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The Best Footballers Who Have Never Won An All-Star XV

The Best Footballers Who Have Never Won An All-Star XV
By Conor Neville
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With the retirement today of the last surviving inter-county player from the previous millennium, we decided to construct a team of the best players (in each position) never to win an All-Star.

And before anyone gives out about Mattie Forde not being on the team, he is ineligible owing to the fact that he won an All-Star.

1. Shane Curran - (Goalkeeper)

Most goalkeepers who have competed regularly in the latter stages of the championship have been honoured with an All-Star at some point, so we have to look further afield. Curran could have gotten a look-in back in his famous season of 2004, when he scored 1-1 in a qualifier against Sligo.

2. Stephen Stack - (Right corner back)

An outcome of playing for a Kerry team in a barren era, Stack may not have not won an all-star, but he did emerge with two All-Ireland medals, unlike many other Kerry players from that period. The only man to bridge the gap between the 1986 and 1997 successes, Stack had a superb game in the 1997 All-Ireland final.

3. Gary Fahy - (Full back)


Galway are unusual in that neither of their All-Ireland winning captains in the John OMahony era won all-stars. Following on from Ray Silke in '98, Fahy captained the side in 2001, collecting his second All-Ireland. The assumption that the Galway full-back line was the side's weakest sector contributed to him not being awarded an All-Star in either season.  

4. Tommy Griffin - (Left corner back)

Corner backs don't usually attract attention. Indeed many of the actual All-Stars in these positions are lads you would struggle to place in a police line-up - never mind the ones who didn't win them. Kerry's ultimate utility player in the 2000s filled in just about everywhere in the back-line. As many Kerry managers concluded, a good man to jam in wherever he is needed. With five All-Ireland titles, Griffin is the most decorated player on the team.



5. Colm Coyle - (Right half back)

A host of career highlights including three All-Irelands, several Leinster titles, that iconic equalising point in the All-Ireland final and sending Joe Brolly to hospital after he started blowing kisses to the crowd (though we don't endorse that kind of behaviour). No All-Stars though. Disciplinary issues may have played their part.


6. Liam Harnan - (Centre half back)


Meath's centre-back during Sean Boylan's glory years mark 1, Harnan won back-to-back All-Irelands in 1987 and 1988. Selectors favoured Kerry's Tom Spillane and Jack McCaffrey's father Noel at centre half back in both of those years.


7. Aaron Kernan - (Left half back)

The young Footballer of the Year 2005 but not enough to scoop an All-Star as older fellas Tomas O'Sé and Philip Jordan were not to be denied. Was perhaps unlucky to arrive into Armagh set-up near the end of their period at the top table.

8. John Galvin - (Midfield)



Like Barden, he became a bit of a media cliche after a while - the archetypal brilliant player from an unsuccessful county. Came incredibly close to winning Munster titles in 2004, 2009 and 2010, games in which Galvin starred at midfield. He and Barden were the last surviving inter-county players who played championship in the 20th century.

9. Gary Brennan - (Midfield)

A towering figure in Clare's midfield, he impressed the hell out of everyone last year, claiming the ultimate accolade, making our 2014 team of the year of players outside the big four.


10. Ross Munnelly - (Right half forward)

In an age of defensive minded wing forwards, Munnelly is remarkably free scoring from this position, a fact he reminded everyone of in the first half against Dublin this year. Won Leinster in 2003 and enjoyed a smashing year in 2005 but Ulster players held a stranglehold on the wing forward positions in those years.

11. Eoin Brosnan - (Centre half forward)

His eligibility for this team remains a surprise. Quite how he managed to go through a career in which three All-Ireland medals were claimed without picking up at least one All-star is a bit of a mystery though his general versatility may have been a factor.

12. Paul Barden - (Left half forward)

For the past fifteen years, he has been the first Longford player anyone from outside the county was inclined to mention (a mantle he took over from Dessie Barry). Barden was an inspirational figure in the Longford half-forward line as the team travelled from utter anonymity in the 1990s to general respectability in the 2000s.

13. Frankie Dolan - (Right corner forward)

Hot competition in here from Jason Sherlock (not even in the baking hot summer of Jayo back in 1995 did he win one), Leighton Glynn, Wicklow's most celebrated player in the modern era and Armagh's Jamie Clarke.

But we're going for the man who has frequently given Willie Hegarty's heart palpitations in the Shannonshide commentary box. Frankie terrorised Galway in Tuam in 2001 (and Galway subsequently proved to be not that bad that year) as the Rossies went on to win Connacht for the first time in a decade.

His finest year was in 2003, when he destroyed the Kildare defence in a qualifier in Portlaoise, however he was surprisingly pipped for an All-Star by Declan Browne.

Has been exiled from the county team for some time now, but many Roscommon football fans maintain he's still one of the best forwards in the county.

14. Dara O'Cinnéide - (Full forward)

Sits in the Brosnan category of 'Did he really not win an All-Star?' (primarily because both are Kerry players who won so much). O'Cinnéide possibly suffered from not being dominant enough at full forward. He was a composed and elegant player and a reliable free-taker. He was moved around the forward line a bit too.

15. Micheal Meehan - (Left corner forward)

He arrived into a jaded Galway side that was at the end of a glorious run and wanted a rest. The county has subsequently taken a rather longer rest than expected. Long enough to last the length of Meehan's admittedly injury blighted career. Still, his omission in 2008, when he scored 0-10 in the rain and won Man of the Match against Kerry in a famous All-Ireland QF, remains a bit of a shocker.

See also: The So-Called Weaker Counties All-Star XV

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