RAY SILKE: Year of shocks should shake up All Star selection

WHEN Tyrone won the All-Ireland in 2008 they got seven All Stars and defeated finalists Kerry received four.

Last year champions Kerry collected seven statuettes and their beaten opponents, Cork, collected five.

Teams that play in the final invariably dominate the awards. But 2010 may be different. In a year of shocks, there should be plenty of variety in any selected team. There are nine counties represented in my selection.

In goal I went for Cork’s Alan Quirke who has been extremely consistent all year. He varied his kick-outs very well and has brought huge confidence to his full-back line. Others in the shake-up for the number one jersey include Brendan McVeigh, Pascal McConnell and Stephen Cluxton.

The full-back line was the most difficult to select. Guys like Sligo’s Charlie Harrison and Ross Donovan, Marc O Sé, Peter Kelly and Damien Rafferty all impressed at stages, but in the end I went for Justin McMahon, Michael Shields, and Philip McMahon.

Paudie Kissane is having a terrific year and gets the nod at five, alongside Kevin McKernan who has been a central figure in Down’s run to the final. Alongside them I’ve opted for Philip Jordan who was probably Mickey Harte’s most consistent outfield player in 2010.

John Galvin was colossal against Kerry and would make any team in the country on that form and alongside him, Louth’s captain Paddy Keenan merits selection for his terrific performances in Leinster. Michael Dara McAuley (Dublin) also deserves a mention.

The competition for forward places this year is intense with superb displays from James Kavanagh, Benny Coulter, David Kelly and Donie Shine and yet none make my selection.

At wing-forward Danny Hughes has been outstanding. He was majestic against Kildare and is at the top of his game. His team-mate Marty Clarke is developing into the best passer in the game and is an automatic at centre-forward, while Meath’s Graham Reilly was integral to Meath winning in Leinster and just pips Cork’s Paddy Kelly.

It would be amazing to see Bernard Brogan and Colm Cooper feed off each other in a two man full-forward line and I went for Cooper at thirteen and Brogan at full-forward with Johnny Doyle making up the final slot. He is the top scorer in the championship, Kildare’s best forward and deserves an All Star.


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