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Dublin: 2°C Monday 1 March 2021

What would your ladies football All-Star team of 2020 be?

Four-in-a-row champions Dublin dominated our selection.

Dublin’s Jennifer Dunne, Carla Rowe and Niamh McEvoy celebrate at the final whistle of the All-Ireland final.
Dublin’s Jennifer Dunne, Carla Rowe and Niamh McEvoy celebrate at the final whistle of the All-Ireland final.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IT WAS A year that ended just like the last few — with Dublin captain Sinéad Aherne climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand to lift the Brendan Martin Cup, although on the Sunday before Christmas this time.

Mick Bohan’s Sky Blues completed an All-Ireland four-in-a-row, having beaten their fellow ladies football heavyweights Cork in the December decider.

It was a fitting way to round off a year like no other, with these two great rivals who have dominated the landscape over the past decade and-a-half doing battle on the biggest day for the fifth time in seven seasons.

Dublin’s second-half surge was paramount in the end, the final scoreline at Croke Park reading 1-10 to 1-5.

While it wasn’t the best game ever played, it certainly painted ladies football in positive light once again after the well-documented semi-final debacle two weeks prior. It was nice to talk about just football afterwards, and that’s what we hope to continue doing through the off-season. 

It’s unclear yet whether there will be TG4 All-Star awards handed out, but in the undoubtable absence of the annual banquet amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we here at The42 gave it a good go ourselves.

As always, the selection was far from straightforward with numerous head-scratching decisions required and several players really unlucky to miss out.

Our selection — comprising solely of players in the TG4 All-Ireland senior championship — is below, along with our Player of the Year and two other contenders, along with some other honourable mentions.

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

The42 ladies football Team of the Year 2020

1. Martina O’Brien (Cork)

2. Leah Caffrey (Dublin)
3. Niamh Collins (Dublin)
4. Aoife Kane (Dublin)

5. Melissa Duggan (Cork)
6. Sinéad Goldrick (Dublin)
7. Erika O’Shea (Cork)

8. Jennifer Dunne (Dublin)
9. Louise Ward (Galway)

10. Lyndsey Davey (Dublin)
11. Aishling Moloney (Tipperary)
12. Carla Rowe (Dublin)

13. Áine Terry O’Sullivan (Cork)
14. Aimee Mackin (Armagh)
15. Noelle Healy (Dublin)

Split: Dublin (8), Cork (4), Armagh (1), Galway (1), Tipperary

Honourable mentions: Lauren Magee, Sinéad Aherne, Ciara Trant (Dublin), Ciara O’Sullivan, Orla Finn, Saoirse Noonan (Cork), Blaithin Mackin, Clodagh McCambridge (Armagh), Ellen McCarron, Aoife McAnespie (Monaghan), Grace Kelly, Dayna Finn (Mayo), Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh (Kerry).

carla-rowe Carla Rowe gets away from Erika O'Shea. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The42′s Senior Player of the Year: Carla Rowe (Dublin)

Any number of players — particularly Dublin ones — could take this award, but we’ve gone with Carla Rowe. When needed most, she stepped up — and she certainly stole the headlines in the business end of the year. Ever-impressive and a consistent figure in Dublin’s all-conquering running game, Rowe took her own game to another level this year. 

After the loss of Aherne to injury in the All-Ireland semi-final, the Clann Mhuire forward took over the free-taking and penalty duties and finished with 2-4 that day (1-2 of that from play). The exact same thing happened in the final, with Rowe making up for a quiet opening period by winning and converting the all-important penalty early in the second half, and converting all of her frees.

She finished the championship with a 3-10 tally, but it wasn’t just what she did before the posts that leaves her as our front-running Player of the Year, just pipping team-mate Jennifer Dunne and Armagh sensation Aimee Mackin to the prize on our watch.

The42′s Intermediate Player of the Year: Vikki Wall (Meath)

The42′s Junior Player of the Year: Joanne Doonan (Fermanagh).

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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