Three Dubs and the rest that should be in the running for the 2018 Player Of The Year Accolade
It’s really hard to believe that the 2018 Football Season is almost over. And with one more game to go, unless of course we’re staring down the barrel of a god forsaken replay, it’s around the time we should be looking at the potential candidates for the 2018 Player Of The Year.
Dublin and Tyrone have climbed the mountain to reach the All Ireland Final, with Sam Maguire wither going to a new home or staying in the capital for the fourth consecutive year.
Tyrone did it the hard way. A quarter final loss to Monaghan in Ulster meant they started right at Round 1 of the Qualifiers. Victories over Meath, Carlow, Cavan and Cork earned them a slot in the Super 8’s.
Wins against Roscommon and Donegal get them a Semi Final slot with Monaghan, who had beaten them in Ulster. But ickey Harte’s men prevailed and earned their All Ireland Final place by the minimum.
Dublin on the other hand have ran another unbeaten path to teh September 2nd decider. They ran through Leinster, beating Wicklow, Longford and Laois, seding them into the Super 8’s in pole position.
Donegal, Tyrone and Roscommon all fell to Jim Gavin’s charges, and Galway were no match for the reigning champions in the Semis.
As a result both sides should be heavily favoured to have candidates worthy of a Player Of the Year nod. So let’s look at who should be considered among the two sides and the best of the rest.
Colm Cavanagh (Tyrone):
With brother Sean retiring, Colm Cavanagh has come into his own and really stepped up as leader in the Tyrone ranks. It’s hard to believe that the Moy man made his debut on 2007, and with a campaign of nine games, we’ve seen Colm soar in the sweeper role for Mickey Harte, both on and off the ball.
Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin):
Dublin’ total footballer. The four time All Ireland Champion is only 25 but is beyond his years in such a diverse role in Jim Gavin’s ranks. The system would certainly fail Ciaran if he doesn’t at least receive an All Star for is performances this year. There’s probably no one in the game currently that has a footballing brain like the Castleknock man. And with 2-21 Ciaran remains this year’s top scorer from play.
Conor McManus (Monaghan):
With Monaghan reaching their first All ireland Semi Final in 30 years and almost squeezing into the final, McManus once again proved why he’s the jewel in the Farney Crown. Malachy O’Rourke’s attacking weapon registered 2-47 in nine games and will probably end the year as the Championship top scorer unless Conor McAliskey has a whopper All Ireland Final.
David Clifford (Kerry):
Since his outstanding performance in last year’s Minor All Ireland Final, Clifford has made the transition to the senior ranks seamlessly. With a keen eye for goal, the Fossa native has scored 4-18 in his debut senior year with Kerry.
The athletic and physically imposing corner forward will be remembered for sparing Kerry’s blushes against Monaghan, stealing a goal to tie the game in the dying stages of their Phase 2 Super 8’s clash in Clones.
Brian Fenton (Dublin):
The Raheny midfielder’s ascension to legendary greatness hasn’t taken a breather since his senior debut for Dublin in 2015. With two All Star Awards to his credit in three seasons, Fenton is a dead cert for a third with this year being probably his strongest to date.
His consistency in Dublin’s engine room counts for so much as a potential player of the year, and scoring 1-11 in this year’s Championship won’t hinder his chances.
Damien Comer (Galway):
Galway proved everyone wrong this year, topping the Division 1 table, and winning the Connacht championship. Their Super 8 campaign earned them a Semi Final slot with Dublin, and Damien Comer was the focal point of the Tribemen’s attack, aided by Shane Walsh, Ian Burke and Eamonn Brannigan.
Brian Howard (Dublin):
Might be too soon for the Senior Player of the Year, like David Clifford, but Brian Howard has been Jim Gavin’s find of the season. From his heralding by Diarmuid Connolly as a star of the future, right through the entire year, it feels like Brian has been in the panel forever.
Again a prime example of a student of the game, Howard has absorbed every different challenge set for him by his manager and executed each one to perfection. If not this year, mark our words this is a future player of the year.
Niall Sludden (Tyrone):
The difference maker for Mickey Harte’s men last weekend, Sludden’s goal was pivotal for Tyrone’s advance to this year’s All Ireland Final. Niall’s versatility and consistency has put in him in prime postition for a nomination. The Dubs may have kept sludden quiet on Omagh, but that’s the only blip in a perfect year.