Donegal sharpshooter Patrick McBrearty is been named on the first ever AIB GAA Club Players’ football team of the championship.
The new GAA initiative has reviewed the outstanding performances at provincial and All-Ireland level in the AIB Club Championships with select media voting on a final 15.
McBrearty helped Kilcar bridge a 24-year gap in winning the Dr Maguire Cup in Donegal, but they were beaten in the Ulster club semi-final by eventual winners Slaughtneil, who have four players named on the 15.
All-Ireland champions Corofin have been rewarded with six players selected.
McBrearty is the only player selected from a club that did not win their provincial championship.
Galway and Connacht champions Corofin had to show plenty of resilience en route to Croke Park, but cut loose on St Patrick’s Day where they produced a sensational shooting display against Nemo Rangers to capture the club’s third AIB All-Ireland senior club football title.
The result is that Liam Silke, Kieran Fitzgerald, Dylan Wall, Michael Farragher, Ian Burke and Martin Farragher have all been awarded a place on the inaugural football team of the championship.
In an additional coup for the club, Corofin also completely dominate the short list for AIB GAA Club footballer of the year with Ian Burke, Michael Farragher and Liam Silke providing the short list.
Inspirational dual club Slaughtneil have the next highest representation with four footballers from the Derry club selected. Antóin McMullan, Karl McKaigue, Chrissy McKaigue and Chris Bradley all feature after their exploits over the season.
Stylish half back James Murray and sharp shooter Eanna O’Connor represent Kildare and Leinster champions Moorefield.
Despite their misfire in the All-Ireland final, there was still much to admire about Nemo Rangers, particularly in a typically tough Munster campaign, and midfielder Alan O’Connor and full forward Luke Connolly represent the Cork and Munster champions.
Uachtarán Cumann Luthchleas Gael John Horan said: “It’s a great honour for all of those players who have been selected – especially with this being the inaugural year of these awards – and I congratulate them all.
“The AIB GAA Club Championships continue to grow from strength to strength and these awards are a reflection of that.
“Every year the club campaign is responsible for some of the high points in the GAA season and it is fitting that we salute the star performers who go to such lengths for the pride of their club jersey. In recognising these outstanding performers we also pay tribute to the clubs who produced them.”
Coman Goggins, AIB Sports Programme Manager said: “AIB is very proud to celebrate its 27th year sponsoring the club championships and we are delighted to partner with The GAA for the introduction of the AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards. The awards honour some of the greatest club players across Ireland, who have shown immense passion and commitment to their club throughout #TheToughest competition.
Coman continued: “On behalf of AIB I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each of the winners and to thank the national and regional sports media for taking the time to cast their votes and for their continued support for the AIB GAA Club Championships.”
Specially commissioned awards by Jarlath Daly will be presented to the players at a banquet at Croke Park on Saturday, April 21 where the AIB GAA Club Footballer of the Year will be announced live on the night.
The AIB GAA Club Players’ Awards for Hurling will be announced on April 18.
The team in full is:
AIB GAA CLUB PLAYERS’ AWARDS – FOOTBALL 2018
- Antóin McMullan (Slaightneil)
- Liam Silke (Corofin)
- Kieran Fitzgerald (Corofin)
- Karl McKaigue (Slaughtneil)
- James Murray (Moorefield)
- Chrissy McKaigue (Slaughtneil)
- Dylan Wall (Corofin)
- Alan O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers)
- Michael Farragher (Corofin)
- Eanna O’Connor (Moorefield)
- Christopher Bradley (Slaughtneil)
- Ian Burke (Corofin)
- Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
- Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers)
- Martin Farragher (Corofin)
FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Ian Burke (Corofin), Michael Farragher (Corofin), Liam Silke (Corofin)