Donegal’s great season in football and hurling was rewarded at the GAA/GPA All-Star awards night in Dublin on Friday night with three players picking up All-Stars and Niall Campbell getting the Lory Meagher Hurler of the Year award
Neil McGee, Karl Lacey and Kevin Cassidy were honoured on the night. McGee was picking up his first All-Star after a great season in the No. 3 jersey, while Karl Lacey (unlucky not to be nominated for Player of the Year) was, as expected, given the No. 6 jersey.
But there was further acknowledgement of a great year for the county when Kevin Cassidy picked up his second All-Star at right half-back. He had won his first back in 2002, in his first season playing senior football. Last summer he retired from intercounty football, but was persuaded to come back by Jim McGuinness and his decision has been justified.
Neil McGee has been Donegal’s most consistent player over two seasons and his award was fully merited, while Karl Lacey had a fantastic year, playing his football from centre half-back.
The night was the most successful from a Donegal point of view since the All-Ireland winning year of 1992, when they got seven All-Stars. All the other awards have come one at a time. Karl Lacey is making history by becoming the first player from the county to win three. His other awards came in 2006 and 2009, while Kevin Cassidy joins Martin McHugh as the only other player to have more than one award.
Dublin had the biggest representation on the night, winning six All-Stars, while Kerry were next with three.
Alan Brogan of Dublin was selected as Footballer of the Year with Michael Fennelly of Kilkenny the Hurler of the Year.
Donegal could also lay part claim to one of the other football 15 as Michael Daragh Macauley of Dublin was selected as one of the midfielders. Michael Daragh’s dad is originally from Lettermacaward.
The Donegal success on the night didn’t end there with one of Donegal’s best hurlers over the last ten years, Niall Campbell, picking up the Lory Meagher Hurler of the Year award, a fitting end to a very good year for the Burt man.
2011 GAA/GPA Football All Stars
Goalkeeper: Stephen Cluxton (Dublin)
Full backs: Marc O’Sé (Kerry), Neil McGee (Donegal), Michael Foley (Kildare)
Half backs: Kevin Cassidy (Donegal), Karl Lacey (Donegal), Kevin Nolan (Dublin)
Midfield: Bryan Sheehy (Kerry), Michael Darragh Macauley (Dublin)
Half forwards: Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry), Alan Brogan (Dublin), Paul Flynn (Dublin)
Full forwards: Colm Cooper (Kerry), Andy Moran (Mayo), Bernard Brogan (Dublin).
The full list of Donegal All-Stars now is:
1972: Brian McEniff; 1974: Donal Monaghan
1983: Martin McHugh; 1990: Joyce McMullan
1992: Gary Walsh, Matt Gallagher, Martin Gavigan, Anthony Molloy, Martin McHugh, James McHugh, Tony Boyle
1993: John Joe Doherty; 2002: Kevin Cassidy
2003: Adrian Sweeney; 2006: Karl Lacey
2009: Karl Lacey; 2011: Neil McGee, Kevin Cassidy, Karl Lacey,