Nemo and the Barrs dominate the Rearden's club football All-Star awards

Nemo and the Barrs dominate the Rearden's club football All-Star awards
All-Star winners, Nemo’s Paul Kerrigan and Michael Shields of St Finbarr’s, in the county final. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

IT’S that time of year again. When the Late Late Toy Show and the Rearden’s Club All-Stars signify that the festive season is indeed here.

On Wednesday, the sixth annual scheme to honour the best club footballers on Leeside takes place from 7pm in Rearden’s on Washington Street, and unsurprisingly, the panel of judges leaned heavily in favour of county finalists Nemo Rangers and St Finbarr’s.

After two epic battles Nemo prevailed and they were rewarded with eight All-Stars. The Barrs picked up six with Matthew Taylor from Avondhu the only outsider to make the cut.

As always there were some close calls, and among those who were in contention were Glenn O’Connor, Sam Ryan, Eoin Coymns, Alan O’Donovan, Colin O’Brien, John O’Rourke, Fiachra Lynch, Pa Kelly, Michael Sheehan, and Cian Dorgan.

REARDEN’S FOOTBALL ALL-STARS 15

1. Mícheál Aodh Martin, Nemo Rangers: Leave aside the madness of the second half of the county final win over the Barrs, and Martin was the most consistent net-minder of the season. Clever and reliable.

Micheál Aodh Martin signs a programme. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Micheál Aodh Martin signs a programme. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

2. Aidan O’Reilly, Nemo Rangers: In Trabeg they expect their captains to lead by example and O’Reilly has always done that.

A no-nonsense marker, he took no prisoners all year but also used the ball intelligently.

3. Jamie Burns, St Finbarr’s: The towering defender was a colossal presence in the full-back line. Often asked to shut down the main danger men, he did better than anyone else on Luke Connolly this season and excelled in general.

4. Matthew Taylor, Avondhu: The ultimate all-action back, not only has Taylor been ripping it up for his division, he’s excelled for his club Mallow too. One of the best players outside the Cork set-up.

Avondhu's Matty Taylor being challenged by Shane Crowley of Skibb. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Avondhu's Matty Taylor being challenged by Shane Crowley of Skibb. Picture: Denis Minihane.

5. Colin Lyons, St Finbarr’s: Known as House out in Togher, he’s as safe as one at this level. Quality throughout the summer, he was especially impressive in the second half of the drawn county final.

6. Stephen Cronin, Nemo Rangers: Given he missed out on Nemo’s last county in 2015 through injury, this was an especially rewarding campaign for Cronin.

He’s not a traditional stopper in the centre-back berth, but his distribution is exceptional.

7. Kevin Fulignati, Nemo Rangers: Well-known from his minor days with Cork, Fulignati upped the gears for Nemo this time out.

Raided forward to score a few points, including the county final replay, but more importantly worked tirelessly.

8. Ian Maguire, St Finbarr’s: He gave one of the great county final displays in the draw with Nemo, but he was simply awesome all summer.

Maguire cleaned up in the air, while his direct approach opened up every rearguard he faced. A class act.

Ian Maguire of St Finbarr's taking on Kevin Fulignati of Nemo. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ian Maguire of St Finbarr's taking on Kevin Fulignati of Nemo. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

9. Jack Horgan, Nemo Rangers: Though tall, Horgan isn’t a traditional big man at midfield. His primary asset is his running off the ball and he chipped in with 2-11 overall.

He ghosts into position and that was key to his MVP outing in the county final replay.

10. Luke Connolly, Nemo Rangers: After his club All-Star efforts in 2016, Connolly’s really hit the heights.

Connolly puts the ‘foot’ into football and can be thrilling to watch. He’s also damn effective, with 4-30 in seven games, 3-16 from play. And that’s without considering his Munster club exploits and 0-10 against Dr Croke’s in the provincial final.

Luke Connolly strikes for goal. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Luke Connolly strikes for goal. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

11. Michael Shields, St Finbarr’s: The repositioning of the hugely experienced defender was the catalyst for the rebirth of the Barrs.

They stormed through the back-door with Shields conducting the attack and also dropping deep as an extra half-back when required.

12. Paul Kerrigan, Nemo Rangers: Despite a couple of frustrating games, the Nemo flier did what he has done for over a decade: cut through defences and rack up the scores. He finished with 2-15 from play overall, none more important than his 1-2 in the county final replay.

13. Steven Sherlock, St Finbarr’s: Having missed the opening round through injury, Sherlock stormed through the championship to the brink of a county.

His ultimate haul was 2-49, 1-21 play, and even with room for improvement, he’s a banker to feature for Cork in 2018.

Steven Sherlock, St Finbarr's, shoots from Eoin Byrne, Bishopstown. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Steven Sherlock, St Finbarr's, shoots from Eoin Byrne, Bishopstown. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

14. Paddy Gumley, Nemo Rangers: The Cavan native went from bit-part of the Nemo attacker to focal point inside this season. He contributed 3-10, all from play, and his clever runs were a feature of the two battles with the Barrs.

15. Robert O’Mahony, St Finbarr’s: The veteran attacker was focusing on hurling until a mid-summer return to football.

It was an inspired move as he nailed the killer goals in the semi-final dethroning of Carbery Rangers, showed up very well in the CIT and Ballincollig wins, and the second day against Nemo.

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