Cork's wait for a first football All-Star since 2012 is set to go on

Sean Meehan is Cork's only nominee for 2021, after doing an excellent job marking David Clifford
Cork's wait for a first football All-Star since 2012 is set to go on

Cork recipients of their 2012 GAA GPA All-Star Football awards Colm O'Neill, left, and Aidan Walsh, centre, with Anthony Nash, goalkeeper on the hurling team. 

CORK’S wait for an All-Star football award is set to continue for another year at least, stretching the barren spell to a record 10 years since Colm O’Neill and Aidan Walsh were honoured in 2012.

The 2021 elite team will be unveiled this Friday and, as usual, it will be dominated by the All-Ireland finalists.

Champions Tyrone are expected to supply over half the 15 players poised to be recognised for their talents with perennial runners-up, Mayo, likely to have a handful of representatives.

Cork managed a nomination with Kiskeam defender Sean Meehan rightly included in the mix of 18 following his outstanding display in holding David Clifford scoreless from play in an otherwise best-forgotten Munster final in Killarney.

Meehan was one of the mainstays on the Cork team, which won the All-Ireland U20 title against Dublin in 2019, selected at centre-back, but often switching to full-back. He has taken the massive step-up from underage to senior in his stride having only made his debut in the smash-and-grab Munster semi-final victory over the Kingdom in 2020.

Sean Meehan challenges David Clifford during the Munster final in Killarney when the Cork defender held Clifford scoreless from play. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Sean Meehan challenges David Clifford during the Munster final in Killarney when the Cork defender held Clifford scoreless from play. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Meehan’s second outing was in the shattering final loss to Tipperary and he played his third and fourth games against Limerick and Kerry this season. As you’d expect, it’s ultra-competitive for places in defence with Tyrone having seven nominated and Mayo four while Kerry have three, Dublin two and Monaghan one.

Since their formal inception in 1971, when the great Ray Cummins was Cork’s first football recipient, the longest spell without recognition, until now, was four years, which happened on three occasions, 1983-87, 1995-99 and 2002-06.

Going into a new season next month, that will stretch to a decade and unless there’s a dramatic turnaround in fortunes, it’s poised to run for a while yet.

It’s all a far cry from the glory days of back-to-back Sam Maguire Cup successes in 1989 and 1990, when Cork had six players honoured on both teams.

Three is the most earned by any Cork player and the select group comprises some of the greats of the game, Larry Tompkins, Steven O’Brien and Graham Canty.

2021 All-Star Football Nominations: 

Goalkeepers: Rob Hennelly (Mayo), Rory Beggan (Monaghan), Niall Morgan (Tyrone).

Defenders: Padraig Hampsey, Peter Harte, Michael McKernan, Ronan McNamee, Kieran McGeary, Conor Myler, Frank Burns (all Tyrone); Stephen Coen, Patrick Durcan, Lee Keegan, Padraig Ó Hóra (all Mayo); Tom O’Sullivan, Gavin White, Brian Ó Beaglaoich (all Kerry); Michael Fitzsimons, Brian Howard (all Dublin); Seán Meehan (Cork), Ryan McAnespie (Monaghan).

Midfielders: Brian Kennedy, Con Kilpatrick (Tyrone), Matthew Ruane (Mayo), David Moran (Kerry), Oisín O’Neill (Armagh), Brian Fenton (Dublin).

Forwards: Mattie Donnelly, Conor McKenna, Niall Sludden, Darren McCurry, Cathal McShane (all Tyrone); David Clifford, Paudie Clifford, Sean O’Shea (all Kerry); Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue (Mayo); Cormac Costello and Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin); Jack McCarron (Monaghan), Daniel Flynn (Kildare), Michael Langan (Donegal), Rian O’Neill (Armagh), Eoin Cleary (Clare), Shane Walsh (Galway).

Cork’s Football All-Stars: 

2012: Colm O’Neill (Ballyclough), Aidan Walsh (Kanturk).

2010: Graham Canty (Bantry), Michael Shields (St Finbarr’s), Paudie Kissane (Clyda Rovers), Aidan Walsh.

2009: Graham Canty, John Miskella (Ballincollig), Michael Shields, Pearse O’Neill (Aghada), Daniel Goulding (Éire Óg).

2007: Graham Canty.

2006: Ger Spillane (Ballygarvan), Nicholas Murphy (Carrigaline).

2002: Anthony Lynch (Naomh Abán).

1999: Anthony Lynch, Kevin O’Dwyer (O’Donovan Rossa), Ciaran O’Sullivan (Urhan), Philip Clifford (Bantry Blues).

1995: Mark O’Connor (Bantry Blues), Stephen O’Brien (Nemo Rangers).

1994: Stephen O’Brien.

1993: Joe Kavanagh (Nemo), Colin Corkery (do).

1990: John Kerins (St Finbarr’s), Michael Slocum (do), Stephen O’Brien, Conor Counihan (Aghada), Shay Fahy (Nemo Rangers), Paul McGrath (Bishopstown).

1989: Tony Davis (O’Donovan Rossa), Dave Barry (St Finbarr’s), Teddy McCarthy (Glanmire), Larry Tompkins (Castlehaven), Conor Counihan, Paul McGrath.

1988: Niall Cahalane (Castlehaven), Colman Corrigan (Macroom), Shay Fahy, Larry Tompkins.

1987: John Kerins, Niall Cahalane, Colman Corrigan, Larry Tompkins.

1983: John Evans (O’Donovan Rossa), Jimmy Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers).

1982: Kevin Kehily (Newcestown).

1980: Kevin Kehily, Dinny Allen (Nemo Rangers).

1978: Declan Barron (Bantry Blues).

1976: Brian Murphy (Nemo Rangers), Dave McCarthy (Clonakilty).

1975: Dinny Long (Millstreet).

1974: Declan Barron, Jimmy Barry-Murphy (St Finbarr’s).

1973: Billy Morgan, Brian Murphy, Frank Cogan (all Nemo), Kevin Jer O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Dinny Long, Ray Cummins (St Michael’s).

1972: Kevin Jer O’Sullivan.

1971: Ray Cummins.

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