The 2016 GAA-GPA All-Star team were triumphant in a high-scoring encounter over their 2015 counterparts in the Opel All-Star exhibition match at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
2016 All-Stars 14-11
2015 All-Stars 10-11
There were three Donegal players involved - Ryan McHugh with the victorious 2016 side, while Glenswilly pair Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher hit 4-3 between them but finished up on the losing side.
The Irish ex-pats and locals in attendance were treated to a real goal-rush as the two 13-a-side teams hit the back of the net on 24 occasions.
The winners were powered by a Dublin-Tipperary alliance as Ciaran Kilkenny and Dean Rock both scored three goals, while Michael Quinlivan and Conor Sweeny scored a brace each.
It was hardly surprising it was such a high-scoring affair considering the wealth of attacking talent on view.
The 2016 team could also call on Kerry’s Paul Geaney, and Tyrone duo Peter Harte and Mattie Donnelly, while the 2015 team boasted gifted forwards such like Donegal’s Michael Murphy, Monaghan’s Conor McManus, and Dublin’s Bernard Brogan.
That trio scored a combined 6-9 between them in the exciting end to end contest.
The first nine scores of the match were all goals, and at half-time the 2016 team led by 9-6 to 5-6. The second-half continued in the same attacking vein, but the 2015 side couldn’t reel in the deficit and it remained at 12 points by the final whistle.
Winning captain, Dean Rock, was presented with the Joe McDonagh Memorial Cup afterwards by Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Aogán Ó Fearghail.
Scorers for 2016 All-Stars: Ciaran Kilkenny 3-2, Dean Rock 3-0, Michael Quinlivan 2-2, Conor Sweeney 2-1, Peter Acheson 1-2, Matthew Donnelly, Paul Geaney 1-1 each, Kieran Martin 1-0, Peter Harte 0-2.
Scorers for 2015 All-Stars: Michael Murphy 3-2, Conor McManus 2-3, Bernard Brogan 1-3, Brian Fenton, Neil Gallagher 1-1 each, Donnchadh Walsh, Colm Cavanagh 1-0 each, Philly McMahon 0-1.
2016 ALL-STARS: D. Clarke (Mayo); D. Kyne (Galway), R. McHugh (Donegal), R. Kiely (Tipperary), K. Martin (Westmeath); P. Acheson (Tipperary), M. Donnelly (Tyrone); P. Harte (do), M. Quinlivan (Tipperary), C. Sweeney (do); C. Kilkenny (Dublin), P. Geaney (Kerry), D. Rock (Dublin). Sub: J. Cooper (Dublin) for R. McHugh (h-t).
2015 ALL-STARS: B. Kealy (Kerry); P. McMahon (Dublin), C. McCarron (Tyrone); K. O’Connell (Monaghan), C. O’Sullivan (Kerry), S. Enright (Kerry); B. Fenton (Dublin), C. Cavanagh (Tyrone); D. Walsh (Kerry), N. Gallagher (Donegal), M. Murphy (do); C. McManus (Monaghan), B. Brogan (Dublin).
REFEREES: C. Lane (Cork, first half); M. Deegan (Laois, second half).