Monday 11 December 2017

Mac should be a star: Whelan

Former Dubs ace shocked by midfielder Macauley's omission

FORMER Dublin midfielder, Ciarán Whelan, says he was "disappointed" and "surprised" that Michael Darragh Macauley was not awarded an All Star after this season's winners were announced yesterday.

Macauley, who has effectively replaced Whelan in the Dublin engine room and impressed with a string of high energy performances in his first season at inter-county level, was overlooked for one of the midfield berths in favour of Louth captain, Paddy Keenan, and Cork's All-Ireland final man of the match, Aidan Walsh.


"I'm surprised not to see Michael Darragh Macauley get into the team," Whelan told the Herald. "He was the heartbeat of the Dublin team this year in a very difficult part of the qualifiers and performed in every game."

"Aidan Walsh to me was Man of the Match in the All-Ireland final but was patchy up until then.

"It just seems a strange selection. I'd be disappointed for Michael Darragh MacAuley.

"He played well in every match for Dublin. He was catching ball, turning it over, stopping fellas, and popping up with the odd score," said Whelan of the powerful Ballyboden St Enda's man who scored 1-3 in the Championship and 0-4 during the League in his debut season.

"Ok, Paddy Keenan had a great season and he was the leader of that Louth side but I think Macauley did enough to get one of the two midfield slots over the course of the year."

Macauley's omission is just one of several talking points in the team which was revealed yesterday after a lengthy debate from the selection committee which lasted two and a half hours.

Cork have received just four All Stars and for the first time in the history of the scheme, no forward from the All-Ireland champions has been picked and Whelan feels the committee's decision to overlook Daniel Goulding was as remiss as their midfield selection.

"Daniel Goulding delivered when it mattered most for Cork, particularly in the All-Ireland final.

"If Aidan Walsh is being selected on the basis of his All-Ireland final performance, then surely by that criteria, Goulding should get on as well. Albeit, Goulding is trying to get into a much more competitive line. The full-forward line is always the most difficult to get into."

Cork's four are Walsh, Michael Shields, Paudie Kissane and somewhat surprisingly, captain, Graham Canty. The Bantry Blues man was chosen at centre-back, despite limited playing time in Cork's last three games of the year.

Canty injured a hamstring against Roscommon and was substituted and subsequently lasted just 35 minutes of the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Dublin when he was under big pressure against Eoghan O'Gara.


He missed out on a start for the final though he made an appearance in the second half but that his third award comes at the expense of Down's Kevin McKiernan comes as minor shock.

"Knowing Graham Canty and the man that he is, if you asked him did he deserve an All Star, he would probably say 'no'," reckons Whelan.

"Kevin McKiernan - Ok, he was dropped earlier on in the year but he was probably more consistent over the course of the season whereas Canty missed a big chunk of the championship through injury."

Dublin's other big hope, Rory O'Carroll, missed out in a full-back line which contains, Peter Kelly, Charlie Harrison and Michael Shields - the latter is up for the Player of the Year award alongside Bernard Brogan and Daniel Hughes.

Meath's Graham Reilly joins Walsh and Kelly on the Young Player of the Year nominees list.

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