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Friday 15 December 2017

Brogan snub on the double

Dublin siblings fail to make All Star shortlist

Alan Brogan, left, Dublin, celebrate's with his brother Bernard at the end of the game. Allianz Football League Division 1 Final, Dublin v Derry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher
Alan Brogan, left, Dublin, celebrate's with his brother Bernard at the end of the game. Allianz Football League Division 1 Final, Dublin v Derry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher

FOR the first time in a decade there will be no Brogan at the All Stars bash after Alan and Bernard were both omitted from the list of football nominations, unveiled this morning.

Dublin's star siblings have both paid a heavy price for the All-Ireland semi-final implosion of the reigning champions - and it means that for the first time since 2004, neither brother has made the 45-man shortlist.

Nine Dubs still make the preliminary cut for this year's GAA/GPA All Stars team - sponsored by Opel - after a season which delivered league and Leinster silverware but promised so much more.

Predictably, newly crowned All-Ireland champions Kerry lead the way with 11 nominations, followed by beaten finalists Donegal and Dublin on nine each, semi-finalists Mayo on six, quarter-finalists Monaghan on four and Armagh on two, followed by Tipperary, Galway, Cork and Derry with one apiece.

The final team will be selected in a fortnight, with the semi-finalists set to monopolise all of the 15 positions.

In the meantime, however, there will be some Dublin disgruntlement over the Brogans' double-whammy omission. Incredibly, this hasn't happened in ten years. Alan was nominated five years running, between 2005 and '09, winning back-to-back All Stars in '06 and '07 ... and then landed a third, along with being named Footballer of the Year, in 2011.

Bernard was first nominated in '09 and was Footballer of the Year 12 months later, when he won the first of his three All Stars - further awards came in '11 and '13, sandwiching a nomination two years ago.

This season, despite a Man of the Match performance in the league final win over Derry and a summer haul of 2-17 (2-6 from play), the younger sibling hasn't made the shortlist. In truth, his campaign was truncated by injury during the early league stages and then the Leinster SFC - he limped off early against Laois and then missed the Wexford semi-final.

CREATIVE

In fact, Alan is arguably harder done by. He started all five SFC outings and was particularly prominent against Meath and Monaghan, fulfilling the dual role of creative link man and point-scorer which made him a viable contender for either the half or full-forward line.

There are some notable positional manoeuvres in the list of nominations, with Kerry defender Paul Murphy - RTÉ's All-Ireland man of the match - chosen in the full-back line instead of the half-back division and Donegal's roaming skipper, Michael Murphy, listed at half-forward instead of the inside line.

Both men have made virtually every 'team of the year' and will be strongly fancied again for All Star inclusion. However, their relocations will doubtless spark some intense debate about the defensive make-up of this year's team - and strengthen speculation that Kerry's comeback kid, Kieran Donaghy, will get the full-forward nod after his championship-altering end-of-season renaissance against Mayo and Donegal.

Despite their ambush by Donegal, Dublin retain compelling claims at half-forward where Paul Flynn is chasing a fourth consecutive gong and Diarmuid Connolly is one of three Footballer of the Year nominees, while James McCarthy will probably lead their quest for defensive recognition.

Connolly will be vying with Donegal defender Neil McGee and the bookies' favourite, Kerry's James O'Donoghue, for Footballer of the Year while the young player nominees are Donegal duo Ryan McHugh and Paddy McBrearty along with Galway's Shane Walsh.

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