Two Mayo players on football’s PwC All-Stars selection
Two Mayo players – corner back Oisín Mullin and corner forward Cillian O'Connor – have been selected on the PwC All-Stars football 15 following their exploits in the shortened 2020 championship.
The beaten All-Ireland finalists had 12 players nominated, however, and many can count themselves a tad unlucky not to be included in the final selection, particularly David Clarke, Patrick Durcan, Chris Barrett and Kevin McLoughlin.
All-Ireland champions Dublin are represented by a record-equaling tally of nine players on the final 15 – a haul not seen by the Sky Blues since their iconic All-Ireland championship winning team of 1977 – while it's a landmark selection for the Breffni Blues of Cavan too, as their memorable Ulster championship triumph is recognised through awards for goalkeeper Raymond Galligan, full-back Padraig Faulkner and the influential Thomas Galligan at midfield.
In the 50 years of the All-Stars prior to this, Cavan had received just two awards, Ollie Brady and Dermot McCabe the winners. In the case of goalkeeper and captain Raymond Galligan, it makes him the 800th player to have received an All-Star since they were first held back in 1971.
Elsewhere, there is another notable first for Tipperary captain Conor Sweeney, who is acknowledged for his prolific role in leading Tipperary to their first Munster win since 1935 with selection as a PwC All-Star in the full-forward line. He follows in the footsteps of county men Declan Browne and Michael Quinlivan in winning an award.
Oisín Mullin, who is nominated for the PwC GAA/GPA Young Player of the Year along with fellow Mayo players Eoghan McLoughlin and Tommy Conroy, is picked in a defence where the Dubs dominate.
Dublin’s Brian Fenton, who has never lost a senior championship match since his 2015 debut, partners Thomas Galligan in the middle and collects his fifth career PwC All-Star.
Cillian O’Connor’s razor-sharp contribution to Mayo in their march to Connacht glory and in reaching the All-Ireland final is recognised in an attack that features Sweeney, a first award for Niall Scully and then an addition to the personal hauls of Dublin’s big guns Ciaran Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan and Dean Rock.
O'Connor is in the running for the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Year award alongside the Dublin duo of Ciaran Kilkenny and Brian Fenton.
The awards were picked by a panel of Gaelic games correspondents from across print, radio, TV and digital media. The winners will be showcased on a special TV programme on RTÉ 1 tommor (Saturday) evening at 6.35 p.m., where the PwC All-Stars in hurling will be announced and also the winners of the PwC GAA/GPA Player and Young Player of the Year will be announced in hurling and football.
Uachtarán CLG John Horan said: “I’d like to extend the warmest congratulations to all of those players who have been selected and know it is an honour that will mean a lot to them, their families and the clubs and communities who they represent so well.
“These awards have stood the test of time as something truly special, and I want to acknowledge PwC for their support and helping ensure that after the achievement that was getting the 2020 championships played that we can acknowledge all of our players who made it possible and salute the cream of the crop.”
Paul Flynn, GPA CEO, added: “I know what a great honour it is to be selected as a PwC All-Star and all 15 players should be very proud of their achievements. Individually they were the best of the best in 2020. I also want to congratulate all the nominees who were shortlisted.”
Feargal O’Rourke, managing partner, PwC, commented: “All of us at PwC extend our sincerest congratulations to the 15 outstanding players that have been selected for the 2020 PwC All-Star football team. While 2020 was different from anything we have ever experienced before, these players showed resilience and adaptability to shine for their counties and gave the country so much to cheer about.
“These are individual awards but achieved as part of a team, and it’s important to note that all of the winners are true team players. No doubt their minds have already turned to the 2021 season and we wish them all the best for the campaign ahead.”
The PwC All-Stars Football 2020 selection is as follows: Raymond Galligan (Cavan); Oisín Mullin (Mayo), Padraig Faulkner (Cavan), Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin); James McCarthy (Dublin), John Small (Dublin), Eoin Murchan (Dublin); Brian Fenton (Dublin), Thomas Galligan (Cavan); Niall Scully (Dublin), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Con O’Callaghan (Dublin); Cillian O’Connor (Mayo), Conor Sweeney (Tipperary), Dean Rock (Dublin).
Mayo's 12 nominees were: David Clarke (goalkeeper), Oisin Mullin, Eoghan McLaughlin, Lee Keegan, Chris Barrett, Patrick Durcan (defenders), Matthew Ruane (midfielder), Cillian O'Connor, Kevin McLoughlin, Ryan O'Donoghue, Aidan O'Shea and Tommy Conroy (forwards).