Ahead of the final of the Allianz Football Leagues this weekend, we look at the standout performers of the Division 1 campaign. Who do you think should make the team?
1. Rory Beggan (Monaghan)
Remarkably, Monaghan only conceded one goal in seven games across the campaign. This is a stat which forms the backbone for their impressive third-place finish in Division 1, ending up just one point behind Dublin. Beggan was solid throughout, providing accurate distribution and scoring eight points over the campaign.
2. Jonny Cooper (Dublin)
Cooper hasn’t been making too many headlines for his performances, instead, going about his business quietly and effectively. Perhaps his standout showing came against Kerry, when he was tasked with marshalling David Clifford after the young Fossa star had gotten off to a flying start. Once Cooper was tasked with the job, scores from last year’s All-Ireland Minor winner soon dried up.
3. Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh (Galway)
The Leitir Móir man was flagged as one to watch before the campaign, and he didn’t disappoint, helping Galway to six wins and a draw across the seven games in the campaign. He has been a real addition to Kevin Walsh’s defence, and the Tribesmen will be hoping he keeps up the form in the coming months.
4. Kieran Duffy (Monaghan)
Monaghan’s aforementioned defensive record was hugely impressive, and it wouldn’t have been for the efforts of their back division. Duffy is one of a number of backs who could have been named in this team.
5. Niall Scully (Dublin)
Although Scully has played the majority of his football in the forwards this spring, he has been deployed in the backs on occasions, and we’ve shoe-horned him in at wing-back to make space further up the field. Scully has been a key figure for Dublin throughout the League, and will be one of Jim Gavin’s go-to forwards throughout the summer. It’s little wonder why. The Templeogue Synge St star hit the ground running throughout the league and is now an integral part of the set-up.
6. John Small (Dublin)
The Ballymun Kickhams star continues to reward the faith shown in him by Jim Gavin, and has pushed on in this league campaign to hold this back division together with some neat play.
7. Colm Boyle (Mayo)
The Mayo star did come in for criticism at times due to indiscipline, but he has been excellent on the ball. He showed again why he is one of the best in the game, as Stephen Rochford’s side maintained their Division 1 status.
8. Brian Fenton (Dublin)
The two-time All-Star has continued his remarkable form in blue this spring, acting as the driving force in the Dubs’ engine room. Making scoring contributions, the Raheny man showed just why he is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the game.
9. Kevin Feely (Kildare)
It may have been a disastrous league for Kildare in terms of their standing on the table, but Cian O’Neill can take some positives from certain displays. Kevin Feely was a driving force at midfield, accurate from frees, and indeed contributed to the scoring tally from play.
10. Brian Howard (Dublin)
Howard has been one of the stars for Dublin so far this league, spraying mouthwatering passes around the field and not shirking away from knocking over points when needed.
11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)
The Castleknock star has been considered as one of the country’s premier footballers in recent seasons but is yet to put in a campaign strong enough to win Footballer of the Year. However, judging by the way he has started 2018, this could well be his year.
12. Jamie Brennan (Donegal)
The Donegal forward has shown that he is capable of making a big impression this year for Declan Bonner’s charges, despite their relegation. His score-taking was on the money as he showed he can be a valuable asset for the county in the summer.
13. Paddy McBrearty (Donegal)
Although Donegal were ultimately relegated, McBrearty showed enough across the seven games to suggest he is up there among the best in the business right now.
14. Damien Comer (Galway)
The NUIG student put in a huge campaign for the Tribesmen, leading the line and acted as the focal point of their attack throughout the Allianz League. Not many expected them to be in the final, but Comer delivering big scoring returns guided the side.
15. Eamon Brannigan (Galway)
Brannigan delivered clutch scores for the Tribesmen throughout the league when needed most at times, and is another star making waves for this exciting young Galway team.
This article was supported by Allianz, supporting all 32 counties through the Allianz Leagues.