All-Stars: Monaghan trio among six Ulster players in football team of the year

Monaghan's Conor McManus attempts to get away from Tyrone's Padraig Hampsey in this year's All-Ireland semi-final
Monaghan's Conor McManus wins a third All-Star with Tyrone's Padraig Hampsey picking up his first award

Monaghan have earned the biggest Ulster representation in this year's Football All-Stars with Rory Beggan, Karl O'Connell and Conor McManus included.

Tyrone, who beat Monaghan in the All-Ireland semi-finals after losing to them in Ulster, have two inclusions - Colm Cavanagh and Padraig Hampsey.

Ulster champions Donegal have to be content with one award as Ryan McHugh is named in the forwards.

With keeper Beggan pipping Stephen Cluxton, Dublin receive seven awards.

Jonny Cooper, James McCarthy and All-Ireland Final man of the match Jack McCaffrey are the Dubs' All-Ireland winners named in defence with Brian Fenton and Brian Howard taking the midfield slots.

Despite Dublin's continuing dominance as they secured a fourth successive Sam Maguire triumph, Paul Mannion and Ciaran Kilkenny are the only members of Jim Gavin's squad to be named in the forwards.

Kerry youngster David Clifford wins his first All-Star after an impressive first senior campaign with the Kingdom while Galway's Ian Burke is also included in the attack.

Beggan wins his first All-Star

After being nominated for a fourth time, Beggan finally lands an All-Star with his ability to kick long-range points likely to have been a factor in his edging out Cluxton for the number one jersey.

Cluxton picked up five All-Stars in the early part of his career but has not been honoured in the scheme since 2013.

The Dublin keeper is regarded by many as being one of the most influential players in gaelic football history with the changing emphasis on accurate kickouts having largely come about because of his playing method.

Moy man Cavanagh, who along with McCarthy, McCaffrey and Mannion remain from last year's All-Star team, is named at full-back despite wearing the number eight jersey during the campaign.

Cavanagh, Ulster's only All-Star in 2017, predominantly operated in defence during Tyrone's summer and produced a number of crucial interventions as the Red Hands progressed to the All-Ireland decider despite sustaining two defeats.

His team-mate Hampsey's award in the full-back line is no surprise after his tremendous season while wing-back O'Connell also earns his first award following his outstanding summer for the Farney men.

O'Connell's county-mate McManus secures his third award after being previously honoured in 2013 and 2015 while Donegal's McHugh picks up a second All-Star after his inclusion in 2016 as team-mate Michael Murphy misses out.

Dubs winners McCarthy, McCaffrey, Fenton and Kilkenny join McManus in being named in an All-Star team for a third time.

Howard is in the only of Dublin's seven inclusions to be honoured for the first time.

Colm Cavanagh and Karl O'Connell in action in this year's All-Ireland semi-final
Colm Cavanagh is one of four players retained from the 2017 team while Karl O'Connell earns his first All-Star

Dublin's seven awards matches the number the county secured in 2015 and 1995 as their overall tally of 123 All-Stars puts them 18 behind Kerry since the scheme began in 1971.

GAA president John Horan chaired the selection committee made up of senior GAA correspondents.

In a change from previous years, the 2018 selectors were not restricted to picking players in the positions they had been nominated in.

The GAA president described the All-Stars as a "byword for excellence and high standards".

"Those fortunate to be ranked among the best of the best join a most distinguished group of GAA heroes," added the GAA president.

Gaelic Players Association chief executive Paul Flynn said "each All-Star winner, the nominees and the team-mates have contributed to a fantastic 2018 competition".

The All-Star hurling team will be announced on Friday night when the footballer and hurler of the year awards will also be revealed.

Dublin trio Fenton, Kilkenny and McCaffrey have been nominated for the footballer of the year award with Tyrone's Michael McKernan, Dublin's Howard and Kerry's Clifford the contenders for the young footballer honour.

2018 PWC Football Allstars

Rory Beggan (Monaghan); Jonny Cooper (Dublin), Colm Cavanagh (Tyrone), Padraig Hampsey (Tyrone); Karl O'Connell (Monaghan), James McCarthy (Dublin), Jack McCaffrey (Dublin); Brian Fenton (Dublin), Brian Howard (Dublin); Paul Mannion (Dublin), Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin), Ryan McHugh (Donegal); David Clifford (Kerry), Conor McManus (Monaghan), Ian Burke (Galway).

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