Kerry Football Legend Pat Spillane has his say on some of this year’s All Star selections
The fifteen football players chosen at this point every year as the best in the game but the GAA/GPA All Star committee is becoming more controversial as the year’s go on. As a format, it’s always been quite easy to fathom the nominations. But the final decisions can sometimes leave a bad taste in some mouths.
This year is no different. GAA pundit and nine time All Star Pat Spillane aired his views before the final announcement. And Pat has since reprieved his feelings following the naming of this year’s All Stars panel.
Spillane is known for giving his predictions for team of the year. And who he believes the All Star awards will go to. More times than not, Pat is usually on the money. Right back to his playing days the Kerry legend has always been a fan of the awards. He rates the event as second only to lifting the Sam Maguire on All Ireland final day. But over the decades he believes that the aura and bravado surrounding the event has slipped.
In it’s 47 year history, the process of the selection really hasn’t changed. The lions share of the chosen players will come form the All Ireland Semi Finalists. And of course the cap will be tipped in favour of the All Ireland Champions to fill the majority.
“I still believe that Dublin, the dominant team in Gaelic football in this decade, have actually been short-changed over the years when it comes to handing out All Stars.” Spillane wrote in the Independent.
Pat stands by his own selection
In his predictions for this year’s team, Pat chose nine Dublin players to walk away with awards. He was on the money with seven of those spots as Jonny Cooper, James McCarthy, Jack McCaffrey, Brian Fenton, Brian Howard, Paul Mannion and Brian Howard were successful. However in his recent piece for the Sunday World following the ceremony, Spillane didn’t hold back on the couple that were omitted. And first up was Stephen Cluxton losing out to Rory Beggan.
“Given Dublin’s utter dominance of Gaelic football and the fact that Cluxton is by far their most influential player, it is truly astonishing that he hasn’t won an All-Star since 2013. I reckon he should have equalled my record haul of nine All-Stars by now.”
The Sunday Game colour commentator believes that Rory Began simply didn’t deserve the award because he made critical game changing mistakes during Monaghan’s Championship run. In addition he’s quick to question Colm Cavanagh’s selection at full back, a position he never played in, siting it as an insult to Eoghan Ban Gallagher of Donegal and Drew Wylie of Monaghan.
Players out of position taking other players awards
Pat also highlighted the choice of Dublin’s Brian Howard in Midfield. And while Howard did play a lot of football in the middle third, surely he should have been chosen automatically for an award at wing forward.
Question are also asked about Ryan McHugh’s selection at wing forward when the Donegal man plays at wing back. And in Pat’s mind he’s still behind Gallagher and McBrearty in Donegal’s pecking order.
To conclude his criticism, Spillane grouped Dublin’s Dean Rock, along with Shane Walsh, Damien Comer or Niall Sludden. All bona fide forwards sitting watching on as a wing back takes one of the forward positions.
“We have all heard it said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee.” Pat pointed out.
“Congratulations to the All-Star selectors for coming up with the GAA’s version of a camel. I didn’t think it was possible to screw up the selection this year, but boy they did it in style.”