‘Hickey the full-back of our time, not yet of 2010’

“I KNOW,” said the sports editor, “you have many a well-aired and minutely-rehearsed objection to the notion of All Stars.

“That notwithstanding, pick fifteen for August.”

Your correspondent inhaled.

“And no: caveats not included.”

Bah.

The first Sunday in September influences a lot of polling when it comes to these teams, so we’ve taken the evidence presented since May as our starting point.

PJ Ryan hasn’t really been tested, such is the quality of the Kilkenny defence, so we go for Brendan Cummins in goal. The Cats Jackie Tyrrell has been at his usual best while Noel Connors has impressed from start to finish in this year’s championship. No-brainer.

The August deadline means we take Eoin Cadogan of Cork at full-back because he’s had more good games than Noel Hickey of Kilkenny. Hickey is the full-back of our time, and could be the full-back of any time, but he just hasn’t been tested in 2010. Yet.

The imperishables – Tommy Walsh and JJ Delaney – are irreplaceable on the wings, while ‘Brick’ Walsh’s discomfort against Tipp doesn’t derail his bid for centre-back. He’s been terrific again this year.

Shane McGrath of Tipperary is back to his form of last season in the middle of the field but Michael Fennelly has been awesome for the Cats. Just when you think they’ll suffer the loss of Derek Lyng... Fennelly’s displays put him not only on our team but front-runner, as of now, for Player of the Year.

Kilkenny’s disregard for fixed positions means that Henry Shefflin and Eddie Brennan can be accommodated either side of Noel McGrath, whose display in the All-Ireland semi-final was magic, pure and simple.

The full-forward line picks itself: John Mullane has been a lone ranger for Waterford while Lar Corbett has ranged alone all over the field for Tipp. Richie Power and Tipp’s Eoin Kelly fight it out to line up on the mark. Right now we give the nod to Power, but September will tell us a lot more.

(Note to Sp. Ed: “I know I’m in the doghouse when you get me to do these All Star teams.”)

(Note to Corr.: “You’ll know you’re really in the doghouse when you do an All Star football team.”)

Don’t miss your free 16-page supplement only in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner.


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