Mayo collected their first Allianz Football League crown on Sunday after an 18-year wait and it is difficult to begrudge many of their stars a national winners medal.
Overall, it was a fantastic league campaign from start to finish. It began with Monaghan shocking Dublin and ended with Mayo finally winning a Croke Park final after nine unsuccessful attempts.
With that said we have tried to sit down at Pundit Arena HQ and fairly select an Allianz All-Stars team based across all four divisions of the Football Leagues.
To narrow down our selection we kept our selection strictly based on players who qualified for the Allianz League Finals.
1) Shane Ryan (Kerry)
Diarmuid O’Connor’s goal in the final will haunt Ryan but there can be no denying that he had a strong league campaign between the sticks for the Kingdom and looks to be a safe pair of hands in a position where they have struggled before.
2) Chris Barrett (Mayo)
Was absolutely dynamite in the Division 1 final which meant it was difficult to leave him out of this selection. Barrett is 31 now and slowly becoming a legend of Mayo football.
3) Brendan Rogers (Derry)
The Slaughtneil man is vital to the Derry cause and was impervious at full back as they swanned their way through Division 4.
His absence at certain points down through the years have for sure played a part in why Derry found themselves in the basement decision in the first place.
4) Keith Higgins (Mayo)
Will finish the game as one of the best corner-backs to ever do it. Can man-mark, can sweep, can tackle and attack. Higgins was excellent on Sunday as Mayo got over the line.
His goal against Tyrone was a personal highlight.
5) Stephen Attride (Laois)
After missing much of last year, the Laois captain is clearly making up for lost time as they powered through to this weekend’s Division 3 final in Croke Park.
A solid wing-back who is vital for Laois’ continued development.
6) Chrissy McKaigue (Derry)
Derry’s captain, talisman and leader. McKaigue is the county’s best player and influential to their success so far this season.
Is solid at the back, can man-mark, sweep and drive forward when needed to. An excellent showing in Croke Park on Saturday meant he was never missing out.
7) Raymond Mulvey (Leitrim)
A corner-forward turned wing-back, Mulvey was excellent throughout Leitrim’s highly successful league campaign and popped up with some vital scores when they needed it most.
8) Matthew Ruane (Mayo)
The best newcomer to come out the 2019 Allianz Football League. Built a hugely successful partnership with club mate, Aidan O’Shea that was key to Mayo’s victory on Sunday.
Scored goals in both games against Kerry to drag Mayo back into it.
9) Aidan O’Shea (Mayo)
It’s a case of can’t have one without the other. O’Shea has been a colossus from start to finish. His kick passing is as good as it gets and he is one of the most underrated tacklers in the modern game.
At 28, O’Shea could be headed into the best form of his career based on his early showing in 2019.
10) Mickey Newman (Meath)
Vital to the Meath cause. Kicked 1-28 en route to Saturday’s league final where they fell short against Donegal.
Newman’s return to the side comes as a huge boost for the county who now look to Division 1 football next season.
11) Sean O’Shea (Kerry)
The young Kenmare man was possibly the best player this campaign.
On his way to becoming the best playmaker in the game and is scary accurate from dead-balls. His future is bright and so is Kerry’s.
12) Diarmuid O’Connor (Mayo)
The first Mayo man to lift a national title in 18-years. O’Connor was an inspired choice as captain from James Horan and showed his worth on Sunday.
When the chips were down, the Ballintubber man kicked 1-2 in the final 20 minutes to power Mayo to victory.
13) Evan O’Carroll (Laois)
Arguably Laois’ best player. Great in the air and deadly accurate. Only needs a half-chance to score and could prove the difference between the two sides in Saturday’s Division 3 final.
14) Michael Murphy (Donegal)
May have only returned to the fray in Round Five, but Murphy’s contribution cannot be understated. Returned to the field of play as Donegal trailed Armagh following back-to-back defeats.
On that night he scored 1-2 from play. He ruined Cork the following week and then produced an excellent display in Croke Park to fire the Tir Conaill men back to Division 1.
15) Ryan O’Rourke (Leitrim)
Started the league like a house on fire with 2-7 against Wexford. it set the tone for Leitrim who were ruthless en route to the Division 4 final.
If they are to continue improving, keeping this deadly marksman fit is a must.