Deegan bemused by Dillon and O’Connor omission

Clare's Cian Dillon, Conor Ryan and Patrick O'Connor celebrate with the Liam McCarthy Cup. Picture: INPHO
Clare's Cian Dillon, Conor Ryan and Patrick O'Connor celebrate with the Liam McCarthy Cup. Picture: INPHO

Clare selector Mike Deegan “cannot understand” why defenders Cian Dillon and Patrick O’Connor have been excluded from the list of nominations for the GAA/GPA hurling All Stars.

Deegan insisted O’Connor has been the most consistent defender all season and also hailed Dillon’s man-marking jobs on Galway’s Joe Canning, Limerick hitman Declan Hannon and Cork’s Patrick Horgan.

“I couldn’t believe it. I’d be disappointed for them, no doubt about that,” Deegan said.

“I thought Cian Dillon did a huge job during the year. He was the guy designated to mark the opposition’s main man. He did a big job on Joe Canning, on Declan Hannon — he neutralised those guys when they were the main guys for those teams, the same for Patrick Horgan.

“I know you only have so many nominations but I cannot understand it.”

Deegan added: “Maybe some players would be flashier and do spectacular stuff. But Patrick was the best back we had consistently from the start of the year, throughout the League and championship.”

Meanwhile, Limerick have also expressed their annoyance after star forward Declan Hannon, goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, wing-back Paudie O’Brien and captain Donal O’Grady were left out of the 45-man list.

“I know it’s a bit of a numbers game but you have to look at consistency too,” coach Donagh O’Donnell said. “Nickie was consistent all year, bar one mistake against Clare in the semi-final.

“Otherwise, he could do nothing about the goal we conceded against Tipp, his puckouts were decent and he’s very good to read the play and distribute the ball.

“Against Tipperary, he pulled off some brilliant point-blank saves, and he did the same against Cork. He should have got in ahead of [Dublin’s] Gary Maguire.”

On Hannon’s omission, despite hitting 0-17 in two Munster championship ties, O’Donnell said: “It’s not just that — it’s his workrate and the amount of tackles he put in too, particularly against Tipp at the end of the game. He had a bad day on frees against Clare [the All-Ireland semi-final] but a lot of those nominated had terrible days.

“Look at the stats and the amount of ball that Paudie hit. He was very consistent and caused a lot of our scores. And when Donal was injured during the league, Paudie was phenomenal. He really stood up on bad days, in tight games, and continued that form all the way through the championship.

“Donal is such a leader and contributed some vital points all the way through, particularly in the games against Tipp and Cork.”

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