It wasn’t the most memorable final in memory, and Dublin’s victory over Kerry on Sunday heralded an end to what was perhaps an underwhelming 2015 championship. Nonetheless, it’s the time of year where we turn to the All-Star Awards. It is always likely to cause some debate, but here is our selection. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your thoughts on our Facebook page.
1. Brendan Kealy (Kerry)
The Kerry shot-stopper was the best goalkeeper of 2015. While Stephen Cluxton lived up to his impeccably high standards, Kealy gets the nod. Having played on the bench in 2014, the Kilcummin man was given a starting berth this year, and did not disappoint.
2. Shane Enright (Kerry)
The 27 year-old was the stand-out defender for Kerry this year, and really took on more responsibility on the team. He has made the step up, and helped the Kingdom to a Munster title and an All-Ireland Final appearance.
3. Rory O’Carroll (Dublin)
The Kilmacud Crokes man is undoubtedly the finest full-back in the game at present, and is likely to win a second All-Star award two years after his first.
4. Philly McMahon (Dublin)
Controversy aside, the Ballymun Kickhams player had a quality season for the Boys in Blue, in a position where competition for starting roles is intense.
5. Lee Keegan (Mayo)
In a season of what might have been for Mayo, Lee Keegan impressed throughout. After two titanic struggles against Dublin in the semi-final, Keegan was one who almost helped them over the line.
6. Cian O’Sullivan (Dublin)
Another who won an All-Star in 2013, O’Sullivan is a player who looks at home at centre-back, and was the engine of the Dublin side throughout the Summer.
7. Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
No elaboration needed. Moving on…
8. Brian Fenton (Dublin)
Mattie Donnelly is unlucky to miss out, but Fenton truly justified his starting place in the All-Ireland Final with a man of the match display.
9. Diarmuid Connolly
Connolly is moved to midfield on this selection for the purposes of fitting others in further up the field. He had an amazing 2015, and is arguably the best footballer in the country at the moment.
10. Donnchadh Walsh (Kerry)
Walsh led the Kerry charge throughout the summer, and helped James O’Donoghue keep the scoreboard ticking over.
11. Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin)
The former Aussie Rules player is fast becoming one of the very best footballers in the country. While it remains to be seen if he may join the Dublin hurlers in the coming seasons, he is operating at the very top level.
12. Bernard Brogan (Dublin)
Brogan was consistent with his scoring throughout the championship, and the 1-6 against Fermanagh in the quarter-final dug the Dubs out of a hole.
13. Conor McManus (Monaghan)
Monaghan captured a second Ulster title in three years this year, with McManus scoring six points in the final victory over Donegal. It was a case of deja vu for McManus and Co. losing to Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final as Ulster champions.
14. Aidan O’Shea (Mayo)
O’Shea was somewhat halted by Dublin in the semi-final, but ought to win an All-Star for his Connacht Final performance alone. Donegal and Galway also felt the full brunt of the Breaffy powerhouse.
15. John Heslin (Westmeath)
All-Star awards are for the whole season, and not just for August and September. Heslin carried Westmeath to an historic first ever win over Meath, after beating Louth and Wexford to reach what was only the county’s fourth ever Leinster Final.
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Brian Barry, Pundit Arena.