Over the past week the Teams of the Year in the Premier League, Championship, League One and League Two were announced, with five Irish players included across four divisions.
Middlesbrough’s Darren Randolph was included in goal in the Championship’s best XI, Luton’s James Collins and Sunderland’s Aiden McGeady were in the third tier equivalent while Bury pair Joe Murphy and Jay O’Shea made League Two’s Team of the Year.
But if the team was solely selected from Irish players who would make it? We take a look at the Irish Team of the Year from across the English leagues.
Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph
Joe Murphy’s exploits have been sensational for promotion-chasing Bury in League Two this season, but Darren Randolph has been the standout Irish goalkeeper in England this campaign.
In his second season at the Riverside, Randolph has kicked on once again keeping 19 clean sheets as Middlesbrough look to secure a playoff spot.
The Irish number one has also helped Tony Pulis’ side keep the joint best defensive record in the league conceding just 39 goals in 44 games.
Right-Back: Matt Doherty
What an addition to the Premier League Wolves and Matt Doherty have been this season. Desperately unlucky to miss out on the PFA Team of the Year, Doherty has been sensational in his side’s push for Europe.
Marauding up and down the right-hand side for the Molyneux club, Doherty has managed four goals and six assists this season, making him one of the most productive defenders in the league.
Doherty’s work rate and consistency have epitomised everything good about this Wolves side this campaign and the 27-year old will no doubt be hoping to be playing European football next season.
Centre-Back: John Egan
Some eyebrows were raised when Sheffield United splashed £4 million on Brentford captain and centre-back John Egan in the summer. No one questioned his ability, but the fee was the most the club had ever spent on a player.
Egan, though, has already more than justified his fee with his incredible displays at the heart of the Blades’ defence.
Alongside Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell, Egan has been a vital part of the joint best defence in the division as Chris Wilder’s side inch ever closer to a Premier League return.
The 24-year old’s leadership qualities and solidity at the back have been crucial in Sheffield United’s promotion push and in truth he was incredibly unlucky to miss out on the Championship Team of the Year.
Centre-Back: Shane Duffy
It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Brighton in the Premier League, but there’s no question that Shane Duffy has been a bright spark throughout.
Duffy’s quality at the back is abundantly clear and he had been outstanding during the first half of the season in particular.
The 27-year old has also continued to add goals to his game this season grabbing five thanks to his aerial threat from corner-kicks.
Left-Back: Enda Stevens
Another Sheffield United defender, Enda Stevens has developed into one of the most well-rounded left-backs in all of the English divisions.
Stevens is as solid as they come defensively but has also grown as a player going forward, notching up seven assists this season as well as three goals in his last four games at a crucial time of the season for Sheffield United.
The former Shamrock Rovers man has also shown he can slot in at centre-back when required making him a vital part of the Blades’ promotion push.
Defensive Midfield: Glenn Whelan
In terms of goal involvement, Glenn Whelan’s Aston Villa teammate Conor Hourihane has excelled this season scoring 7 goals and creating 11, but in terms of importance to the team, the 35-year old far outweighs his Irish counterpart.
Whelan is having, for all intents and purposes, the best season of his career and has been a vital part of Aston Villa’s incredible recent form which has seen them win a club record 10 games in a row.
Sitting at the base of their midfield while the likes of John McGinn and Jack Grealish support Villa’s attack, Whelan has been the calm and experienced head required in a promotion push.
Left-Midfield: Aiden McGeady
Another whose age has not hampered him this season, Aiden McGeady has looked back to his very best with Sunderland at the ripe old age of 33.
The winger has been hugely influential for the Black Cats in the third tier, looking a step above the level at times this season as they look for an immediate return to the Championship.
McGeady has scored 11 goals and grabbed five assists this season and was deservedly included in the PFA Team of the Year in League One.
Attacking Midfield: Alan Browne
The Cork native has been unlucky with injury over the past month or so, but there’s no doubt that his form with Preston this season is deserving of a spot in our team.
Browne has grown into a leader at Deepdale and is one of their most influential players, captaining the side on a number of occasions.
The 24-year old has scored 11 goals and notched up five assists from midfield and his energy and work rate have made him a true fan favourite with the Preston faithful.
Right-Midfield: Ronan Curtis
As far as first seasons in English football go, they don’t come much better than Ronan Curtis’ at Portsmouth.
The attacker joined the Fratton Park club from Derry last season and found himself involved in the starting XI straight away under Kenny Jackett and it’s safe to say he’s repaid his manager’s faith tenfold.
Curtis, who has predominantly played out wide for Pompey this season, has been involved in goals left right and centre, scoring 11 and creating 12 as his side push for promotion to the Championship.
Striker: David McGoldrick
Let go by Ipswich in the summer, David McGoldrick’s return to form this season with high-flying Sheffield United has been nothing short of sensational.
The 31-year-old arrived at Bramall Lane on a free and has added experience and assuredness to Sheffield United’s side while chipping in with 15 goals, his best goalscoring return at this level.
McGoldrick’s partnership with Billy Sharp and recent ability to step up in his teammate’s absence has made him one of Sheffield United’s most vital players this season.
Striker: James Collins
A crucial reason behind Luton Town’s almost guaranteed promotion to the Championship, James Collins was deservedly included in the League One Team of the Year.
Collins has scored 24 goals in 42 league games this season, the most in the division, and has shown that he is more than capable of operating at a high level.
The Luton man’s goals also saw him called up to the Irish squad for their games against Gibraltar and Georgia.