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Presenting The Balls.ie Club Gaelic Football XV Of 2018

Presenting The Balls.ie Club Gaelic Football XV Of 2018

With 2018 drawing to a close, we can start to reflect on the year in club football; and what a year it has been. From Mullinalaghta's cinderella story, to Gaoth Dobhair making history in Ulster, there has been no shortage of drama.

There were a number of standout performers in the club game, many of whom contributed some fantastic moments for their clubs. We have attempted to put together the club football team of the year, and it was no easy task.

With so many deserving names, it was a struggle to pick only 15 players for this team. Take a look:

Club Football Team Of The Year

1. Rory Beggan - Scotstown

Beggan was in fantastic form as Scotstown advanced to the Ulster final, ultimately falling short to Gaoth Dobhair. He kicked the winning score in the semi-final win over Eoghan Rua, and cemented his place as the best goalkeeper in the country in 2018.

2. Liam Silke - Corofin

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Liam Silke was once again a menace to opposing attackers this year, replicating his wonderful form from last year. He was named in the inaugural AIB GAA Club Players’ Football Team of the Championship earlier this year, and few would bet against him repeating that feat in 2019.

3. Kieran Fitzgerald - Corofin

Kieran Fitzgerald was the key cog in the Corofin defence as they retained their Connacht crown. Now 37-years old, the former Galway player is still displaying tremendous form. He will be vital as his club come up against some more prolific attacks in the All-Ireland series.

4. Patrick Fox - St Columba's Mullinalaghta

Fox was given the unenviable task of marking Paul Mannion in the Leinster final, and he was more than up to the task. He kept the Dublin star largely anonymous throughout the game, and was awarded with the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.

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He was the main man in what was a miserly Mullinalghta defence, conceding only 0-3 in the Leinster semi-final win over Eire Óg and 1-6 in the decider against Kilmacud.

5. David O'Leary - Dr Crokes

David O'Leary has been a key contributor for Dr Crokes this year, acting as an attacking threat from the wingback role. He is deserving of a place in this team, and will be hoping to play a major part in bringing his club back to Croke Park next March.

6. Gavin White - Dr Crokes

Having made his championship debut for Kerry this past summer, White has been in fantastic form for his club in recent months. While Dr Crokes have been largely untested in the provincial series, their centre back has been a calming presence throughout.

7. Kieran Molloy - Corofin

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Molloy looks like a fantastic prospect, and has really come of age during 2018. He famously played two key games for club and college in one day earlier this year, and has gone from strength to strength since.

He was arguably Corofin's best player in the Connacht final win over Ballintubber, and could find himself in and around the Galway panel in 2019.

8. Odhran MacNiallais - Gaoth Dobhair

The Donegal man was in irresistible form as his club became the first Donegal side since 1975 to claim provincial honours. He was Gaoth Dobhair's most crucial player, driving them forward from a midfield role.

His ball carrying ability was key in transiting from defence to attack, and he is a certainty for this team.

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9. Johnny Buckley - Dr Crokes

Having taken a break from the inter-county scene this summer, Johnny Buckley was in tremendous form for Dr Crokes. He was a vital cog in the side, and will hoping to carry this momentum into the All-Ireland semi-final against Gaoth Dobhair.

10. Paul Mannion - Kilmacud Crokes

Paul Mannion has been perhaps the best club footballer in the country this year, tearing defences apart in the Dublin and Leinster championships. While he would have been slightly disappointed with his performance in the Leinster final, he has still enjoyed a tremendous 2018 for both club and county.

11. Michéal Lundy - Corofin

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Moving into a less familiar centre forward role in this team, Lundy was once again in fine fettle for Corofin in 2018. He notched an impressive 1-3 in the Connacht semi-final win over Clann na nGael, before popping up with a vital goal in the final win over Ballintubber.

12. Diarmuid O'Connor - Ballintubber

While he was deployed in a midfield role for his club, Dairmuid O'Connor will take a place at wing-forward in the team of the year. He played a massive part in carrying Ballintubber to the Connacht final, scoring the winning point in the Mayo county final.

Much like MacNeillis, his ability to turn defence into attack was vital for his club.

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13. Tony Brosnan - Dr Crokes

Tony Brosnan has been perhaps the surprise package of 2018, looking like one of the top forwards in the country in a prolific scoring run for Dr Crokes. With a solitary championship appearance for Kerry to his name (against Clare in 2016), he has been absolutely un-markable at times.

A recall to the Kerry panel is surely on the horizon, but he will have the small matter of his club duties to contend with first.

14. Rian Brady - St Columba's Mullinalaghta

Brady was instrumental in Mullinalaghta's unlikely provincial title win, acting as the main scoring threat up front. He notched 0-4 in the final, as well as 0-3 and 0-2 in the semi-final and quarter-final respectively.

15. Kevin Cassidy - Gaoth Dobhair

If there was ever a man deserving of a provincial title with his club, it is Kevin Cassidy. The 36-year old famously missed out on an All-Ireland medal with Donegal in 2012 due to a falling out with Jim McGuinness, but this win will have surely softened that blow.

He was instrumental for Goath Dobhair in their winning run, with his top level experience no doubt a huge boost.

SEE ALSO: Michael D. Higgins Congratulates Mullinalaghta In Heartfelt Letter

Gary Connaughton

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