With only four teams remaining in this year’s All-Ireland senior football championship, we take a look at five prospects for Footballer Of The Year.
With Tyrone eliminated, the prospects of Sean Cavanagh, Peter Harte and Mattie Donnelly have been extinguished. Ryan McHugh of Donegal has also had a fantastic season for Donegal but won’t get the award due to Donegal’s early exit from this year’s championship.
Cillian O’Connor (Mayo)
Having won Young Footballer Of The Year on two occasions, the Ballintubber man’s performances this year have him as a real contender for the main award. O’Connor’s performance in the All-Ireland quarter final win over Tyrone was one of the best seen by a corner-forward against a blanket defence.
O’Connor’s dead ball accuracy is critical to Mayo’s success and should Mayo overcome Tipperary, it will be largely down to O’Connor’s scoring ability.
Michael Quinlivan (Tipperary)
Tipperary’s remarkable run to the All-Ireland semi-final has been largely down to full-forward Michael Quinlivan. He has formed a dangerous partnership with fellow inside-forward Conor Sweeney, as Tipp have battled back from their Munster final defeat to make an an All-Ireland semi-final.
Quinlivan’s style is somewhat old-fashioned but it doesn’t take away from his effectiveness.
Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)
Ciarán Kilkenny is a crucial figure in Jim Gavin’s Dublin side and will be massively influential if Dublin are to claim the All-Ireland title for the second year in a row. The Castleknock man has had a great season to date and if Dublin do win Sam it will more than likely be either Diarmuid Connolly or Kilkenny that follows in the footsteps of Jack McCaffrey in claiming the coveted award.
Kilkenny’s calmness and composure on the ball has seen him gain many plaudits this summer.
Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin)
Connolly is the most naturally gifted footballer in the game. His discipline has been questionable but should Connolly ignore the players out to target him, the St. Vincent’s club man can help the Dubs claim Sam for the second year in a row.
Connolly’s class is evident day in and day out. He glides around the pitch and his point-taking ability from both feet is simply breath-taking.
Paul Geaney (Kerry)
Kerry haven’t had many stand-out performers to date in this year’s championship. They have eased past the challenges of Clare, Tipperary and Clare to reach the semi-final stages. Geaney has been their most prominent player without doubt.
The Dingle man will need to be on top form if the Kingdom are to beat the Dubs.
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena