Top awards for Cluxton and Callanan as Dubs lead the way in football's All-Stars

Stephen Cluxton has been named Footballer of the Year for the first time in his career.

Top awards for Cluxton and Callanan as Dubs lead the way in football's All-Stars

Stephen Cluxton has been named Footballer of the Year for the first time in his career.

The Dublin goalkeeper captained his side to a fifth All-Ireland Football title in a row in September.

Cluxton was one of seven members of that Dublin team to be named in the PwC All-Star Football team of the year.

Tipperary forward Seamus Callanan was named Hurler of the Year, while Kilkenny forward Adrian Mullen was named Young Hurler of the Year.

The Young Footballer of the Year award went to Sean O'Shea, who was one of four Kerry players to be included in the team of the year.

Kerry forward Stephen O’Brien is the major casualty in this year’s PwC All-Stars football scheme as he misses out on a first award.

Stephen O'Brien
Stephen O'Brien

Four of his team-mates made the cut - Tom O’Sullivan, David Moran, David Clifford and O’Brien’s Kenmare Shamrocks club-mate Seán O’Shea. However, in an incredible year for forwards, O’Brien is omitted, which is sure to draw ire in the Kingdom.

Paul Geaney, having scored 2-19 in the Championship, and All-Ireland final replay man-of-the-match Ciarán Kilkenny were also unlucky to miss out.

However, such was the competition for places in attack that Brian Howard was switched to defence where he has operated for Dublin on occasions.

After scoring 22 points from play in seven games including 10 in his last three games, David Clifford, was an easy choice for the selection committee and O’Shea’s free-taking acumen, as well as his playmaking attributes, were recognised.

Kerry’s four is their largest number of All-Stars since their quartet four years ago and among them there are three All-Ireland minor winners in the last five years - Clifford (2016, ’17), O’Shea (’15, ’16) and O’Sullivan (’14). For some sterling displays from the opening Super 8 win over Mayo on, midfielder Moran collects his second All-Star, his first coming five years ago.

David Clifford
David Clifford

Dublin were awarded with seven, of Kerry’s four Clifford and Moran are recipients for the second time and O’Sullivan and O’Shea are first-time winners. Five picked up their debut award - Ronan McNamee, Patrick Durcan and Cathal McShane being the other three.

All of the Dublin septet have won before, Brian Fenton, Howard, Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion among the winners last year with Clifford. This evening was the third consecutive year McCaffrey and Mannion have been honoured with Con O’Callaghan and Mick Fitzsimons earning their second in the space of three seasons.

Cluxton is the oldest footballer to win an All-Star - it’s his sixth accolade having being honoured in 2002, ’06, ’07, ’11 and 2013. Not only that, Cluxton now eclipses another Dublin goalkeeping great John O’Leary who had won five All-Stars.

Not too far behind him are McCaffrey and Fenton earning their fourth, the latter after just five season as a senior footballer and McCaffrey having missed the 2016 season due to travel.

All-Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton
All-Ireland winning captain Stephen Cluxton

In just three seasons, O’Callaghan has won two All-Stars and been nominated each year.

This season sees Donegal captain Michael Murphy claim only his third All-Star when he has been regularly recognised as one of the finest exponents of the game.

After a breakthrough year in full-forward, Cathal McShane was a cert for selection.

After an excellent qualifier and Super 8 campaign, Ronan McNamee follows the example of his fellow Tyrone players Pádraig Hampsey and Colm Cavanagh last year in being chosen in defence.

Like O’Brien, Colm Boyle just missed out on what would have been a fifth All-Star.

Also an official man of the match winner on two occasions this summer, the Davitts man’s credentials for inclusion were strong but it’s his team-mate Patrick Durcan, after a string of excellent man-marking roles, who is Mayo’s sole representative in the 15.

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