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Winners & Losers From The 2015 Football Championship

As the 2015 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship draws to a close this Sunday week, we reflect back on the aspects of the championship that have made both a positive and negative impacts.

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Winners

Fermanagh

Nobody can deny that Pete McGrath has done a phenomenal job with this outfit in 2015. At the beginning of the calendar year, many would have placed Fermanagh at the bottom of the pile in Ulster. However, for a team with limited resources, they punched well above their weight.

The emergence of Thomas Corrigan and Sean Quigley made the bigger teams take notice of this improving side. If their rise to prominence continues, who knows what could become of them next year seeing what they did against Dublin this year.

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David Moran

In a championship where teams have stood out more so than individuals, David Moran has been Mr. Consistent. A natural-born athlete with great fielding ability, incredible strength and quite an impressive boot, Moran certainly deserves the favourite tag for Player of the Year.

He has led Kerry to yet another All-Ireland decider and if the Kingdom are going to come out on top, Moran will have to be at his very best against the imposing force that is the Dubs.

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Marty Morrissey

Marty has always been a popular household name but this year his acclaim has soared through the roof. RTÉ’s sport department has taken a lot of criticism in recent times, losing out on the Rugby World Cup to its nearest rivals over at TV3 as well as showing poor coverage of the country’s over-achieving amateur boxers.

However, ‘The Marty Squad’ has been a master-stroke for Ryle Nugent and the team in Donnybrook. Marty’s light-hearted personality has won him the hearts and minds of the Irish public had he not had them already. His response towards the harsh Joe Brolly comments during the year is testament to his charming character.

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Listen to our dedicated GAA podcast, The 16th Man, below.

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Losers

Diarmuid Connolly

Two weeks ago Diarmuid Connolly would have certainly been in the “Winners” category. For much of the championship, many would say that he had one hand on the Player of the Year gong. He was the outright favourite as Dublin’s talisman.

However, the events of the past fortnight, both his sending off in the first game against Mayo and his poor showing the second day have probably done his chances a huge blow. Having said that, a big game in the final could drive the St. Vincent’s man back into serious contention.

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Mayo

It has been a long five years of sacrifice and labour for this side. They won five Connacht titles along the way but have missed out on the holy grail on each occasion. Haunted by the dreaded curse, one must question whether this Mayo team have the energy to continue.

Two All-Ireland defeats followed by two All-Ireland semi-final replay defeats in succession is hard for any team. Mayo GAA have exhausted all options. A new management set up this year brought about a feeling of optimism for the western county. But the fresh faces failed in their quest to land Sam and it’s back to the drawing board again.

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Provincial Championships

The four provincial championships are slowing becoming more tedious as the years roll on. This year’s provincial games failed to muster any real drama apart from the Munster final draw between Cork and Kerry. Besides that, it wasn’t until Croke Park, yet again, until we saw some serious spectacles. There has never been a better time to revamp than presently.

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Referees

There is no denying that referees have among the toughest jobs in sport. However, since the introduction of the black card, pressure on officiating decisions have increased significantly. The appeals process currently in place is yet another factor increasing the pressure on referees.

The burden piled on players in the modern game is often brought up. However, it is miniscule in comparison to that of referees. After all, they lack the united support of thousands of fans. It’s a very lonely trade that is not getting any easier.

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Undecided

Tyrone

The great Tyrone of the noughties has finally come to an end. However, a new generation of very promising footballers have arrived. Tyrone began the year with success in the under-21 championship and some of the stars from that team integrated seamlessly into the senior panel.

Developing a young promising team into All-Ireland contenders can take time but Mickey Harte brought this team to the brink. We also must keep in mind that a lot of the young players brought into the team during the championship have never played a league game.

However, Tyrone have also become the bad guys of football. Their style is not one which attracts a lot of praise and the whole “Hairgate” fiasco hasn’t helped their popularity ratings.

Aonghus Ó Maicín, Pundit Arena

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Listen to our dedicated GAA podcast, The 16th Man, below.

About The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.