Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 28 September 2021

Well played: here's our Gaelic football team of the week

We’re handing out the jerseys once again after a busy weekend of Gaelic football action.

Colm Cooper leads out his side.
Colm Cooper leads out his side.
Image: inpho

THERE’S PLENTY FOR Gaelic football aficionados to digest today after an event-filled Sunday. Here’s who we think deserves an extra portion of boiled chicken and brown rice this evening.

1. Brendan Kealy (Kerry) - Made one great save at a crucial time when his teammates looked lackadaisical. Didn’t have anything negative to take away from his performance as his kickouts were decent too.

2. Ciarán Hyland (Wicklow) - It may not have made the difference, but it would have made a difference if one of the best corner-backs in the game had been moved onto Brian Farrell earlier. It was midway through the opening half when that change was enacted and thereafter he got very much the better of a player who had been one of Meath’s main scoring outlets up to that point.

3. Kevin Reilly (Meath) - He gave away a sideline ball that resulted in a Wicklow point early on but thereafter he was always on top in his duel with Seánie Furlong. What made it all the more impressive was the amount of ball that was coming his way, quick and long, but he got out in front and was excellent in the air. Looked back to his best.

4. Daniel Bohane (Kerry) - Played full-back and while it’s hard to know if he’s the long-term solution there, allowing Marc Ó Sé to move into a more flexible and fluid position, he did enough to get man-of-the-match in Thurles. That doesn’t say as much as it would on other occasions, and Aidan Walsh will offer a much greater test if he remains on the edge of the square.

5. Karl O’Connell (Monaghan) -  Not the strongest line on the field this week and he was the last man into it mainly because of what he did first up in Clones when he opened the scoring courtesy of a goal. Played well, if not spectacularly, thereafter.

6. Dessie Mone (Monaghan) - Pace was always going to be a problem for the centre-back but he overcame it with a solid display on the back foot and even got forward to kick what might have been the crucial score in Clones.

7. James Loughery (Antrim) - Played further up the field but we accommodate him here. There was that goal but much more as he used his speed throughout to get into good positions and stretch the Monaghan defence.

8. Michael McCann (Antrim) - We aren’t quite sure how he was on the losing side and he must be wondering the same thing today. Held his own in a very decent tussle at centrefield and got forward to kick a couple of points as well. A good days work, even if it wasn’t enough.

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Meath’s Joe Sheridan is tackled by Paul Earls of Wicklow. Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

9. Dick Clerkin (Monaghan) - So much of what his county achieves these days is down to himself, Paul Finlay and Darren Hughes. Yet Clerkin found himself all alone early on but held firm for 60 minutes and was our man-of-the-match in Clones.

10. Darran O’Sullivan (Kerry) - Was the only forward on his side that looked anyway interested, indeed Kerry’s fifth point summed up what he brought to a sleepy performance when we got his startling pace and a calm finish. Will be taking up most Cork thoughts right about now.

11. Graeme Reilly (Meath) – If this form keeps up, he’ll be an All Star by the middle of the season. He started in midfield, where like Meade he was immense, but his breaks forward and his point-taking from distance were a joy to watch as he went on to rightly win man-of-the-match in Dr Cullen Park. Five points from play says a lot.

12. Brian Meade (Meath) – So much had been made of the strength of the Wicklow midfield, the weakness of Meath in that sector and how it could turn the game. Well it did turn it, just not as we expected. Meade was hugely physical and helped lay the foundations for his side’s victory, even if the opposition management allowed him to mark a much smaller man at wing-forward all day long.

13. Joe Sheridan (Meath) – Maybe it says more about the day that was in it, because he still looked rusty. But as part of a two-man full-forward line, the vision was still there even if the execution wasn’t. He was chief playmaker for long spells, popped up with a couple of points and even did his time at centrefield while lasting the full 70 minutes. Will only get better.

14. Michael McGill (Antrim) - He might look big and awkward but he was anything but against Monaghan. Showed well, knew when to drop deep and stay close to the square, his hands were like vice grips while he has the intelligence to know when and where to lay the ball off and the ability to take on a score himself.

15. Peter Acheson (Tipperary) - Played at centre-forward but we accommodate him here. Scored a couple of points and carried the play past Eoin Brosnan on more than a few occasions. It says a lot that he has piled on the worries surrounding the man that picked him up in Thurles.

We presume you agree with all out selections, yes?

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