All-Ireland champions Dublin head up an impressive five county spread with five places on the PwC Football All-Stars for 2023 with provincial champions Kerry and Derry claiming four slots each and one each for Monaghan and Roscommon.
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.
PwC Football All-Stars 2023 (Previous winning years in brackets)
Stephen Cluxton (Dublin) (2002, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2019)
Conor McCluskey (Derry)
Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin) (2017, 2019, 2020)
Tom O’Sullivan (Kerry) (2019, 2021)
James McCarthy (Dublin) (2014, 2017, 2018, 2020)
Gareth McKinless (Derry)
Conor McCarthy (Monaghan)
Brian Fenton (Dublin) (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Brendan Rogers (Derry)
Paudie Clifford (Kerry) (2021, 2022)
Seán O’Shea (Kerry) (2019, 2022)
Enda Smith (Roscommon)
David Clifford (Kerry) (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022)
Shane McGuigan (Derry)
Colm Basquel (Dublin)