Two teams have qualified, two more are out of the running while the rest are still battling for the final spots in the semi-finals. It’s all reflected in the latest Team of the Week.
1 Rory Beggan (Monaghan)
The clear winner of this spot, Rory Beggan was outstanding for Monaghan yesterday. His kick-outs were inch perfect and he had a near perfect record from placed balls, scoring four points. There was little he could do about David Clifford’s goal but he did make a brilliant save earlier in the game.
2 Jonny Cooper (Dublin)
Jonny Cooper has been so in-form this season but he raised his game to a different level in Tyrone on Saturday. He was ruthless in defence with an incredible work rate and at times had very little regard for his personal safety, especially for his fine block to deny Conor McAliskey a point.
3 Drew Wylie (Monaghan)
The old reliables really stood up for Monaghan at the weekend and Drew Wylie was once again their talisman in defence. The 29-year-old showed admirable tenacity and made Paul Geaney redundant for the majority of the game with the Kerry legend withdrawn in the 43rd minute.
4 Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)
In a Kerry performance that seemed rattled at times and unsure of the game plan, Tom O’Sullivan really stood out and made his mark on the team. On numerous occasions he made runs forward setting up play for the Kerry full-forward line while also contributing two points from play.
5 Karl O’Connell (Monaghan)
One of the stand-out performers from the weekend, Karl O’Connell was once again exceptional for Monaghan. He ran himself into the ground during the game and it was his tenacity that made it so difficult for Kerry to get possession, especially in the first half. Contributed a point at a vital time.
6 Gavin White (Kerry)
Another player who impressed when Kerry were struggling to remain in contention, Gavin White was one of the young players who really took the fight to Monaghan. He led from the back and pushed Kerry forward, forcing their attacking play when. Is a real leader in this team.
7 Kevin Flynn (Kildare)
Kevin Flynn has been one of Kildare’s most consistent players this season but yesterday he showed some additional flashes of brilliance. While his contributions can often fly under the radar, Flynn is key to Kildare’s set-up. He is so comfortable going forward and and is so decisive on the ball.
8 James McCarthy (Dublin)
James McCarthy’s goal proved to be the difference between Dublin and Tyrone at the weekend. Showed great vision to get himself in a good position and took the eventual shot. Niall Morgan saved his initial effort but could not keep out the rebound. His must be the first name on Gavin’s team sheet.
9 Tom Flynn (Galway)
Galway’s dominance in midfield was a huge factor in their eventual victory over Kildare and Tom Flynn was central to that. His fielding and distribution of the ball was exceptional and while he showed great determination to be involved in so much of the play. Also scored a point to round off his performance.
10 Brian Howard (Dublin)
Brian Howard was named man-of-the-match in the game against Tyrone at the weekend and is quickly becoming one of Dublin’s best players. For a young player he is so composed on the ball while his fielding is exceptional. Only scored 0-1 but had a much bigger contribution. Young Player of the Year?
11 Seán O’Shea (Kerry)
He was Kerry’s constant when they looked lost and unanchored. O’Shea was their only scorer for the first 20 minutes of the game and the youngster was not only reliable from placed balls but also impressed in open play. He finished the day with eight points, all but one coming from frees.
12 Ian Burke (Galway)
Ian Burke is often the unsung hero for Galway with the focus often on his fellow forwards, Shane Walsh and Damien Comer but Burke has become essential to Galway’s style of play. He is the cog that keeps their attacks turning with incredible work rate and vision to help those around him.
13 David Clifford (Kerry)
“DAAAAVID CLIFFORD, our saviour” rang out through the Radio Kerry airwaves on Sunday evening and they hit the nail on the head. When he was given the precious possession he looked for, he turned it into a score with 0-3 from play before his biggest contribution – that spectacular goal.
14 Michael Murphy (Donegal)
Michael Murphy was back to his absolute best for Donegal on Saturday. When he’s in that form he is just unmarkable and Roscommon were unable to cope with his sheer power and size. He was the star of the show, scoring nine points while having a hand in a number of other scores.
15 Conor McManus (Monaghan)
McManus was just inspirational for Monaghan yesterday with everything he touched turning to gold. He expertly scored a goal after just three minutes before continuing to terrorise the Kerry defence. He was back to his sparkling best, finishing the game with 1-9 to his name, 1-4 from play.