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The Gaelic Football Team Of The Year Without Dublin And Kerry Players

The Gaelic Football Team Of The Year Without Dublin And Kerry Players
By Joshua Bell Curran Updated
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It's All-Ireland final weekend the GAA All-Ireland football championship has been whittled down to the top two teams - Dublin and Kerry.

However, after a thrilling Championship plenty of talent won't get to grace the pitch in Croke Park this Sunday. Here at balls.ie we've been busy compiling our best XV of footballers not playing in the All-Ireland final this Sunday and they're certainly a force to be reckoned with, but could they beat Dublin or Kerry?

1. Odhran Lynch (Derry)

Lynch was phenomenal for Derry in an amazing run for the county. He made his shot-stopping count in the Ulster final when Derry beat Armagh 3-1 on penalties and his role in Derry's transition from defence to attack was pivotal to how their success.

2. Conor McCluskey (Derry) 

Another Derry man, McCluskey was brilliant in Derry's defensive prowess and his ability to move the ball high up the field at speed was at the centre of Derry's game plan.



3. Sean Kelly (Galway) 

The Galway full-back and captain needs little introduction. He's one of the best defenders in the country and despite Galway's shortcomings this season Kelly was a class act leading his side to a Connacht title. He's now playing for Connemara Gaels in Boston.

7 May 2023; Galway captain Seán Kelly lifts the Nestor Cup, watched by the children of Galway manager Padraic Joyce, Charlie and Jodie, left, and Connacht GAA president John Murphy after the Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Sligo and Galway at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park in Castlebar, Mayo. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

READ ALSO: The Best Hurling XV Playing In The USA This Summer

4.Aidan Forker (Armagh) 

One of Armagh's most experienced players, Forker lit the side up again this season, in what was a good run for them. He's a true modern defender with his ability to get up front nearly unmatched across the sport. Man of the match in Armagh's agonising loss to Monaghan.

5. Karl O'Connell (Monaghan) 

Set to turn 35 in two weeks, O'Connell remains the textbook definition of calm and composed. He never seemed rattled regardless of how far into the melting pot Monaghan were and as a defender, he's never afraid of putting his body on the line for his team.

6. Gareth McKinless (Derry) 

An outstanding centre-back, McKinless was one of the if not the top centre-back across Gaelic football this season and would walk into any team.


16 July 2023; Gareth McKinless of Derry in action against Jack Barry of Kerry during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Derry and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

7. Conor McCarthy (Monaghan) 


Not your typical wing-back, Conor McCarthy is one of the Championship's most able scorers. While he spent the season playing in defence, he was absolutely lethal going forward.

SEE ALSO: Chat At James McCarthy's Wedding May Have Tempted Cluxton Back To Dublin

8. Ian Maguire (Cork) 

Maguire was one of the standout performers for Cork this season as they progressed to the All-Ireland quarter-final stage. The Finnbarr's man was definitely one of the players driving Cork's progress forward.

18 June 2023; Ian Maguire of Cork in action against Ryan O'Donoghue of Mayo during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 3 match between Cork and Mayo at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

9. Brendan Rogers (Derry)

Part of probably the country's most dangerous midfield this season Rogers was class. As the season went on and the stakes got higher so too did Roger's performances, by the end of the Championship he was one of the most dominant midfielders in the game with his long-range scoring proving equally impressive. That's possibly why the midfielder is adamant he'll win an All-Ireland.

16 July 2023; Brendan Rogers of Derry during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Derry and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

10. Enda Smith (Roscommon) 

Enda Smith was Roscommon's dangerman all season, with his man-of-the-match performance in Roscommon's shock defeat of Mayo probably his highlight. He always seemed to perform even when Roscommon weren't flying on all cylinders.

READ ALSO: The Best XV Of Gaelic Footballers In America This Summer

11. Diarmuid O'Connor (Mayo) 

The last of a dying breed it was another stellar season from the Mayo man, but like all good teams know you can't win a championship by yourself. In an utterly underwhelming season for Mayo, O'Connor was as expected one of their best players and deserved much more than he got.

12. Ruairi Canavan (Tyrone) 

One of the most skilled footballers in the game Ruairi Canavan is like a magician with the ball in his hand and this clip shows exactly why.

13. Shane McGuigan (Derry) 

The Derry talisman McGuigan was on fire all season. When he gets on the ball scores follow - both his footwork and skill with the ball are magician-like. Deserves to be on the shortlist for Footballer of the Year.

14. Darragh Canavan (Tyrone) 

One of two Tyrone representatives on our XV, Canavan was brilliant for Tyrone in an otherwise poor season. It was a joy to watch Canavan who was obviously in the form of his life and it simply looked like he couldn't make a mistake at all, possibly due to Canavan's confidence growing year by year.

15. Conor McManus (Monaghan) 

One of the greatest footballers of not only this season but his generation, McManus would be the first name on any managers teamsheet. Despite being used as an impact sub for most of the season, when the stakes were at their highest McManus both started and delivered in what could've been his last season with Monaghan.

SEE ALSO: A 2023 Hurling Team Of The Year With Players From Outside Limerick And Kilkenny

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