Dublin are on the brink of history and already have seven SFC wins to their name this summer, and John Fogarty reflects that in his August All-Stars. But how do the other counties fare?
Had stronger opposition in David Clarke and Rory Beggan in recent seasons but the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game stands alone this season. Just two goals conceded, a rash of saves and those excellent restarts.
NOMINEES: Niall Morgan (Tyrone), Shaun Patton (Donegal).
Has done remarkable marking jobs on Paul Kerrigan, Jamie Brennan, James Carr, Cillian O’Sullivan, and Peter Harte and will be given another big responsibility in the All-Ireland final.
Other than some shakiness in the first half against Mayo, Fitzsimons has again been performing diligently. Could be joined or replaced by Jonny Cooper, who returned late because of a foot injury, when the real awards are presented but in great fettle right now.
Turns 34 next July but is showing little sign of letting up. He has been emptying himself for his county this summer and the fearlessness and tenacity he has brought to that sweeper role was massive in getting Mayo to the last four.
The Meath joint-captain made a name for himself marking Kevin McManamon out of the 2012 Leinster final but it’s an array of excellent displays from the provincial SFC through to the Supers 8s that sees him selected here.
Brilliant in the qualifiers but particularly against Galway, he returned from injury to face Donegal where he was magnificent on Ryan McHugh and then bettered Jack McCaffrey on Saturday. Doing a marking job on both, he also kicked five points.
Quieter by his standards the last day thanks to the attention shown by Durcan but has two man of the match awards to his name already this championship. His defensive qualities are closing in on what he brings when Dublin attack.
NOMINEES: Chris Barrett (Mayo), Frank Burns (Tyrone), David Byrne(Dublin), Jonny Cooper (Dublin), Niall Daly (Roscommon), Eoghan Bán Gallagher (Donegal), Stephen McMenamin (Donegal), Ronan McNamee (Tyrone), James McCarthy (Dublin), Conor McGill (Meath), Ryan McHugh (Donegal), Tadhg Morley (Kerry).
A Rolls Royce footballer who put a middling first half behind him to star for Dublin against Mayo. Has been doing that throughout his unbeaten time as a championship footballer for his county. His timing and efficiency are spectacular.
Could end up being selected in the halfforward line but then he spent so much time in the middle. Integral to another Ulster title and put in acts of defiance against Kerry and Mayo as much as the latter one was in vain.
NOMINEES: Gary Brennan (Clare), Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin), David Moran (Kerry), Aidan O’Shea (Mayo).
Another all-rounder who excels in being able to get himself out of tight spots and a real asset for kick-outs. So comfortable is he that it is difficult to believe he is only in his second season.
Both David Clifford and Paul Geaney have strong shouts for inclusion and could make the official 15 but it’s O’Shea’s steadiness from frees and fine support play in every game that has given Kerry such a platform.
This man’s character was often questioned on the big occasion but O’Brien has answered his critics with the best season of his career. What he did against Tyrone was in keeping with a surging summer where he has embraced leadership.
His shot-taking was good enough before this season but now it is great. Combined with his pace and awareness of those team-mates around him, he is a rightful contender for footballer of the year.
Of the eight or so shoo-ins for All-Stars right now, McShane is close enough to the top of them. He has been that brilliant in the full-forward line that Mickey Harte must be wondering why he didn’t move him up before this year.
Had to play a game of patience against Lee Keegan on Saturday but it was worth it in the end. Given what he has been creating, he was due a goal and he scored two of them with panache.
NOMINEES: Jamie Brennan (Donegal), David Clifford (Kerry), Conor Cox (Roscommon), Jason Doherty (Mayo), Matthew Donnelly (Tyrone), Paul Geaney (Kerry), Brian Hurley (Cork), Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin), Patric McBrearty (Donegal), Cillian O’Connor (Mayo), Martin Reilly (Cavan), Niall Scully (Dublin).
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