for the debate is that it is almost impossible to select the best 15 players in their positions for the year gone by without leaving out players that were just as good, if not better even in some games.
Another factor that is generally considered – and I am certainly not being elitism about this – is that teams that go further in the competition will have and should have more players selected. These players have more opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the paying fans and the TV audience. On the flipside, by going that extra distance in the championship, they can be playing themselves off the All-Star team by having a poor semi-final or a final.
There are many pros and cons to selecting the final 15 and there is no doubt that come Friday evening and over the weekend there will be question marks over the inclusion of some players and also over the omission of others. Thankfully, I will never be involved in a committee to select an All-Stars team. It really is a tough task to select 15 from the 45 players short-listed. Some players will feel the pain of not getting an award.
On a personal level, when you receive an All-Star it really does provide you with a real sense of achievement. It allows you to stand tall and say to yourself that in the eyes of many, you were the best player in that position for the year. It provides you with a confidence that you can take back to your club and county teams. It confirms that when you put in the hard work and commitment throughout the year, that it pays dividends.
Of course, we all want to win the Sam Maguire as the be-all and end-all but that simply is just not possible every year so the All-Star provides some solace for that. The one thing that I always recognised when I was training with Ireland and playing on the All-Stars tours, is that the guys that won All-Irelands consistently were no different or no better than me. Being an All-Star gave me this confidence.
For what it’s worth, here is my All-Star selection and my choice for the footballer of the year. Will my team be the same as selected this Friday night? I wouldn’t think so but isn’t that’s the great thing about personal opinion and creating a platform to debate on.
- Stephen Cluxton
- Keith Higgins
- Cian O’Sullivan
- Philly McMahon
- Lee Keegan
- James McCarthy
- Colm Boyle
- Colm Cavanagh
- Tom Parsons
- Ciaran Kilkenny
- Aidan O’Shea
- Con O’Callaghan
- Andy Moran
- Paul Geaney
- Dean Rock
Footballer of the Year – Andy Moran is my selection and I’m sure he will be the stand-out choice for many. For young footballers, particularly forwards looking to learn a thing or two about movement inside then look no further than this guy. His energy levels are huge and his intelligent movement and ball winning ability has been exceptional throughout the course of this year.
If Andy Moran wins the footballer of the year award, he will be the fourth player since 1995 to do so when their team did not win the All-Ireland title. Can you name the other three players and the years involved?