Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: The stars of ‘23

NOW that the dust has settled and before we head into the club championship season, I took time out to reflect and here is my football team of the year.

1 Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

The single most important reason Dublin managed to win the All-Ireland. His calmness and kick-outs are a joy to watch. Nothing more needs to be said.

2 Conor McCluskey (Derry)

Consistency is the word you would use to describe this man. He has been awesome and rock solid for the Oakleaf County.

3 Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin)

Took him a while to get into his groove this year but when he did, he was a rock again at the heart of that Dublin defence. Wins his ninth All-Ireland and enters into GAA immortality.

4 Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)

Not alone was he solid in his defensive duties but he was a constant threat bombing forward getting on the scoresheet on a consistent basis

5 James McCarthy (Dublin)

Again, this man enters GAA immortality. I just love how he goes about his business. A real warrior and a driving force for this Dublin team.

6 Tadgh Morley (Kerry)

The Ulster man in me would like to give it to Gareth McKinless but I just can’t overlook Morley. He is key to this Kerry defensive unit and when asked to do a man marking job in the final he didn’t disappoint.

7 Conor McCarthy (Monaghan)

A massive season for the Scotstown man (right). When moved to wing back it gave him the freedom to find space and he was excellent in doing so all year.

8 Brian Fenton (Dublin)

He really came to himself as the season progressed and had massive games in the semi-final and final. Cements himself as the best midfielder we have seen.

9 Brendan Rogers (Derry)

The Sleacht Néill man deserves this honour because he has been immense for Derry over the last two seasons. His midfield role seemed to free him up a lot more and he offered Derry that driving force from the middle of the park.

10 Paul Mannion (Dublin)

A massive impact since he returned to the squad. When Con O’Callaghan and Ciaran Kilkenny were held in the final, Mannion stepped up with some crucial scores.

11 Sean O’Shea (Kerry)

Another man who is so pivotal to what Kerry do. He is the complete Gaelic footballer and produced some big moments this year. In the final he was the one player who kept the scoreboard ticking for Kerry when they struggled.

12 Paudie Clifford (Kerry)

This man can play anywhere. When he drops deep, he can find that pass onto his brother or when he needs to get scores, he can do like his three brilliant points in the final.

13 David Clifford (Kerry)

The best ever. That’s all that needs to be said here.

14 Shane McGuigan (Derry)

Top scorer in this year’s championship and fully deserves his place on the team. He is so important for Derry and at 25 there is much more to come from this talented kid.

15 Colm Basquel (Dublin)

For me this was a straight shootout between Basquel and Costello. Colm gets the nod due to his big scores. He has been in the panel before but this season he has grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

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