"People that get All-Stars aren't just a cog in the wheel. These are the special, outstanding players"
Are some of the GAA's best individual players missing out on All-Star awards because they didn't win an All-Ireland?
Colm Parkinson certainly thinks so. With a record total of nine awards heading to champs Limerick and Dublin this year, Parkinson feels that some of the season's most influential players were left out because they weren't a part of the best team. In hurling, the argument was less clear-cut but in football, two examples spring to mind.
Paddy Durcan and Gearoid McKiernan didn't make the cut. Eoin Murchan and Niall Scully got the nod.
Parkinson argues that Durcan and McKiernan were the driving forces in their county's successful seasons, standing out with man-of-the-match displays and game-defining contributions. It's not to take away from Murchan and Scully, who were yet again key members of the Dublin machine, but the Laois man points out that their contributions weren't as pivotal to their team's victories as Durcan's and McKiernan's were.
"The Kilkennys, Fentons, James McCarthys, Con O'Callaghans and Cluxtons - These are, the special, the outstanding players that are driving that Dublin team and that's what an All-Star is," begins Wooly.
"These are the lads who are getting the man-of-the-match awards. People that get All-Stars aren't just a cog in the wheel as far as I'm concerned.
Gearoid McKiernan: The conductor 🎻 pic.twitter.com/dj6ABlWRjB
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) November 23, 2020
"Gearoid McKiernan against Niall Scully - Gearoid McKiernan drove Cavan to an Ulster championship. Niall Scully didn't drive Dublin. He got along with his job quietly and efficiently and he's a very good player, but who's All-Star material? If you're just in a good team, well then you're laughing. As long as you're not very understated, you'll win an All-Star (at that rate.)"
"Paddy Durcan for Eoin Murchan is the biggest no-brainer. Paddy Durcan was outstanding for Mayo. Eoin Murchan got on with his job..."
"Dublin got nine and Limerick got nine, and nine is way too many for me. That's three fifths of your team. Does that dilute the honour of getting an All-Star? I genuinely think it does. It used to be five/six, now nine? Dublin are unfortunate in that they cruise through so many games, that their players never have to stand out. I had Dublin with seven All-Stars which reflects their dominance, but nine is too many..."
In general, the feeling is that Mayo were unlucky to receive just two All-Stars but Parkinson and Conor Heneghan both agreed that Cavan's three selections warranted their inclusion.
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"Mayo were extremely hard done by with two All-Stars. Two All-Stars, for a team that beat Roscommon away, Galway away, destroyed the Munster champions and performed better than any team against Dublin - better than Cavan for example," added Wooly.
"I don't have a problem with Cavan winning three All-Stars because they were the story of the season for me, and their season was driven by some unbelievable performances," said Heneghan.