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My All Stars choice for 2010

Austin O'Callaghan | 09:11 UK time, Thursday, 30 September 2010

The first thing to say is I'm not on the All Stars committee so I do not have a vote. This is my own selection based on the nominations released last week.

It may end up bearing little relation to the 15 who receive the gongs on 15 October. In every selection there are gaping omissions. Cork's Daniel Goulding and Donncha O'Connor are arguably two of the headline names missing from my list. Each man had a big All-Ireland final. But have a look at my full forward line below and tell me who you would leave out to make room for them.

If I could buy a football team based on the 2010 league and championship, here are the 15 I would plump for.

Down's Brendan McVeigh blocks a shot from Colm O'Neill of Cork during the All-Ireland final

Goalkeeper: Brendan McVeigh (Down)
Made the crucial saves when it mattered against Kerry and Cork. Preventing goals is, still, a keeper's primary job.

Right corner-back: Charlie Harrison (Sligo)
I'm leaving myself open to obvious accusations of Sligo bias here. But Harrison has developed the defending AND attacking attributes that the position requires. See the Galway and Mayo games. His leadership skills also capped a fine year. However, the hammering Sligo took at Breffni Park may ultimately cost against him.

Full-back: Michael Shields (Cork)
Watch the tape of the All-Ireland final again. His year wasn't a perfect one. But the display against Down and the marking job he did on Benny Coulter was close to it.

Left corner-back: Peter Kelly (Kildare)
A newcomer, but it took just one season to show us he is a class act. One of the reasons perhaps why Kieran McGeeney is digging in for three more years. Kildare fans should stay excited for 2011.

Right half-back: Joe McMahon (Tyrone)
This may look like the 'token' All-star for the Ulster champions but it's not. Mickey Harte's last instructions before the throw-in of every championship match this summer seemed to be to this man. He was Mr 'go to' when a gap needed plugging.

Centre half-back: Kevin McKernan (Down)
Graham Canty may ultimately be the All-Star selectors' choice. But based on match performances, it is hard to look past Kevin McKernan at number six.

Left half-back: Graham Canty (Cork)
Have to find room for him somewhere. A calm leader of men.

Midfield: Aidan Walsh (Cork)
We didn't know much about this man at the start of the year, but we do now.
From fielding to running to blocking, he had a superb All-Ireland final.

Midfield: Nicolas Murphy (Cork)
That half-an-hour in the final gave us a glimpse of what's possible when this player is fit and tuned in.

Right half-forward: Danny Hughes (Down)
There was real hurt in his voice when he gave a television interview at the Newry homecoming on the Monday after the final. But when the dust settles, the small consolation for the Saval man should be that he had a terrific championship. For me, Down's player of the year.

Centre half-forward: Martin Clarke (Down)
If Down can keep him here, he will grow to love Croke Park. Noel O'Leary did a fine job on him in the final. But, if this is what he can do at 22....

Left half-forward: James Kavanagh (Kildare)
I have selected him out of position because of the other full forward line options. One of the most improved gaelic footballers over the last 12-15 months. I give him the nod ahead of his team captain Johnny Doyle.

Right corner-forward: Colm Cooper (Kerry)
Before you throw you arms up in disbelief, the Gooch was in the form of his life this summer. Problem was, Kerry weren't.

Full forward: Benny Coulter (Down)
There will be dismay down Mayobridge way if Benny doesn't land an All Star but the reality is he may well be edged out partly because the final wasn't his finest hour, but mainly because competition in the full-forward line is so hot this year. Having said that, from day one in Ballybofey, he was consistently one of Down's best championship performers.

Left corner-forward: Bernard Brogan (Dublin)
Scored nine points against Armagh, scored nine points against Tyrone. Scored 1-4 v Cork. The defence rests, Your Honour....


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