Kingdom dominate selection with six All-star awards

ALL-IRELAND champions Kerry gained the lion’s share of the awards in the 2006 Vodafone Allstars football team — with six of their players included.

The team includes 10 first-time winners and none of last year’s selection is included. Among the newcomers are Kerry pair Marc Ó Sé and Aidan O’Mahony, Cork’s Ger Spillane and Nicholas Murphy, along with Alan Brogan and Conor Mortimer, leading forwards for Dublin and Mayo.

The team was chosen in Dublin yesterday by a panel of national journalists representing, TV, radio and the print media, with GAA President Nickey Brennan the non-voting chairman.

Kerry also gained six awards two years ago (Paul Galvin the only one to be named again this time).

In contrast, championship runners-up Mayo have only two players included, wing-forward Alan Dillon and Conor Mortimer (whose brother Kenneth was twice an award-winner, in 1996 and 1997. Last year, they didn’t gain a single nominee.

Overall, the selection includes players from seven counties, in sharp contrast to the 2005 selection which (uniquely) was confined to three counties — Tyrone (8), Kerry (4) and Armagh (3).

Recently retired Seamus Moynihan, named at right half-back, and Darragh Ó Sé (undecided on his future) were both picked for the third time. The Glenflesk man picked up his first award in 1997 in the same position and was selected at full-back three years later.

Darragh Ó Sé was also a member of the 2000 team and was again chosen two years later.

Apart from Paul Galvin, Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton and Fermanagh full-back Barry Owens were also picked for the second time. Cluxton was first honoured four years ago and Owens was a member of the 2004 side.

Owens has the distinction of being only the second player from the Lake county to be chosen as an Allstar; BBC commentator Peter McGinnity being included in the 1982 selection.

It’s thought to be the first time that no member of the preceding year’s Allstar team gained an award, but it was not unexpected as only Armagh’s Paul McGrane and Steven McDonnell and Colm Cooper received nominations.

2006 VODAFONE ALLSTARS (*denotes first award): S. Cluxton (Dublin) 2nd; *M. Ó Sé (Kerry), B. Owens (Fermanagh) 2nd, *K. Lacey (Donegal); S. Moynihan (Kerry) 3rd, *G. Spillane (Cork), *A. O’Mahony (Kerry); D. O Se (Kerry), 3rd, *N. Murphy (Cork); P. Galvin (Kerry), 2nd, *A. Brogan (Dublin), *A. Dillon (Mayo); *C. Mortimer (Mayo), *K. Donaghy (Kerry), *R. Clarke (Armagh).

* The Allstar hurling team will be announced live on RTE Television tomorrow night, along with the respective ‘Players of the Year’ and ‘Young Player of the Year’ winners.

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