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The Six Gaelic Footballers To Win All-Stars As Forwards And Backs

The Six Gaelic Footballers To Win All-Stars As Forwards And Backs
By Arthur James O'Dea Updated

With the 2018 The PwC All-Stars awards slated for  November 2, we've decided to look back on a certain selection of former winners who truly left their mark on one of the biggest nights on the GAA calendar.

Not merely satisfied with claiming multiple All-Stars throughout their impressive careers, this gang of six footballers have the unique honour of winning All-Stars for their performances in both defence and attack.

Demonstrating an astounding ability to slot in and excel at either end of the pitch, Paddy Moriarty, Ger Power, Eugene "Nudie" Hughes, Seán Lowry and Graham Geraghty have done what so few others have managed since the introduction of these modern All-Stars in 1971: they've been awarded All-Stars in the forward line and among the backs.

Discover more about the history of the All-Stars on the official PwC All-Stars App. Download here

 

It's truly fascinating sixsome. The group share 15 All-Stars between them (though Ger Power and his six for Kerry skews this statistic somewhat). Furthermore, compared to the eight All-Ireland medals he won during an astonishing playing-career, neither Moriarty nor Hughes have a Celtic cross between them.

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With Geraghty and Lowry featuring in two and three All-Ireland wins respectively, the achievements of these individuals stand out for a variety of reasons. Most interestingly, no footballer this century has achieved the honour.

Looking back through these six special players who were a threat going forward and hanging back, how long will we have to wait before the PwC All-Stars throws up another name to enter this small cadre of individuals?

Paddy Moriarty - Armagh

Alongside Seán Lowry of Offaly, Paddy Moriarty successfully charted the move from the forwards back into defence.

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Placed at corner-forward in only the second year of what we now call the All-Stars in 1972, Moriarty's championship year with Armagh was relatively brief; they lost 0-13 to 1-7 to Tyrone in the Ulster quarter-final.

With the powers that be generally edging toward a broader representation of counties in their All-Star selections at this time, Moriarty's inclusion is perhaps a little less surprising as a result.

However, come 1977 and Armagh had made it all the way to the All-Ireland final. Scoring 1-1 from the half-back line as it took Armagh two games to get beyond Roscommon in the semi-final, Moriarty grabbed another goal in their ill-fated final defeat to Dublin.

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Although he would never get a chance to right that wrong and win an All-Ireland title with Armagh, his two All-Star awards at corner-forward and centre-half back demonstrate the incredible versatility of an hugely impressive player.

Ger Power - Kerry

A Kerry footballer with two fewer All-Stars than All-Ireland winners' medals, Ger Power's inter-county career saw him feature in the team of the year an astonishing six times.

Son of the three-time All-Ireland winning hurler Jackie from Limerick, Power won All-Star awards in the half-back, half-forward and full-forward lines.

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An indispensable member of the Kerry team that did four-in-a-row (1978-81) under Mick O'Dwyer, Power's first two All-Stars came for his performances at left-half back. As Kerry came within one of the five-in-a-row, however, Power was commended for the damage he did at right-half-forward.

Winning five All-Stars in that six-year spell, Power's final win came the same year that he last lifted the Sam Maguire cup with Kerry. In a full-forward line with Eoin Liston and Mikey Sheehy, the three combined to score 1-7 of Kerry's 2-15 in the 1986 defeat of Tyrone.

Eugene "Nudie" Hughes - Monaghan 

Charting the most impressive distance of our six winners, Eugene "Nudie" Hughes was awarded three All-Stars for his work at corner-back and corner-forward (2).

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In 1979, with Monaghan making it to the All-Ireland semi-final, Hughes' inclusion came as a 41-year wait for provincial success was sated. Overcoming Donegal 1-15 to 0-11, Hughes & co. were in for a rude awakening when they came across Kerry in an All-Ireland semi-final.

Only getting started on the Monaghan senior panel, however, Hughes had plenty more to give to his county, and better days certainly were to come.

Winning two further All-Stars for his role as a corner-forward in 1985 and 1988, the first of these came as Monaghan again won the Ulster championship, and again came across Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final. Taking the Munster champions to a replay, defeat eventually came for the Ulster club, but serious strides had been made.

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In 1988, it was Cork who replaced Kerry in the by now familiar narrative. Although Hughes wouldn't make it to the All-Ireland final, his performances across the field were deemed worth of repeated commendation.

Seán Lowry - Offaly

Straddling two eras of success with Offaly, Seán Lowry was an All-Ireland winner with the Faithful County as they claimed back-to-back triumphs in the early 1970s.

When Eugene McGee emerged as the man to manage Offaly to further success, Lowry demonstrated his versatility as many close calls finally resulted in the legendary 1982 All-Ireland win.

Assigned an All-Star as full-forward when Offaly came within two points of Dublin in the 1979 Leinster final, Lowry's role in McGee's plans had shifted dramatically only three years later.

Like Moriarty in Armagh, Seán Lowry made the move from the forwards to the backs; taking his place at centre-half back in the All-Star awards for 1982.

Tasked with keeping tabs on a Kerry half-forward line containing the likes of Ogie Moran, Tom Spillane and Ger Power, it is worth noting that no Kerry player featured among the half-forward line of the 1982 All-Star team.

Graham Geraghty - Meath

An outstanding talent with two All-Ireland winners' medals to his name, Graham Geraghty's

Known for his sporting versatility, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Geraghty proved an adept talent in the backs and forwards for Meath.

Winning his first All-Star as Meath made it only as far as the Leinster final in 1994, Sean Boylan may well have sensed Geraghty could do further damage higher up the pitch.

Beaten 1-9 to 1-8 by Dublin, Geraghty scored 1-2 from his starting position at right-half back.

By the time 1999 came around and Geraghty found himself winning a second All-Ireland title, the then Seneschalstown man played in the full-forward line; captaining his county to success.

Looking to keep Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (pictured above) from the honour of winning a Gaelic football and hurling All-Ireland winners' medal in the same year, Geraghty helped Meath finish alongside Down as the two most successful footballing counties of the 1990s.

Anthony McGurk - Derry

Thanks to proud Derryman Chris McCann who was kind enough to remind us that Lavin's Anthony McGurk had won All-Stars as corner forward and a centre half back in 1973 and 1975. Talk about versatility!

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