O'Hora the unluckiest absentee as The Sunday Game names its team of the year
It's a strange sight, you'd have to say, to see only one Dublin footballer making a team of the year but this was a strange year.
It was the year of Gaelic football's 'great disruptors' as Tyrone, yet again, came from an un-fancied position to win their fourth All-Ireland ever and their fourth of this millennium. It's hardly any surprise then that they led the way when the Sunday Game picked its team of the year with eight of Fergal Logan and Brian Dooher's team earning themselves a spot.
The brilliant Niall Morgan set the tone in the goals and with their aggression, their skill, their bravery and indeed their boldness, Tyrone men were sprinkled throughout right up to Darren McCurry in the corner. As for the Dubs, Ciaran Kilkenny was their sole representative but as you peaked ahead to 2022, you wouldn't bet against those great men from bouncing back again.
The selection panel, comprised of Colm O'Rourke, Oisin McConville, Ciaran Whelan and Sean Cavanagh were in agreement that just ahead of Conor Meyler and Niall Morgan and Paudie Hampsey, Kieran McGeary was out on his own as the Footballer of the Year. The energetic half back had a powerful season in the red and white, kicking scores, building attacks and thundering into the opposition. Tyrone are a team of hard men and McGeary was a brick wall.
Among the unlucky absentees, you'd have to say that Mayo's Padraig O'Hora was as unlucky as he was to have been subbed off in Saturday's final while Ryan O'Donoghue, Brian Kennedy and the championship's top scorer Sean O'Shea couldn't have been too far away.
The Sunday Game team of the year
1. Niall Morgan (Tyrone)
2. Paddy Durcan (Mayo)
3. Lee Keegan (Mayo)
"Lee Keegan is just a phenomenal leader, and he carried the fight to Tyrone when no-one else did. He's a phenomenal leader," said Oisin McConville.
4. Padraig Hampsey (Tyrone)
5. Niall Sludden (Tyrone)
6. Kieran McGeary (Tyrone)
7. Peter Harte (Tyrone)
8. Matthew Ruane (Mayo)
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) September 11, 2021
9. Conn Kilpatrick (Tyrone)
10. Conor Meyler (Tyrone)
11. Paudie Clifford (Kerry)
12. Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)
"People have forgotten about Dublin even though they were only knocked out at the All-Ireland semi-final, but Ciaran Kilkenny had a great year, but he has had a great year for the last five years in a row," said Colm O'Rourke.
13. Darren McCurry (Tyrone)
14. David Clifford (Kerry)
15. Tommy Conroy (Mayo)