Lake County lead the way in historic Tailteann Cup Team of the Year
Inaugural champions Westmeath have claimed six slots on the first ever Tailteann Cup Team of the Year which has been announced today.
There are five counties in all who make up the Tailteann Cup Champion 15 after the successful staging of the new football championship in 2022 for teams competing in Divisions 3 and 4 who did not make their provincial final.
The semi-finals and finals at Croke Park were dramatic high-scoring affairs with Westmeath seeing off Cavan to claim the new cup and guaranteeing a place in the Sam Maguire Championship in 2023 in the process.
The Lake County capture six positions on the first ever Tailteann Cup Team of the Year – led by veteran star John Heslin, who over the course of the campaign became Westmeath’s all-time top scorer.
Joining him are defenders Jack Smith, Kevin Maguire and Ronan Wallace, with midfielder Sam McCartan acknowledged and influential centre forward Ronan O’Toole completing their haul.
Cavan stalwarts Killian Clarke and Gearóid McKiernan lead the Breffni contingent with Jason McLoughlin and Gerard Smith joining them.
Aidan Devaney’s consistency and his shot stopping heroics that saw him save three penalty kicks gives him the nod for in goal and he is joined by county men Evan Lyons and Seán Carrabine.
Offaly star Anton Sullivan and razor-sharp Leitrim attacker Keith Beirne complete the selection.
Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy congratulated the winners and said: “The Tailteann Cup was an excellent addition to the calendar and produced the competitive matches and entertaining football that we had hoped for.
“Westmeath and Cavan were worthy finalists, and this Team of the Year is a reflection of the players who delivered exceptional performances over the campaign.
“To be part of the history making first ever selection is special and I congratulate the players honoured here and salute all of those who played a role in making the Tailteann Cup such a great success in 2022, something which we will build on in the coming years.”
Tom Parsons, the GPA CEO, added: “First of all I want to acknowledge what a great start we’ve had in 2022 to the Tailteann Cup. The scenes in Westmeath following their win in the final shows how the competition did capture the imagination of players and supporters alike.
“It is great to see players from five counties represented on the Tailteann Cup Team of the Year and heartiest congratulations to each and every one of you.”
An independent selection committee decided the final 15 who will be presented with their awards this Friday night at a special black-tie function in Croke Park. The event will be streamed live on gaa.ie from 7pm and also feature the awards for the Ring, Rackard and Meagher and Joe McDonagh Teams of the Year as well as the overall Players of the Year in the three championships.
Tailteann Cup TOTY Selection – Westmeath (6), Cavan (4), Sligo (3), Offaly (1), Leitrim (1)
1. Aidan Devaney (Sligo)
2. Jack Smith (Westmeath)
3. Kevin Maguire (Westmeath)
4. Evan Lyons (Sligo)
5. Jason McLoughlin (Cavan)
6. Ronan Wallace (Westmeath)
7. Killian Clarke (Cavan)
8. Sam McCartan (Westmeath)
9. Seán Carrabine (Sligo)
10. Gearóid McKiernan (Cavan)
11. Ronan O’Toole (Westmeath)
12. Anton Sullivan (Offaly)
13. Gerard Smith (Cavan)
14. John Heslin (Westmeath)
15. Keith Beirne (Leitrim)