1. Brian Kelly (Kerry)
Kelly is enjoying a brilliant season. A Sigerson Cup winning campaign with UCC was the springboard for him to break into the Kerry setup and he impressed yesterday. A couple of fine second-half saves helped the Legion club man keep a clean sheet, his kickouts were sound and he drew gasps from the crowd when he made a flying leap to catch the ball after the break under pressure.
2. Colin Walshe (Monaghan)
The 2013 Allstar was back to his best yesterday. He silenced the threat of Jamie Clarke for large chunks of the game and while the Crossmaglen player did kick some points in the finale, Walshe had done his job and helped ensure Monaghan were on the road to victory.
3. Colm Begley (Laois)
Begley may have missed out on the opening championship game that Laois played this season but he’s back now as a vital cog in Tomás Ó Flatharta’s machine. Yesterday Begley was instrumental in helping Laois emerge victorious and get over the line.
4. Shane Enright (Kerry)
Brian Hurley’s free scoring displays were a key ingredient in the run of successes that Cork enjoyed during the spring. He was earmarked as Cork’s danger man and there may have been some initial surprise that Shane Enright was the Kerry defender tasked with blotting his threat yesterday. But Eamon Fitzmaurice’s faith was rewarded as the Tarbert man’s defensive performance was terrific.
5. Charlie Harrison (Sligo)
Sligo got their season back on track in the wake of the huge disappointment against Galway in the Connacht championship with Saturday’s win over Wicklow. Harrison played a key role in that with his defensive play.
6. Vinny Corey (Monaghan)
Similar to teammate Walshe, Corey came out and gave a storming display in defence for Monaghan. Last week’s drawn game may have been a tough outing but in yesterday’s replay Corey was immense as he shut down Armagh’s Kevin Dyas.
7. Robbie Kiely (Tipperary)
Tipperary overcame the crushing disappointment of that Munster semi-final loss to Cork when they emerged on the qualifier stage on Saturday. They destroyed Longford and their defence really impressed with Arravale Rovers player Kiely catching the eye with some excellent form.
8. John Galvin (Limerick)
Limerick’s long-serving stalwart continues to show up for the county with brilliant displays with Saturday’s win over Antrim being the latest example. He kicked 0-2, dominated at midfield and got forward to be fouled for a penalty that Ger Collins crucially converted.
9. John O’Loughlin (Laois)
O’Loughlin gave a towering display that helped provide a platform for Laois to build on at midfield while his 0-4 haul was invaluable in helping his team get the better of Wexford yesterday by a narrow margin.
10. Peter Acheson (Tipperary)
Acheson may have been in action in defence in last month’s Munster semi-final but he was shifted to attack for Saturday’s qualifier in Thurles. He really impressed up front as well, notching 1-2 and spearheading Tipperary’s drive for success.
11. Declan O’Sullivan (Kerry)
The Dromid Pearses man is the elder statesman of the Kerry attack but despite the absence of several of his old comrades, he gave a vintage display yesterday and helped his younger teammates shine. O’Sullivan’s range of passing was superb and he was at the hub of several shining facets of Kerry’s play.
12. Johnny Buckley (Kerry)
One of the astute changes Kerry made to their side was the switch of Buckley to left half-forward. A traditional midfielder, he showed up well in that attacking role and impressed with four quality points as well.
13. Ciaran Lyng (Wexford)
Wexford bowed out of the championship yesterday but their star attacker did his best to prolong their season. Lyng scored 0-5 on home soil and caused the Laois rearguard plenty problems.
14. James O’Donoghue (Kerry)
It is possible for an attack to cope without Colm Cooper. Kerry proved that in the absence of their injured talisman yesterday and much of that was down to the superb play of James O’Donoghue. He struck 0-10 and ripped the Cork defence apart in a sensational showing.
15. Conor McManus (Monaghan)
Monaghan’s main man was back on song with a splendid attacking display yesterday. He took the Armagh defence for 1-7 in an impressive showing. There was an old-school sense to his goal as he gathered a long ball pumped in and slammed a shot to the net.
Who do you think should be in the team of the weekend?
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