ONLY four players from the ranks of the All-Ireland champions — none of them forwards.
Just two of the many decisions being debated up and down the country after yesterday’s announcement of the 2010 Vodafone All Stars football selection.
No doubt those as well as other inclusions and absences will be the source of great discussion and no little dissension for days and weeks to come.
GAA president Christy Cooney said as much.
“This is my second (meeting) chairing and there was a lot more discussion and debate and strong views on who should and shouldn’t be on the team,” said Cooney. “It would be fair to say that it took us the full two and a half hours to make the final selection. It was very, very strongly debated. Strongly debated.”
The absence of men like Daniel Goulding and Donncha O’Connor means there will be no representative from the All-Ireland champions (who also lifted the Division One league title) among the six attackers for the first time in the scheme’s history.
Goulding failed to make the grade despite being named man of the match in the All-Ireland final while O’Connor has been overlooked despite a storming end to the season starting with his introduction against Limerick in the qualifiers.
In the end, four Cork players were given the nod — defenders Michael Shields, Paudie Kissane, Graham Canty and midfielder Aidan Walsh — while cases will no doubt be made for goalkeeper Alan Quirke and wing-forward Paddy Kelly.
The decision to vote Canty in for his third award (his first two were in 2007 and 2009) has also generated huge debate as the half-back missed a significant chunk of the championship because of a hamstring injury.
Cork’s up and down summer is reflected in the fact that their four spots equals the lowest number secured by the country’s champions down the years. Offaly (1971), Dublin (1983) and Down (1991) all received the same percentage.
Unlike that Down team, who defeated Meath, the 2010 Cork vintage has not been outnumbered by the side they bested in September as James McCartan’s men also garnered a quartet of spots.
Goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh joins the attacking trio of Daniel Hughes, Martin Clarke and Benny Coulter while Mourne supporters will also make a case for the spurned nomination of centre-back Kevin McKernan.
Even still, their four gongs represents a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the county who, until this year, had gone 11 years since forward Shane Mulholland had been put up for their last nomination. The celebrations down the road in Louth will be unfettered after midfielder Paddy Keenan secured the Wee county’s first ever place on the All Stars’ roll of honour for his consistently excellent displays throughout the championship.
That leaves just Limerick, Carlow, Longford, Waterford and Kilkenny as the only counties yet to merit a place on football’s ‘Best Of’ individual roll call while eight counties were among yesterday’s spread. Among them were Sligo whose captain Charlie Harrison appears in the full-back line while Kerry’s Colm Cooper’s latest award brings him alongside Jack O’Shea on six but still three behind Pat Spillane’s record nine.
Interestingly, two of the provincial champions — Meath and Roscommon — failed to land asingle spot — while Tyrone and Kerry only chipped in with one apiece although Cooney does not believe that such an outcome undermines the provincial competitions.
“Not necessarily but I certainly think it will create debate as to whether in other people’s views this was the best team or not. That is always the debate around an All Star selection. People have their own specific views but, in fairness to the journalists, they see games throughout the year and they see nearly all the games so they are well versed in making a judgment call on who they consider are the best people in the positions.’’
The scheme being what it is, there will inevitably be a chorus of disapproval that others such as Dublin’s Rory O’Carroll and Michael Darragh MacAuley, Kildare’s Eamon Callaghan and Limerick’s John Galvin were not chosen.
There was less debate about who will receive the honour of being named Footballer of the Year at the CityWest Hotel tomorrow evening with Dublin’s Bernard Brogan, Cork’s Michael Shields and Down’s Daniel Hughes those nominated.
The Young Player of the Year award will be contested by Kildare defender Peter Kelly, Cork’s Aidan Walsh and Meath wing-forward Graham Reilly.
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