7 players who were unlucky to miss out on a football All-Star this year

THE FOOTBALL ALL-STARS were announced this morning, as 15 players were honoured for spectacular seasons in 2016. 

That left 30 footballers who were nominated out in the cold. Of those, these seven players can consider themselves particularly unfortunate to have missed out.

These players were just about pipped at the post, but regardless they deserve recognition for the fantastic seasons they produced in their county colours.

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1. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cluxton probably paid the price for his eight-minute meltdown against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final. Dublin lost four kick-outs during that spell before half-time and his importance to their cause was highlighted as they struggled to gain possession around the middle as Kerry kicked 2-4 before the interval.

Dublin conceded six goals in the championship this year, two more than in 2015. The absence of Rory O’Carroll in front of Cluxton didn’t help.

2. Cian O’Sullivan (Dublin)

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Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

O’Sullivan had another fine year and while he’s looked good, he hasn’t made the same sort of impact as he did the season before.

That might be because we became accustomed to his sweeping role in front of the full-back line, although he can have no complaints about the selection of team-mates Jonny Cooper and Philly McMahon ahead of him.

3. Patrick Durcan (Mayo)

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

No defender scored more times across the two All-Ireland finals. Durcan thrived on the big stage both days and proved he’s here to stay. He kept his man quiet and carried a significant attacking threat from the Mayo half-back line.

Durcan wasn’t quite as consistent as Lee Keegan or Colm Boyle throughout the summer, but if an All-Star was handed out for the final alone, he’d pick one up.

4. Peter Acheson (Tipperary)

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A year ago it would have seemed implausible to suggest that a Tipperary player was close to winning an All-Star, but tomorrow night Acheson will watch Premier team-mate Michael Quinlivan collect the huge honour.

The Dubai-based midfielder faced some difficult competition for the second midfield slot, with Brian Fenton virtually guaranteed a place. Acheson thrived under Liam Kearns and his team will hope they haven’t seen the last of him in a blue and gold jersey.

5. Kevin McManamon (Dublin)

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

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McManamon was probably leading the race to win Footballer of the Year after Dublin’s semi-final win over Kerry, but two relatively quiet final performances dropped him down the pecking order for an All-Star.

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Ultimately it was a race between McManamon and Dean Rock. Rock’s nine points in the replay were enough to edge him over the line. That’s dissapointing for the St Jude’s attacker, who enjoyed his most consistent year for Dublin.

6. Gary Brennan (Clare)

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Brennan was unplayable at times on Clare’s epic journey to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. A colossus in midfield, the Ballyea man was the first Clare footballer to be nominated for an All-Star since 1997, following in the footsteps of Frankie Griffin and Martin Daly.

As with Acheson, Brennan deserves enormous credit for winning a nomination coming from a lower division county.

7. Kevin McLoughlin (Mayo)

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

McLoughlin was one of the lynch pins of Mayo’s run to the All-Ireland final. He improved in each game and became more comfortable in the sweeper role as the season went on.

The Knockmore star wasn’t considered one of the front-runners to pick up an award, but deserved his nomination nonetheless for his impressive year.

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