There is personal joy for Oisin Mullin and Cillian O’Connor but a sense of overall disappointment for Mayo football this morning, with the announcement that Dublin has outnumbered them by nine to two in the selection of the 2020 GAA/GPA Football All-Stars.
Mullin’s selection is a magnificent achievement after what was only his first season playing senior inter-county football. Picked in a defence where the Dubs dominate, Mullin is also nominated for the PwC GAA/GPA Young Player of the Year so would now seem a shoe-in for that gong given that the other nominees, his Mayo teammates Eoghan McLaughlin and Tommy Conroy, are not in receipt of All-Stars,
For Cillian O’Connor, the top-scoring player in the history of the All-Ireland Championship, it represents only his second ever All-Star having previously been awarded one in 2014.
But for Mayo to have received a total of thirteen nominations yet only have two players selected for All-Stars offers some food for thought, after their run to the All-Ireland SFC final and a first Connacht SFC title win since 2015.
In comparison, Cavan, who were heavily beaten by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, have had three players selected. It is a landmark selection for the Breffni Blues, who previously had received two awards in the 50 years of the scheme. Their Ulster Championship triumph is recognised through awards for ace goalkeeper Raymond Galligan, heroic defender Padraig Faulkner and the influential Thomas Galligan at midfield. In the case of goalkeeper and captain Galligan it makes him the 800th player to have received an All-Star since they were first held back in 1971.
All-Ireland champions Dublin are represented by a record-equalling 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.
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. In the process he follows in the footsteps of county men Declan Browne and Michael Quinlivan.
Dublin’s Brian Fenton, who has never lost a senior championship match since his 2015 debut, partners Galligan in the middle and collects his fifth career PwC All-Star.
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 this Saturday evening at 6.35pm, 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.
“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,” said GAA president John Horan. “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 said: “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.”
PwC All-Stars Football 2020
(previous years selected in brackets)
- Raymond Galligan (Cavan)
- Oisín Mullin (Mayo)
- Padraig Faulkner (Cavan)
- Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin) (2017, ’19)
- James McCarthy (Dublin) (2014, ’17, ’18)
- John Small (Dublin)
- Eoin Murchan (Dublin)
- Brian Fenton (Dublin) (2015, ’16, ’18, ’19)
- Thomas Galligan (Cavan)
- Niall Scully (Dublin)
- Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin) (2015, ’16, ’18)
- Con O’Callaghan (Dublin) (2017, ’19)
- Cillian O’Connor (Mayo) (2014)
- Conor Sweeney (Tipperary)
- Dean Rock (Dublin) (2016, ’17)