The day Ngoc Quynh became an All Star

2009 All Stars 10-8 2010 All Stars 9-11

Played at the picturesque Royal Selangor Club in Bukit Kiara on the western edge of Kuala Lumpur, Roscommon’s Cathal Cregg was the star of the show with 4-2 having joined the tour as a replacement for this year’s selection.

Cregg’s contribution still wasn’t enough to secure the win for the 2010 side as their predecessors outscored them by four goals to one in the spot kicks - Bernard Brogan one of those guilty of failing to find the target.

The 2010 Player of the Year’s effort sailed high over the crossbar and behind a neighbouring house, though the Dubliner had better luck during the game itself, finishingthe first half with a tally of 2-3 and adding another goal thereafter.

As ever on these trips, the game was an exhibition more than a contest and the 13-a-side, 50-minute show was shortened by a minute when David Coldrick had to call the players off a minute before the scheduled change of ends.

By then the participants’ competitive streaks had begun to kick in a tad more and some of the long passing, in particular, was superb, despite the tight confines of a pitchmore used to hosting cricket and rugby.

The 2010 All Stars had made all the early running and built up a ten-point lead (3-8 to 1-4) after 18 minutes, the goals from Brogan and Cork duo Donncha O’Connor and Aidan Walsh, with the 2009 All Stars’ reply coming from Pearse O’Neill.

The 2009 representatives hit back to close the gap to three points by half time (3-8 to 3-5), thanks to further goals from Daniel Goulding and a cracking Joe Sheridan effort. More and more, players ignored the promise of points for the possibility of goals, and there were some standout moments.

O’Connor very nearly scored one with his head in the first half, while Down’s Kevin McKernan displayed some sublime skills when clearing one ball with a back-heel on the spin.

The other highlight of the opening half was the point scored by the first ever Asian-born All Star Nguyen Ngoc Quynh - a journalist who only took up gaelic football three months ago, and plays second division soccer in Vietnam. The 2009 side began to take a grip on affairs after the interval with Cregg managing three more green flags in a 13-goal second-half that also saw Cork defender John Miskella hit two.

Quynh continued his dream All Stars debut as he scored one of the 2009 All Stars’ goals in the penalty shoot-out which they won, the other three goals coming from Donie Shine, Donncha O’Connor and Leyton Glynn. Donncha O’Connor was the sole penalty shoot-out scorer for the 2010 All Stars.

The best result of all was the factthat the rain had interrupted only intermittently after a day which had began five and a half hours earlier with an International Rules game involving the local Warriors AFL side.

Other fixtures on the menu included mens’ and ladies’ Asian All Stars games, as well as an underage contest between the local Orang Éire club and their guests from Singapore.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of such trips for the overseas units. Shirts from other Asian outposts were visible everywhere, Hong Kong and Qatar among them.

Veteran All Stars tourists compared the event favourably with previous incarnations and the success of the trip has been a remarkable achievement for Orang Éire and it members, who only established the club three years ago.

Initially formed to represent Malaysia at the Asian Gaelic Games held in Singapore in 2007, the club now has over 90 players and 30 more non-playing members.

Scorers for 2009 All Stars: D. Goulding 2-3; J. Miskella and J. Sheridan 2-0 each; K. McKernan, L. Glynn, P. O’Neill, B. Cahill 1-0 each; D. Shine 0-3, M. McCann and N. Quynh 0-1 each.

Scorers for 2010 All Stars: C. Cregg 4-2; B. Brogan 2-3; A. Walsh 1-1; D. O’Connor and B. Coulter 1-0 each, M. Clarke and P. Kerrigan 0-2 each; D. Kelly 0-1.

2009 ALL STARS: A. Quirke (Cork); K. Lacey (Donegal), M. Shields (Cork), R. McMenamin (Tyrone), K. McKernan (Down), J. Miskella (Cork), N. Murphy (Cork), S. Scanlon (Kerry), L. Glynn (Wicklow), P. O’Neill (Cork), J. Sheridan (Meath), D. Goulding (Cork), D. Shine (Roscommon).

Subs: M. McCann (Antrim), Nguyen Ngoc Quynh (Vietnam Asian All Star), B. Cahill (Dublin).

2010 ALL STARS: B. McVeigh (Down), Justin McMahon (Tyrone), C. Harrison (Sligo), P. Kissane (Cork), A. Moran (Mayo), Joe McMahon (Tyrone), P. Keenan (Louth), A. Walsh (Cork), D. O’Connor (Cork), M. Clarke (Down), P. Kerrigan (Cork), B. Brogan (Dublin), B. Coulter (Down).

Subs: C. Cregg (Roscommon), P. McMahon (Dublin), D. Kelly (Sligo).

Referees: D. Coldrick (Meath) and M. Wadding (Waterford).

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