And so it turns out that referring to the new All-Ireland quarter-final format as the 'Super 8s' may have been premature. 'Whoever called this the Super 8s could be pulled up under the trade description act tomorrow because this has been anything but super' bemoaned Pat Spillane on the Sunday Game. As good a reflection as any of an underwhelming weekend.
A common concern surrounding the All-Stars is that too often it feels like one good semi-final/final performance overrides more consistent stars in the earlier rounds. In order to address this, Balls.ie introduced the rolling All-Stars. Every round we'll consider the best performances and compare them to the existing holder. For example, Galway's Eoghan Kerin did a fine job this weekend in Croke Park, but was it enough to oust Gareth Dillion's man-marking job against Carlow, Laois and Dublin earlier this summer?
Here is round 7 of the rolling All-Stars.
Mark Donnellan has had a superb year with Kildare, but Brody set the standard earlier in the summer with four star performances against Wexford, Carlow, Dublin and Monaghan. The bar has been set for this position and it will take quite a showing to overcome it.
2. Eoghan Ban Gallagher
Kept tabs on Con O'Callaghan this weekend and was quiet otherwise. However, has had a superb season so far.
3. Sean Andy O Ceallaigh
An icon of this Galway defense. Still a relative newbie to the senior set-up, the Leitir Móir man got the best of Paul Geaney in Croke Park.
4. Gareth Dillon
Safe for another week at least.
5. Eoin Doyle
Kildare were unlucky against Monaghan as they got their tactics fairly spot on. Rather than follow his man, Doyle held the centre and dropped off becoming a sweeper in the process.
6. Colm Begley (out) - Karl O’Connell (in)
Begley enjoyed an outstanding season, but O'Connell has been consistently brilliant peaking with his man-of-the-match award last weekend. One of the countries best attacking half-backs.
7. Sean Kelly
Galway have commanded their fair share of the limelight this season and there has been widespread praise for Damien Comer, Shane Walshe and Ian Burke but one player who may be underappreciated amongst all of this is Sean Kelly. The Moycullen club man was outstanding once again against Kerry. His driving runs forward and unselfish lay-offs posed all kinds of questions for a hapless Kerry defense.
8. Brian Fenton
Did what he always does, a colossal at midfield.
9. David Moran (out) -Niall Kearns (in)
Kerry lost the battle in the middle third, at times inexplicably. Even when they pushed up on Ruari Lavelle's kick-out and forced Galway to go long, they gave away a free immediately three times and consistently lost the break. Monaghan's Niall Kearns has been one of the finds of the season kicked Monaghan ahead with five minutes left.
Great score by Monaghan's Niall Kearns! pic.twitter.com/ZAEgaVTJPN
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 15, 2018
10. Michael Murphy
Donegal adapted to the lose of McBrearty by leaving Jamie Brennan as an inside forward and rotating his partner, with Hugh McFadden filling in alongside him in the first half. On the Sunday Game, Colm Cooper suggested Murphy needs to be closer to goal but that may overlook the terrific impact he has had around the middle this year.
11. Ciaran Kilkenny
Hawk-eye ruled out an early chance and afterward, Kilkenny regressed back to a weird role of floating around the middle laying the ball off without ever really creating a huge amount. At times it felt like recycling possession for the sake of it. Yet showed what he is capable of in flashes and did enjoy a wonderful Leinster Championship. Holds his spot here.
12. Patrick McBrearty (out) – Niall Sludden (in)
McBrearty has been ruled out for the rest of the season so the probability was that a competitor would have more good games than he did. Sludden is in All-Star form for Tyrone and now a crucial player in Mickey Harte's side. Scored 1-2 against Roscommon.
13. Rory Grugan
Armagh's summer is over but Grugan was phenomenal and holds his spot for now.
14. Jamie Brennan
Just when you got the sense that Dublin were starting to push past Donegal, Brennan stood up with a beauty to get Declan Bonnar's side on the scoreboard and keep it competitive.
15. Paul Geaney (out) – David Clifford (in)
Geaney is undoubtedly one of the best forwards in the country, but shooting the lights out against a weak Clare and Cork can't be enough to secure a spot if that showing doesn't transfer over to the biggest stage. Where would Kerry have been without David Clifford last Sunday? He was relentless in his running across the lines and scored 1-5 against a teak-tough Galway defence. The only Kerry star who brought his form from the Munster Championship into the Super 8s.
David Clifford points for Kerry! pic.twitter.com/sxCvAFLmVK
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 15, 2018