GList: The early Footballer of the Year contenders

The championship is heating up and Shaun Casey looks at the early contenders for the Footballer of the Year award


Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)

WHEN O’Callaghan is on song, the Dubs look simply unstoppable. He’s a wrecking ball of a full-forward that has had his injury troubles in the past, but the Cuala man looks to be in the form of his life right now. He was nominated for Footballer of the Year in 2019 but hasn’t really hit those heights since then. It was his goal that changed the game in the Leinster final against Louth when he smashed the ball home off his weaker left foot, and he has hit an outstanding 4-11 from play for Dessie Farrell’s men in the championship so far.


Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry)

IN the past four years, 2022 was the only season that passed by without Tom O’Sullivan picking up an All-Star award. He hasn’t been nominated for Footballer of the Year just yet but his consistency levels are off the charts and the number of times he gets on the scoresheet is outstanding for a corner-back. He’s also the one that usually tracks the best forward the opposition have to offer and if the Kingdom can go all the way this season, a lot of it will be down to the form of O’Sullivan.


Sean Powter (Cork)

POWTER’S credentials as a possible Player of the Year candidate will ultimately be determined by how far Cork go in the championship but on current form, he’s been excellent in the group stages. He gave a real leaders performance as they upset the odds to beat Donegal, scoring a goal and earning a turnover off Ryan McHugh that led to another major, while he also hit the net himself against Clare in the opening round of the All-Ireland series and will continue to be a driving force for them.


Ryan O’Donoghue (Mayo)

A STICK often used to beat Mayo with is that they don’t have a go-to game-winning forward, but O’Donoghue is a close as they’ve ever come to fulfilling that criteria. He is currently the top scorer for Kevin McStay’s side in the championship and has been Mayo’s top scorer in all five of their championship outings, racking up a personal haul of 2-44. O’Donoghue is the man that opposition defences will be most concerned with when they face Mayo.


Brian Fenton (Dublin)

THE two-time Footballer of the Year seems to have rediscovered his old form and Fenton is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders, and one of the best footballers, to have ever laced up a pair of boots, with six All-Stars currently to his name. When at full flight, Fenton is a sight to behold and his scoring return has been brilliant recently as well, having chipped in with 0-5 from midfield in Dublin’s outings against Roscommon and Cavan, although he didn’t score in the draw with Mayo.


David Clifford (Kerry)

WHILE Clifford hasn’t exactly shot the lights out this season, despite hitting 2-2 against Meath and 0-7 against Louth, he’s always going to be in the conversation for Player of the Year. Kerry are guaranteed a couple of big days out in Croke Park before the season finishes and if he hits the heights that we’ve become accustomed to, then the Fossa clubman will surely be in line for a third Player of the Year gong in a row.


Sam Mulroy (Louth)

LOUTH have only ever won two All-Star awards, Frank Lynch in 1964 and Paddy Keenan in 2010, but on current form, Sam Mulroy has to be up there as one of the best forwards in the game at the minute. He has been scoring heavily for the Wee County over the last number of years and has been at the forefront of their rise from Division Four. If Louth are to go deep into the championship, then Mulroy will be in pole position to gather up an All-Star award.


Peadar Mogan (Donegal)

MOGAN had an unbelievable Ulster campaign for Jim McGuinness’ side as they brought the Anglo Celt cup back to the hills of Donegal. Not only that, but Mogan backed up his unbelievable provincial form with a Man of the Match display as Donegal saw off rivals Tyrone in the first round of the All-Ireland series. Donegal did suffer their first defeat of the season against Cork, but Mogan has still been the main man for them this year and got on the scoresheet against Clare.

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