Old rivals Kerry and Dublin meet in Sunday’s All Ireland Senior Football Final at Croke Park. It is the first time since 1985 that the two superpowers of the game have reached the decider and GAA fans throughout the country are expecting an epic encounter.
However, aside from the main prize on offer on the day, five footballers from the two counties look set to battle it out for the ultimate honour in the sport. Colm Cooper, Darran O’Sullivan, Bernard Brogan,Alan Brogan and Declan O’Sullivan all figure prominently in the list of candidates for 2011 Footballer of the Year. A big performance from any of these on Sunday may be sufficient to swing the jury in their favour.
At present, the Kerry duo of Cooper and Darran O’Sullivan are the favourites to be crowned best individual player of the season. The former gave an outstanding display in the semi final against Mayo,prompting legendary manager Mick O’Dwyer to claim that it was the finest exhibition by any player he had ever witnessed. His second half goal was a joy to behold, as he beat four Mayo defenders before firing high into the roof of the net.
Prior to that match however, it was his colleague from Glenbeigh that had stolen the show for the kingdom this season. The wing forward had an excellent league campaign and carried it right through to the championship, scoring some excellent points along the way. Always capable of popping up and stealing a goal, the player has been much more accurate with points in 2011 and has to be a leading contender for the prize.
The Brogan brothers have been to the fore as Dublin marched to the final and are also deserving candidates. While Bernard has been in excellent form and leads the attack, Alan has emerged from his shadows this year and has been in fine form in the half forward line. The duo dug deep to help their county defeat Donegal in the semi final and should the Dubs end their long wait for Sam,then the brother that has the best game on the day must be the front runner for the honour.