AIT graduate selected on 2020 football All-Stars
The 2020 PwC All-Stars have been announced with All-Ireland champions Dublin dominating the selection with a record-equalling nine players out of the 15.
Although the sky blue of Dublin is the dominant colour in the selection, it’s also a landmark day for the Breffni Blues of Cavan, who received three awards including one for former Athlone IT student Raymond Galligan.
An impressive goalkeeper and Cavan team captain in the 2020 campaign, Galligan is the 800th player to have received an All-Star since they were first held back in 1971.
Galligan kicked a dramatic winning point from a long range free in the extra-time victory over arch rivals Monaghan which started Cavan's march to Ulster championship glory.
Cavan went on to defeat Antrim and Down, before a memorable Ulster final win over Donegal, to claim their first senior provincial crown since 1997. Galligan lifted the Anglo Celt Cup as team captain, sparking jubilant scenes in the Breffni County.
In 2010, Galligan was a leading figure as an outfield player on the AIT team which reached the Sigerson Cup semi-finals.
Heroic defender Padraig Faulkner and influential midfielder Thomas Galligan are the other Cavan players picked on this year's All-Stars.
Cavan had previously received two awards in the 50 years of the scheme in Ollie Brady and Dermot McCabe (a brother of current Tubberclair football manager Martin McCabe).
Elsewhere, there is another notable first for Tipperary captain Conor Sweeney who is acknowledged for his starring role in leading Tipp to their first Munster SFC title since 1935. In the process he follows in the footsteps of fellow Tipp men Declan Browne and Michael Quinlivan.
Mayo’s Oisín Mullin, who is nominated for the PwC GAA/GPA Young Player of the Year, is picked in a defence where the Dubs dominate.
Dublin’s Brian Fenton, who has never lost a senior championship match since his 2015 debut, partners Thomas Galligan in the middle and collects his fifth All-Star.
Cillian O’Connor’s prolific contribution to Mayo reaching the All-Ireland final is recognised in an attack where Dublin's Con O’Callaghan (a player with strong Westmeath links) receives his third award.
The awards were picked by a panel of Gaelic games correspondents from across print, radio, TV and digital media. The winners will be showcased in a special TV programme on RTÉ 1 this Saturday evening at 6.35pm, where the PwC All-Stars in hurling will be announced and also the winners of the GAA/GPA Player and Young Player of the Year will be announced in hurling and football.
In congratulating all the players selected for All-Star awards, GAA President John Horan said: “These awards have stood the test of time as something truly special, and I want to acknowledge PwC for their support and helping ensure that after the achievement that was getting the 2020 Championships played, we can acknowledge all of our players who made it possible and salute the cream of the crop.”
Paul Flynn, GPA CEO said: “I know what a great honour it is to be selected as a PwC All-Star and all 15 players should be very proud of their achievements.”
Athlone native Feargal O’Rourke, Managing Partner of sponsors PwC, said: “While 2020 was different from anything we have ever experienced before, these players showed resilience and adaptability to shine for their counties and gave the country so much to cheer about. These are individual awards, but, achieved as part of a team and it’s important to note that all of the winners are true team players.”
PwC Football All-Stars 2020
1. Raymond Galligan (Cavan)
2. Oisín Mullin (Mayo)
3. Padraig Faulkner (Cavan)
4. Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin)
5. James McCarthy (Dublin)
6. John Small (Dublin)
7. Eoin Murchan (Dublin)
8. Brian Fenton (Dublin)
9. Thomas Galligan (Cavan)
10. Niall Scully (Dublin)
11. Ciaran Kilkenny (Dublin)
12. Con O’Callaghan (Dublin)
13. Cillian O’Connor (Mayo)
14. Conor Sweeney (Tipperary)
15. Dean Rock (Dublin)