This weekend sees the first of this year’s All-Ireland senior football semi-finals taking place, with the eagerly-anticipated clash between Cork and Donegal at Croke Park this Sunday.
However, as time draws nearer to All-Ireland final day, only one question would be on many GAA fans’ minds – who will be the lucky 15 to be chosen as this year’s All-Stars.
For many years, one has seen quite a trend in these awards, with the so-called top teams taking precedence over the more-so smaller and less recognised counties.
Is this fair? Well, to be fair it probably is. For the past number of years, and quite rightly so, the aforementioned awards are given to players based on their form throughout the GAA year, and this year should be no different.
These awards are undoubtedly a fantastic achievement, and a great night to celebrate inter-county achievements following a tough and arduous annual GAA calendar. However, for many of the smaller counties, these players never get the opportunity to sample such an atmosphere, due to their short championship campaigns.
Of course, this must be quite tough to experience, but unfortunately such is life in the GAA at times. But perhaps something should be suggested to the Central Council or the elite of the GAA officers, whereby another awards ceremony could take place to also recognise the efforts made by the less successful counties.
For example, the option of doing another award could be possible – in this way, more players would perhaps see this as another incentive to do well in championship and have the opportunity to also receive deserved recognition.
But back to this year’s championship. I would have to admit that, despite being a Cork woman and avid supporter of the Rebel county, that perhaps this year’s Footballer of the Year will not be a Corkman.
According to the betting, Bernard Brogan is the current favourite to be crowned this year’s Footballer of the Year which seems crazy considering how poor of a season the Dublin footballer is having, but Colm McFadden (7/1), Colm O’Neill (8/1), Michael Darragh McCauley (9/1) and Aidan Walsh (10/1) all in hot pursuit of the coveted award.
It will, of course, all depend on upcoming performances in the semi-finals, and obviously what teams will then progress to the final, but my money would be between Colm McFadden and Michael Darragh McCauley; however, the next few weekends will be a telling time.
*Throw in at Croke Park between Cork and Donegal this Sunday is at 3.30pm.