Goalkeeper: Paul Durcan – Donegal
Durcan had another very impressive year in goals for Donegal. He commands the square better than any keeper in the game; is comfortable with ball in hand and is accurate with kick outs. He instils confidence in the men in front of him and (mistake final included) was definitely the country’s best ‘keeper.
Corner-Back: Marc O’Sé – Kerry
O’Sé was a central player to Kerry’s All-Ireland success. He provided a calmness in defence alongside the exuberance of inexperienced defenders. Ó Sé showed he is still a brilliant man-marker and led from the back all year, striding forward in that typical O’Sé style, notching up a couple of scores to boot.
Full-Back: Neil McGee – Donegal
As far as traditional full-backs go, McGee is in a league of his own. Good in the air and quick on the ground. He held a few very threatening forwards very quiet throughout the season and when he got the ball he used it well. Key player who had a solid year.
Corner-Back: Keith Higgins – Mayo
Higgins is probably the best man-marker in the game, which he showed when he faced James O’Donoghue twice; possibly the best individual battle of the year. He is exceptionally good at reading the game and should he be caught out, he almost always got back to make a tackle. Excellent campaign.
Wing-Back: Paul Murphy – Kerry
The unassuming Murphy has nailed down the number five shirt with Kerry. Quietly went about his business, sweeping up ball, getting tackles in and he never seemed to tire all year. He did very well against some dangerous forwards and rightfully claimed man of the match in the final. Exciting talent.
Centre-Back: Peter Crowley – Kerry
Crowley has emerged as a really effective centre back. His fitness levels allow him to cover a huge amount of ground in search of loose ball. His tackling technique, due to his imposing physicality is second-to-none and his foot passing made him an invaluable asset. Standout player for Kerry.
Wing-Back: Colm Boyle – Mayo
Boyle was having a good year with Mayo but he then upped his game against Kerry. Down to fourteen men, he dragged his team back into a winning position. His defensive capabilities mean he’s one of the best wing backs in the game. And he’s almost as good going forward. Impressive season.
Midfield: David Moran – Kerry
Moran arrived late on the 2014 scene, but his impact on the competition was immense. His fielding was a joy to behold as he soared time and again to gather possession. His distribution was intelligent and his scores were at times, breath-taking. Brilliant footballer finally fulfilling his potential.
Midfield: Neil Gallagher – Donegal
Throughout the season Gallagher was one of a couple of men Donegal turned to when things weren’t going their way. He commanded the midfield for large parts of the season and drove Donegal forward. A really inspiring character who kept going until the end of every game.
Wing-Forward: Diarmuid Connolly – Dublin
Connolly exemplifies a traditional wing-forward; great in the air, strong on the ball, and he’s just as comfortable off his left or right side. He links up very well with his attacking colleagues and shot the lights out all season. Was still Dublin’s best forward in defeat to Donegal. Superb year.
Centre-Forward: Michael Murphy – Donegal
Murphy is the epitome of captain fantastic. From their first outing in Ulster, to the final against Kerry, he was their go-to man when in trouble. His strength and pace make him a hard man to stop and his finishing exploits are incredible. One of the game’s top players.
Wing-Forward: Ryan McHugh – Donegal
Exceptional season form McHugh. He took over the pivotal role of sweeper for McGuinness and performed it admirably. Got the ball deep and scarpered forward with it countless times. His performance against Dublin was awesome and he is a top contender for young player of the year.
Corner-Forward: Cillian O’Connor – Mayo
O’Connor was scoring for fun this season, like he has been the last few seasons. He once again proved himself to be one of the very best scorers in the business. Mayo would really struggle without him and he’s good value for his place on this team.
Full-Forward: Kieran Donaghy – Kerry
Played the least Championship minutes out of anyone on this selection, but he snatched the title for Kerry with his performances against Mayo and Donegal. He links up delightfully well with James O’Donoghue and his role as decoy at times in the final was just as important.
Corner-Forward: James O’Donoghue – Kerry
O’Donoghue oozes class. Left foot, right foot, it doesn’t matter. Assumed the role of leading the Kerry attack in Com Cooper’s absence with consummate ease. His performance against Cork was amazing. He pulled the strings in the All-Ireland series. O’Donoghue converted some beautiful scores and set others up numerous times. First name on the team sheet.
By John Ivory