The club football All-Stars were tougher than ever to pick after an epic conclusion to the season

The club football All-Stars were tougher than ever to pick after an epic conclusion to the season
Castlehaven's James Davis celebrates his equalising point as Damien Cahalane leaps into the air against Duhallow. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

AFTER one of the most entertaining seasons in quite some time at senior football level, there was no shortage of options for the Rearden’s Club All-Star selection.

St Finbarr’s got over the line for the first time since 1985 while arguably not performing as impressively as they did last year when they were beaten in a replay, Duhallow and Castlehaven put on a three-game epic in the semi-finals while Carbery Rangers excelled against Ballincollig and Clon.

The judges only settled on their final 15 in recent days, a reflection of the brilliance of the likes of Eoin Comyns, Michael Hurley, Michael Vaughan, John Hayes and Dylan Quinn, who came close to inclusion.

Ultimately there were six St Finbarr’s footballers and the same number from Duhallow chosen, a reflection of their gripping clash in the final, along with Castlehaven’s Mark Collins and Damien Cahalane, and Carbery Rangers corner-back Rob Hegarty.

The Barrs’ Colin Lyons, Ian Maguire and Steven Sherlock were also in the 2017 All-Stars, with Cahalane, Collins, Aidan Walsh and Donncha O’Connor previous recipients too.

The new faces are Patrick Doyle, Bart Daly, Hegarty, Sam Ryan, Lorcán McLoughlin, Enda Dennehy, Seamus Hickey and Denis O’Brien.

1. Patrick Doyle (Duhallow): The Duhallow number one was the number one choice for All-Star keeper after producing a highlight reel of saves across the season.

Duhallow goalkeeper Patrick Doyle. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Duhallow goalkeeper Patrick Doyle. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

2. Sam Ryan (St Finbarr’s): Despite injury ruling him out of the decider against Duhallow, Ryan was excellent at the back once again for the Blues. Just missed out on this award last year but did enough against Mallow and Ross to merit his spot this time.

3. Bart Daly (Duhallow): A fixture in the Duhallow defence for some time, Daly was deployed at times this season for his established half-back position to mind the square. With power and experience, he’s a quality back at this level.

4. Rob Hegarty (Carbery Rangers): A dynamic young corner-back who marked big-name forwards all campaign. Stands out for his energetic defending and distinctive ‘Clarence Seedorf’ style sports glasses.

Ballincollig's Cian Dorgan is marked by Carbery Rangers' Rob Hegarty. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballincollig's Cian Dorgan is marked by Carbery Rangers' Rob Hegarty. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

5. Colin Lyons (St Finbarr’s): A second consecutive All-Star for ‘House’. A veteran in the Barrs line-up but a modern wing-back, who is very dangerous on the front foot but also a hardy bit of stuff when defending.

6. Damien Cahalane (Castlehaven): The Haven reestablishing themselves as a force in the senior championship hinged on Cahalane’s dominance in the middle third. A monster on the breaks, his kick-passing and long-range shooting were also noteworthy this time out, as he hit 0-9.

7. Lorcán McLoughlin (Duhallow): He might be better known as a hurler, but McLoughlin was a dual underage player for Cork and has been a regular in the divisional football team. This was his best campaign yet, raiding up the flanks time and again.

St Finbarrs’ Ian Maguire is tackled by Lorcán McLoughlin. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
St Finbarrs’ Ian Maguire is tackled by Lorcán McLoughlin. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

8. Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s): A captain in every sense. Maguire was simply outstanding in every game for the Blues both this season and last and carried himself impeccably off the field too. Took the semi-final and final by the scruff of the neck when it mattered.

9. Aidan Walsh (Duhallow): Like Maguire, Walsh was at the heart of his team’s appearance at the business end of the championship. Back to his best he won kick-outs, set the tempo from midfield and ran himself to a standstill.

10. Enda Dennehy (St Finbarr’s): A speedy ball-carrier and clever link-man, Dennehy also chipped in with some crucial scores over the county-winning campaign. Struck for 1-3 against Carrigaline and a goal in the narrow victory over Douglas.

St Finbarr's wing-forward Enda Dennehy. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
St Finbarr's wing-forward Enda Dennehy. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

11. Mark Collins (Castlehaven): Operated at midfield for a lot of the season as well as popping up the half-forwards, Collins’ intelligent passing and clinical finishing brought Castlehaven to the brink of the county final. Kicked a significant tally of 0-46, 10 from play.

12. Denis O’Brien (St Finbarr’s): An unsung hero for the Barrs, O’Brien’s foraging is essential in allowing their marquee forwards shoot the lights out. He is also an outlet for kick-outs and long deliveries and has been ultra-consistent in recent seasons.

13. Seamus Hickey (Duhallow): As adept at securing long deliveries as he is at the running game, the Rockchapel attacker held off the strong claims of Michael Vaughan and Eoghan McSweeney for this berth. He struck 3-21 over Duhallow’s eight games, all from play. Some going.

Seamus Hickey battles Alan O'Connor of St Finbarr's. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Seamus Hickey battles Alan O'Connor of St Finbarr's. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

14. Donncha O’Connor (Duhallow): At 37 years young, the All-Ireland winner remains the spearhead of Duhallow’s attack as his return of 2-30 proves. It’s not just his finishing that ensured he made the cut here, O’Connor has the vision and skill-set to spray passes, which was very evident in the county final.

15. Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s): The go-to forward in the St Finbarr’s attack, Sherlock’s tally was 3-37 in just five matches and he was especially brilliant against Ross in the county semi-final. Now graduating from U21, he has a bright future in Barrs blue and Rebel red in the coming years.

St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock punches the air against Carbery Rangers. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock punches the air against Carbery Rangers. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

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