A league of their own

Division One

Darren McCurry – 0-33

TYRONE star Darren McCurry has had a stellar league campaign and finishes as the top scorer after seven rounds of league fixtures. The Edendork man continues to be a hugely reliable free-taker, and statistically he saved his best performance for last, scoring seven points, two from play, in Sunday’s final day victory over Armagh. He’s one of the best corner-forwards in the game and it’s hard to believe it’s more than a decade since he made his inter-county debut back in 2012.


Ryan O’Donohogue – 2-23 (29)

JOE Brolly recently sang the praises of Mayo forward Ryan O’Donoghue in Gaelic Life, and justifiably so. The 2021 All-Star has been absolutely pivotal in Mayo’s surge to their upcoming Division One final against Galway, delivering key performances throughout their league campaign. He scored 1-3 against both Kerry and Donegal, indicating that he’s made a full recovery after missing last year’s championship through injury. Not only is he a talented baller but O’Donoghue, who was a talented boxer in his teens, is also renowned for his leadership qualities.


Division Two

Shane McGuigan – 2-36 (42)

DUAL star Shane McGuigan is a talismanic figure in the Derry attack and had another fine league campaign, racking up an impressive 2-36 across six matches. He shot the lights out on a number of occasions – 1-7 against Kildare (more than the entire Lilywhites team put together), 0-9 against Limerick and 1-5 against Louth – in what was an altogether straightforward league campaign for Rory Gallagher’s side. McGuigan, who is Derry’s vice-captain this year, times his runs brilliantly, is unerringly accurate and is consistency personified for the Oakleafers.


Steven Sherlock – 0-32

CORK forward Steven Sherlock went about his business in impressive fashion for a Cork side that finished midtable in Division Two. Forming an effective inside line alongside captain Brian Hurley, Sherlock produced one of the stand-out displays in any division with a 14-point haul against Meath in their opening league fixture. Cork actually lost that day on a scoreline of 3-14 to 0-19 but it’s safe to say it wasn’t Sherlock’s fault – in the first half alone he scored eight points including five frees, a 45 and two points from play.


Division Three

John Heslin – 3-32 (41)

A REGULAR on these sort of lists, Heslin is Westmeath’s most well-known footballer and had a typically influential campaign, even if they did miss out on promotion. He was particularly impressive in a rout of Antrim three weeks ago, scoring 1-12 in a sensational display at full-forward. He’s one of the most in-form forwards in the country and is accurate from both frees and play. If Westmeath are to have a decent championship, he’ll be at the crux of their efforts.


Paddy Lynch – 3-20 (29)

CAVAN footballer Paddy Lynch was one of the break-out stars of last year’s championship. Physically powerful and skillful to boot, he missed the early part of this season with injury but he’s back now and flying it with the Breffni County, who achieved promotion to Division Two with one game to spare. He has an eye for goal and scored 2-5 in a crucial contribution against Down a few weeks back. He also had a day to remember against Offaly, scoring 10 points in a 0-21 to 0-14 victory.


Division Four

Keith Beirne 5-52 (67)

LEITRIM man Keith Beirne finishes as the top scorer in any division with a jaw-dropping 5-52 from seven games – an average of nearly ten points a match. Named the inaugural Tailteann Cup Team of the Year, he’s continued where he left off, scoring 1-10 in league matches against Waterford and Carlow. Beirne was also named on the GAA team of the week four weeks in a row, a fine accomplishment and something no other player came close to achieving. He recently praised Leitrim boss Andy Moran with bringing a new ‘professionalism’ to the Connacht minnows, albeit they’ll be a bit disappointed to miss out on promotion.


Darragh Foley 0-47

CARLOW captain Darragh Foley averaged nearly seven points a game across their seven league matches in Division Four, an impressive return for a side that finished bottom from third in the division. He was particularly strong in their two league wins, which came against Waterford and London.

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