Tiernan McCann the most hard-done-by outfielder in 2017 All-Star list 6 years ago

Tiernan McCann the most hard-done-by outfielder in 2017 All-Star list

There are a few problems with the All-Stars in general.

The first and probably the most important is that nobody's going to be happy with them. Ever.


There are Dublin fans complaining because only seven of their champions were honoured at Friday's event but perhaps they do have a grievance when Stephen Cluxton is overlooked.

But seven, to the rest of the country at least, is excessive. Where the Gaels in the capital might roll out the 'anti-Dub shite' line and tell you simply that they have been by far the best team so why on earth couldn't or wouldn't there be more of them on the All-Star team, the complaint beyond the Pale is that the predominantly Dublin-based media sided with the Dublin-based interests.

Dublin aren't the only blockage though in a team that's made up of 13 men from two counties.

For a second year running, there's been no representative from the Connacht champions and, whilst Tyrone swatted aside four Ulster teams en route to a humbling in the semi-final, Mayo - who lost twice and drew four times in the championship and also didn't win their province - boast 500 per cent more personnel than the northern lynchpins do.


Listen, Mayo deserve to have more representatives than Tyrone. Since the second Roscommon game, they've been unreal and could not have done more to win an All-Ireland but the biggest problem with the All-Stars is that it's too easy to be aware of all these side-stories and all those gripes from fans and it's much too easy to forget all the football that went before the last week of August too.

So you can see the mindset, you can see the genuine conundrum. If you put another Tyrone player in - the next on the list would have to be Tiernan McCann - then you have to take out a half back and, to do that, you have to remove a Dublin or Mayo player and not just any Dublin or Mayo player - Boyle, O'Sullivan or McCaffrey.


The three of them have been absolutely brilliant this year but the bare bones of the matter is that neither of them have been as good as Tiernan McCann.

The Tyrone wing back has not been far off the standards set by Lee Keegan and McCaffrey who both clinched successive footballer of the year gongs in that same position.

Not once has he looked tired, not in the last three years or so anyway. Defensively, he's been one of the key elements to one of the fiercest rearguards in a long time and his attacking play doesn't need much more praise. McCann scored in every one of Tyrone's championship games in 2017, finishing the campaign with 1-5 from five games, from number five. He started, ended and was the crucial link man is so many of the Red Hands' free-flowing counters and even when he wasn't doing anything with the ball, there's something so numbing that draws you into a trance just watching the Killyclogher man stride over the ground.


If McCaffrey or Boyle are omitted, there's uproar. If Cian O'Sullivan is expended, there's complaints of why there are only six Dublin players and, more importantly, how there are as many Mayo men as there are champions.

You worry that this sort of math work influences the vote because, when it comes down to it, it shouldn't matter how many counties are represented and how many times. It shouldn't even matter that, in a normal year, Boyle, O'Sullivan and McCaffrey would be shoe-ins for an All-Star. These are the most prestigious individual awards in the sport and it has to be cut-throat. It has to simply be the best player in each position and Tiernan McCann was the best half back in 2017. The tough call should've been made amongst the other three.

What would've happened then though is that one of them would be put into full back just to accommodate all the best players this season or, worse still, just to keep the balance right in terms of counties represented - not necessarily just pick the best player in each position.

The shame for McCann was that Tyrone had a bad semi-final and the rest of the season and his own individual performances were too easy to overlook - especially when there were already three other top candidates to get in.