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The Greatest Gaelic Football XV To Retire Without An All-Star

In this GAA XV, we are selecting Gaelic football’s great All-Star snubs.

Our criteria for this list is that each of the players selected must have retired from inter-county football at some point during the 21st century. 

Here is our greatest Gaelic football XV to never win an All-Star award.

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1 – Shane Curran 

A maverick of the game. One of the great characters of Gaelic games. Never mistake Cake’s wild attitude for weakness, however, as he was one of the game’s best goalkeepers. 

He did it in the League of Ireland. He did it out in the wild west. Shane Curran is our shot-stopper in this selection. 

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2 – Ryan McCluskey  

Fermanagh picked up two All-Star awards in 2004 but they could have had five. McCluskey was unfortunate to miss out as they stormed their way to an All-Ireland semi-final. 

He retired almost 14 years later as one of the game’s longest-serving players. McCluskey managed to juggle a successful Irish League career throughout. 

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3 – Gary Fahey 

An All-Ireland winning captain who never won an All-Star. Fahey was a pivotal member of the Galway side in the latter stages of his career. 

Overlooked for an All-Star on numerous occasions before his eventual retirement in 2004.

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4 – Dermot Brady 

gaelic football all-star

Like McCluskey, the Longford man retired as one of the longest-serving players in inter-county football. 

A sticky corner-back who loved causing havoc for forwards, Brady was in excellent form for Longford on their extended run in 2006 that saw them beaten by a Kieran Donaghy inspired Kerry. 

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5 – Noel O’Leary 

The Cork hardman should have been awarded for his 2010 All-Ireland final appearance alone. 

Not only was it the pinnacle of a long and eventful career but Martin Clarke, Down’s key player, said himself that O’Leary marked him out of the game

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6 – Eoin Brosnan 

gaelic football all-star

We’ve cheated slightly by throwing the Dr Crokes man in at centre-back. While most of his Kerry career was at centre-forward he was equally adept here. 

Brosnan was a key component of the Kerry team of the noughties. The fact he never picked up a Gaelic football All-Star along the way is a travesty.

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7 – Aaron Kernan 

Won Young Footballer of the Year in 2005 but never made it onto the Gaelic football All-Star team. While this is common enough, it shouldn’t have happened to Kernan. 

A consistent performer across his decade stint with Armagh, 2005 and 2014 stick out as two seasons the Crossmaglen man had his hand in the air for an award.

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8 – Gary Brennan 

gaelic football all-star

Widely recognised as one of the game’s great midfielders. Gary Brennan’s Clare career deserved more than it gave him. 

Namechecked by Brian Fenton as one of the toughest opponents out there, says enough really. 

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9 – Kevin Hughes 

Kevin Hughes was pivotal to the Tyrone cause in 2003 and 2008. As solid as it got when it comes to midfielders. 

Hughes was named Man of the Match following Tyrone’s maiden All-Ireland win. 

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10 – Leighton Glynn 

The Wicklow man proved time and time again how talented he was while on international duty for Ireland in the Compromised Rules. 

Glynn had some stellar seasons throughout the most successful period in Wicklow football history. Unfortunately, minnow county’s had stopped getting their All-Star credits by 2009, arguably the season Glynn should have been awarded. 

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11 – John McEntee 

gaelic football all-star

McEntee was central to the great Armagh side of the noughties. An effective third-midfielder from the centre-forward position, his best work often went unseen which is why he’s on this list. 

A strong presence from kick-outs with a left-foot so suited to Armagh’s diagonal ball playing-style, that you couldn’t leave him off the field. 

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12 – Paul Barden 

gaelic football all-star

Constantly earmarked as one of the best players to never win a Gaelic football All-Star award.

Barden is up there with the greatest players in Longford’s history. His career deserved individual recognition. 

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13 – Dara O Cinniede 

Our second All-Ireland winning captain to feature on this team. 

O’Cinniede was an ever-reliable presence on a Kerry side littered with talent, it’s surprising he never picked up a Gaelic football All-Star award. 

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14 – Rory Gallagher 

This selection might surprise some but Gallaher was among the best forwards in Ireland at the turn of the century. 

Finished top scorer in the Ulster Championship for three consecutive seasons between 2000-02. Registered 3-9 against Monaghan in the 2002 Ulster SFC, a provincial record. This deserved to be awarded.  

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15 – Jason Sherlock 

Jayo never won a Gaelic football All-Star? Not even in 1995? Go figure! 

An easy addition to this team. 

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Check out some of our other GAA select-XV by following the link below. 

Gaelic Football’s Hardman XV Of The 21st Century
Pundit Arena’s Select XV Of Gaelic Footballers Fit To Beat The Dubs On All-Ireland Day

Gaelic Football’s Greatest XV To Retire Without An All-Ireland Medal
Pundit Arena’s Gaelic Football XV Of The 1990s
Gaelic Football’s Select XV Containing One Player Per County
Pundit Arena’s Gaelic Football XV Of The 2000s

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