Last weekend heralded the end of all four Allianz Football Leagues as attention now turns towards an experimental 'club month' before the Championship gets underway in May. The league's strength lies in its format as it pits teams of similar standard together weekly thus exposing the true standard of players. With that in mind, it provides an ideal platform from which to judge performances.
*GAA suggestion* Imagine awards based on national leagues e.g. all-stars, top scorers etc. The function to be held in the county that wins lower Div e.g. Div 4 for football. The euphoria an event like this could create, it may even help improve #GAA in weaker counties
— John Heslin (@jheslin14) March 30, 2018
On this week's So-Called Weaker Podcast, we attempted to select a team of the league from the entire suitable pack, i,e. the teams outside of Division One. The task was made considerably more challenging given the limited broadcast coverage and stacked scheduling whilst the exceptional standard of candidates made for many late-night brewings and office deliberations. Here is the final selection.
Goalkeeper: Graham Brody.
The 24-year-old Laois marauding goalkeeper was man-of-the-match in Saturday's Division Four final as his constant forays out the field proved hugely popular. Brody's inclusion was sealed despite spending more time outfield then he did in goal by back-to-back clean sheets against Carlow as well as Antrim and Wicklow.
Full-back: Jamie O'Sullivan, Daniel St Ledger, Declan McCusker.
We'll confess to a bit of flexibility here but it is, after all, a requirement of the modern game. O'Sullivan operated at full-back or in the corner for Cork and contributed on both sides of the ball. Carlow's rise to Division Three was greatly assisted by Daniel St Ledger's impressive work at half-back who saw his county promoted after 11 years of futile attempts. McCusker is a teak-tough defender liable to bomb forward who helped tighten up a now firm Fermanagh defence.
Half-back: Daniel Mimnagh, Ciaran Brady, Bill Maher.
Mimnagh gets the nod after Longford were extremely unlucky not to clinch promotion with a strong showing in Divison three. Going into last Sunday's final, Cavan's Ciaran 'The Holla' Brady Cavan's joint highest scorer from open play while Bill Maher was excellent for Liam Kearns gung-ho side, including a spectacular goal against Louth.
Midfield: Liam Gavaghan, Gary Brennan.
Several contenders for just two spots, with Brendan Murphy in particular unlucky to miss out. However, after six games London finished with three points in Division four, with the English-born Liam Gavaghan impressing in the middle of the park.
— the Irish World (@theirishworld) February 11, 2018
As for Gary Brennan, the Clare man was a rock for Colm Collins side, delivering a standout man-of-the-match performance against Cork which included this excellent dummy score.
Gary Brennan with a little dummy and finishes with a nice score for Clare pic.twitter.com/Q5oL971ha9
— The GAA (@officialgaa) March 17, 2018
Half-forward: Dara McVeety, Seamus Quigley, Sean Gannon.
McVeety has been Cavan's best player over the last 12 months, with his hard-running, direct style reaping rewards with a goal and penalty against Roscommon. By right, Seamus Quigley would be closer to goal but given Fermanagh's approach this year he is often their entire forward line. Sean Gannon completes the set and is Carlow's second inclusion.
Full-forward: Andrew Murnin, John Heslin, Diarmuid Murtagh.
Armagh have deployed several big men in their full forward line, with Andrew Murnin excelling in the league final landing 1-03 and a man-of-the-match performance. John Heslin has transitioned seamlessly from racking up gigantic hauls with St. Loman's during their Leinster championship run to do so for Westmeath while it is a necessity to include at least one of Roscommon's clinical forwards, with Diarmuid Murtagh getting the nod there.
You can listen to us attempt to justify our selections on this week's podcast.