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The best starting XV of Gaelic footballers who have never won an All-Star

Who will be the unlucky players to miss out?

Ahead of the 2021 GAA inter-county season returning, we wanted to take a look back at some of the greatest ever Gaelic football players to never win an All-Star.

To make it a little bit more difficult, we’ve tried to fit them all into a starting XV GAA All-Stars team of their own.

croke park

Pundit Arena GAA All-Stars XV.

We have decided to limit the list to players that retired post-2000.

And yes, we know we’ve probably forgotten some of your county’s best ever players so let us know who you would have selected and more importantly, who you would take out.

Who knows? You might end up changing our minds.

1. Shane Curran (Roscommon).

gaa all stars

Former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane ‘Cake’ Curran gets the nod for the number one jersey.

One of the great characters of the game and loved a celebration in front of a crowd.

2. Ryan McCluskey (Fermanagh).

gaelic football

Ryan McCluskey was a very consistent performer for Fermanagh over the years, without necessarily getting the credit he deserved.

He was involved in the great 2004 season that saw the ‘Lake County’ come within a kick of a ball of reaching that year’s All-Ireland final.

Eventually he announced his retirement in 2018, after giving almost 20 years to the county cause.

3. Gary Fahy (Galway).

all stars

Galway’s Gary Fahy helped Galway win All-Ireland titles in 1998 and 2001 but never won an All-Star.

He retired in 2004 having won two All-Irelands and five Connacht championships. Not bad.

4. Tommy Griffin (Kerry).

Tommy Griffin was one of Kerry’s most important defenders in the 2000s, his versatility allowing him to slot into many different positions across the back-line.

Ultimately, this may have cost him his All-Star but he does have the small consolation of five All-Ireland medals in his back pocket.

5. Noel O’Leary (Cork).

never won an all star

Noel O’Leary is remembered most for his battles with 2009 Footballer of the Year Paul Galvin, during the many great Cork-Kerry matches.

The Cork defender played a vital role in his county’s 2010 All-Ireland victory but unfortunately, an elusive All-Star never came.

6. Eoin Brosnan (Kerry).

Another Kerry player who could play in a number of different positions, we’ve decided to slot Eoin Brosnan in at centre-back.

Brosnan played a vital role in many of Kerry’s big matches during the 2000s but once again, he was overlooked for an All-Star. Just the three All-Irelands though.

7. Aaron Kernan (Armagh).

Despite winning the 2005 Young Footballer of the Year, Aaron Kernan never managed to win that All-Star award.

That year, Kerry’s Tomas Ó Sé and Tyrone’s Philip Jordan pipped him to the wing-back spots.

He can also count himself unlucky to join the Armagh set-up just after their success of the previous few years under Joe Kernan.

8. Gary Brennan (Clare).

What more can you say about Gary Brennan? An absolute stalwart of Clare football who put it up to the best midfielders, including many of Cork and Kerry’s finest.

Held in high regard by, not just his teammates, but some of the direct opponents he came up against, including two-time Footballer of the Year Brian Fenton. High praise.

9. John Galvin (Limerick).

john galvin

John Galvin was one of Limerick’s most influential players during the period where they came close to winning Munster titles in the early noughties.

Similar to Brennan, Kerry and Cork midfielders knew they were in a battle every time they stepped into the Gaelic Grounds to take on Limerick.

10. Jason Sherlock (Dublin).

Spent the majority of his career closer to goal but we believe Jason Sherlock could do a job at wing-forward.

You would have gotten some odds on Sherlock not to pick up an All-Star during his entire career after he burst onto the scene in Dublin’s 1995 All-Ireland winning campaign.

Unlucky to join the Dubs during a barren spell where they didn’t win Leinster from 1996 until beating Kildare in 2002.

11. Michael Meehan (Galway).

We wanted a ball-playing centre-forward who could ping the passes into our outrageously good full-forward line.

Michael Meehan made his inter-county debut in 2003 and went on to win three Connacht titles.

Scorer of many a good goal, including a last-minute free-kick against Cork, he gets the nod.

12. Ross Munnelly (Laois).

Ross Munnelly is one of Laois’ greatest-ever players but, in a recurring theme of this article, he can count himself very unlucky not to have won an All-Star, particularly while under Mick O’Dwyer.

Laois won Leinster in 2003, followed by two good showings in 2004 and 2005 but nevertheless, Munnelly was overlooked.

13. Dara O’Cinneide (Kerry).

The name that probably sprung to mind first when you read this headline, how on earth did Dara O’Cinneide not win an All-Star?

In what has become a popular quiz question, O’Cinneide was probably a victim of moving around a lot during games and maybe going into the ‘solid’ category instead of ‘flashy’ or ‘breathtaking’ during his performances.

Nevertheless, there’s no real excuse for the lack of an All-Star to his name. Just the three All-Irelands to soften the blow.

14. John Heslin (Westmeath).

john heslin

Unlucky to be playing in this era of Leinster dominance from Dublin, John Heslin still had his moments in the province.

The one that springs to mind is the epic Leinster semi-final comeback against Meath in 2015, where his left-footed goal towards the end of the game earned Westmeath a place in the final against the Dubs.

15. Jamie Clarke (Armagh).

gaa all-stars

One of the GAA’s most-talked about forwards, it’s fair to say Jamie Clarke has not always done it on the inter-county stage.

Probably a victim of the emergence of Jim McGuinness’ sweeper systems in Ulster, as well as Armagh’s own defensive style of play.

However, he has had his moments of quality and we just couldn’t pick a starting XV without him in it.

Pundit Arena GAA All-Stars XV.

1. Shane Curran (Roscommon).

2. Ryan McCluskey (Fermanagh).

3. Gary Fahy (Galway).

4. Tommy Griffin (Kerry).

5. Noel O’Leary (Cork).

6. Eoin Brosnan (Kerry).

7. Aaron Kernan (Armagh).

8. Gary Brennan (Clare).

9. John Galvin (Limerick).

10. Jason Sherlock (Dublin).

11. Michael Meehan (Galway).

12. Ross Munnelly (Laois).

13. Dara O’Cinneide (Kerry).

14. John Heslin (Westmeath).

15. Jamie Clarke (Armagh).

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