PwC Players of the Year, and Football All-Stars Team Announced

Clifford and Gillane crowned Players of the Year & A famous five for Dublin in PwC Football All-Stars

Aaron Gillane and David Clifford were last night crowned the undisputed kings of hurling and football when they were voted by their peers as the PwC GAA/GPA Hurler and Footballer of the Year at the PwC All-Stars at Dublin’s RDS in Ballsbridge.

Also announced live on the night of a gala black-tie event were the PwC Football All-Stars for 2023 which saw All-Ireland champions Dublin head up an impressive five county spread with five places and with provincial champions Kerry and Derry claiming four slots each and one each for Monaghan and Roscommon.

Both members of their respective full forward lines, Aaron Gillane and David Clifford enhanced their reputations posing a lethal threat for the Limerick hurlers and Kerry footballers in another high-profile season for the Treaty County and the Kingdom.

Gillane, full forward on the PwC Hurling All-Stars, once again tormented defences and grabbing important scores in big games. He also brings yet more glory to the Patrickswell club who have a proud tradition of All-Star success and have also impressively supplied recent Hurlers of the Year in Cian Lynch and Diarmaid Byrnes.

Fossa’s David Clifford is now a five-time PwC Football All-Star after a season that saw him maintain his prolific high standards, not only in scoring but, also as exemplified by his deft overhead pass against Tyrone or visionary goal creating ball in the All-Ireland final against Dublin, as a supplier of sublime passes to others. Clifford is the first ever footballer crowned back-to-back Player of the Year and he joins fellow nominee Brian Fenton and Meath legend Trevor Giles as a modern-day two-time winner.

The PwC Young Hurler of the Year award went to Clare’s All-Star nominee Mark Rodgers while Derry’s Ethan Doherty was voted Young Footballer of the Year by their peers after both caught the eye in campaigns that brought them to All-Ireland semi-finals.

A spread of five counties reflects the new football structures which has more teams playing more high-profile games under its new format of group stages.

Dublin’s dominance of the team is not without significance. Their history-making trio of Stephen Cluxton, Michael Fitzsimons and James McCarthy, who moved out on their own as winners of a record nine All-Ireland senior medals last summer, are also now PwC Football All-Stars for 2023.

In the case of Hill 16 hero Cluxton, he is now a seven-time All-Star with only Pat Spillane (nine) and Colm Cooper (eight) ahead of him and with Mikey Sheehy for company on seven in football’s roll of honour.

He was the GAA’s most decorated goalkeeper in All-Star history when he moved onto six awards ahead of John O’Leary and has an astonishing haul of achievements. The Parnells clubman holds the record number of championship appearances (119), with 71 clean sheets, was the first football goalkeeper to score the winner in an All-Ireland final (2011) and is the oldest winner, standing just a couple of weeks off his 42nd birthday. All this at the end of a year that began with Cluxton not part of the panel until his dramatic recall during the Leinster Championship.

Derry’s defensive rock Conor McCluskey and Kerry stalwart Tom O’Sullivan flank Dublin’s man marking ace Mick Fitzsimons. Gareth McKinless is acknowledged for his heavy workload and powerful running at centre back – so too, Monaghan star Conor McCarthy on the left wing with Dublin’s All-Ireland winning captain James McCarthy named on the right wing and collecting a fifth All-Star in the process.

Dubliner Brian Fenton’s All-Star tally moves to a remarkable six in midfield with Derry and Slaughtneil star Brendan Rogers a popular companion for him in the middle.

For the third year in a row, Paudie Clifford keeps it a family affair for the All-Stars by joining his brother in the team. Seán O’Shea’s importance to the Kingdom is recognised with the centre forward shirt, and at left half forward, Roscommon talisman Enda Smith is honoured as the first Rossie All-Star since 2001.

The sharp shooting inside line has David Clifford top of the right, joined by first time winner Shane McGuigan after his prolific year with Derry, and in the left corner Colm Basquel wins a first after his sensational season with the Dubs. 

Congratulating the winners, Uachtarán CLG, Larry McCarthy said: “Tonight we honour the outstanding performers who because of their excellence have been recognised for their efforts with a PwC Football All-Star award. In being chosen from the stellar short list of nominees these players are being recognised for their exceptional contribution to a great football season. In selecting David Clifford as PwC Footballer of the Year and Aaron Gillane as PwC Hurler of the Year, the playing body have also crowned the players they deem the best of the best, while Ethan Doherty and Mark Rodgers are deserving recipients of the Young Players of the Year awards. Our thanks to PwC for their support in maintaining the iconic tradition that are the All-Stars.”

 GPA CEO Tom Parsons said: “The PwC Football All-Stars had to wait to the live show to hear the news and that brings with it extra butterflies I am sure but, I am sure it was worth the wait.  Congratulations to each of you on your own individual performances this season which have been rightly recognised this evening. 

“It is also important to congratulate David and Aaron on their awards as PwC GAA/GPA Players of the Year.  To win this award twice is huge; to do so in consecutive years shows the calibre of the player David is.  And the success of Patrickswell in recent years in producing the hurler of the year needs to be recognised as Aaron follows in the footsteps of Cian Lynch and Diarmaid Byrnes.

“Massive congratulations also to Ethan and Mark on their award wins as PwC GAA/GPA Young Players of the Year.” 

Enda McDonagh, Managing Partner, PwC said“On behalf of everyone in PwC, I would like to congratulate all of the 2023 PwC All-Star Football Team on their awards. To be chosen as one of the best 15 players in the country is a superb achievement and one that each of you should be immensely proud of. Each of you excelled as both individuals and as part of a team during the thrilling championship season and rightly deserve to be recognised for your hard work and dedication, while inspiring future generations of football stars. 

“We would also like to congratulate David and Aaron, the winners of the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Year awards for football and hurling respectively. To stand out above everyone else really is the mark of an outstanding season. And congratulations also to Ethan and Mark, the winners of the PwC GAA/GPA Young Player of the Year awards in football and hurling.”

 PwC Football All-Stars 2023

(Previous winning years in brackets)

  1. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin) (2002, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2019)
  2. Conor McCluskey (Derry)
  3. Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin) (2017, 2019, 2020)
  4. Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry) (2019, 2021)
  5. James McCarthy (Dublin) (2014, 2017, 2018, 2020)
  6. Gareth McKinless (Derry)
  7. Conor McCarthy (Monaghan)
  8. Brian Fenton (Dublin) (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020)
  9. Brendan Rogers (Derry)
  10. Paudie Clifford (Kerry) (2021, 2022)
  11. Seán O’Shea (Kerry) (2019, 2022)
  12. Enda Smith (Roscommon)
  13. David Clifford (Kerry) (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022)
  14. Shane McGuigan (Derry)
  15. Colm Basquel (Dublin)

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