Football All-Stars: Dublin lead the way with five awards with Cluxton the oldest winner

Kerry captain David Clifford named the Footballer of the Year; Kerry and Derry receive four awards

All-Ireland champions Dublin came away with five All-Star awards from the PwC Football All-Stars gala event at the RDS in Dublin. Also announced on Friday night were players of the year, Aaron Gillane the Limerick full forward and Kerry captain David Clifford, winning a second successive award.

Included in Dublin’s haul was goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, who just weeks short of his 42nd birthday became the oldest All-Star in history. It is his seventh award after a season in which he sensationally returned to the team having stepped away after 2020.

From his return, against Kildare in the Leinster semi-final to the end of the championship he conceded just one goal, by Paul Geaney in the All-Ireland final. In that match, Cluxton completed all of his restarts and kicked two frees – the winning margin at the end.

His team-mates honoured were Michael Fitzsimons at full back, after another season fire-fighting the best forwards in the game, which also made a significant contribution to the difficulty in scoring goals against Dublin.


All-Ireland winning captain James McCarthy won his fifth All-Star at wing back after a year that saw him, together with Cluxton and Fitzsimons, win a record ninth football medal.

At centrefield Brian Fenton won his sixth award for a series of rousing performances when he took control of the middle at the end of matches that were narrowly won by the champions. Completing their representation is Colm Basquel who was the top scorer from play this summer, amassing 5-17 and giving a number of standout displays and so earns his first award.

One Dubliner somewhat unlucky is Paul Mannion, who was Man of the Match in the All-Ireland final.

The five All-Stars is the lowest for All-Ireland champions since Kerry in 2014 received the same number. Only Cork this century came back with a smaller representation, four in 2010.

Kerry came next in this year’s list with four. David Clifford wins a remarkable fifth All-Star in the first six years of his career, finishing the season again as football’s top forward.

He is joined by his brother Paudie for a third successive year and Sean O’Shea, winning a third award. Their team-mate, adventurous corner back Tom O’Sullivan, also picks up a third.

Ulster champions Derry return four All-Stars, all first-time winners. Centre back Gareth McKinless, whose energy and ability to go forward yielded a goal in the thrilling All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry, centrefielder Brendan Rogers, who stood out in their hardest matches as a rallying point and Shane McGuigan, who was the championship’s top scorer with 2-52 and outstanding corner back Conor McCluskey, won the county’s awards.

There was also a first All-Star for Roscommon in 22 years, as Enda Smith became the first man from the county since Francie Grehan to be honoured after a terrific year in both league and championship, which featured stand-out performances in the surprise opening victory over league winners Mayo and the All-Ireland group defeat against Kildare when with 1-3 he was nonetheless Man of the Match.

Monaghan’s typically doughty year that saw them stay in Division One and reach an All-Ireland semi-final is reflected in a first All-Star for wing Conor McCarthy, whose tireless raiding from defence yielded 0-3 in the epic defeat – on penalties – of Armagh in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

Finally, the young players of the year awards went to Clare’s Mark Rogers in hurling for a year in which he scored 4-25 in his county’s progress to an All-Ireland semi-final and in football, Derry forward Ethan Doherty, nominated for the second year. The award caps a whirlwind year, starting with narrow defeat in the All-Ireland club final, promotion to Division One, a second successive Ulster medal and All-Ireland semi-final appearance.

The players of the year awards are voted on by their peers on intercounty panels. All-Star teams are selected by two panels of journalists drawn from the national media.

2023: asterisk * indicates first award

1. Stephen Cluxton (Parnells and Dublin) 7th award

2. Conor McCluskey (Magherafelt and Derry) *

3. Michael Fitzsimons (Cuala and Dublin) 4th award

4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle and Kerry) 3rd award

5. James McCarthy (Ballymun Kickhams and Dublin) 5th award

6. Gareth McKinless (Ballinderry and Derry) *

7. Conor McCarthy (Scotstown and Monaghan) *

8. Brian Fenton (Raheny and Dublin) 6th award

9. Brendan Rogers (Slaughtneil and Derry) *

10. Paudie Clifford (Fossa and Kerry) 3rd award

11. Seán O’Shea (Kenmare and Kerry) 3rd award

12. Enda Smith (Boyle and Roscommon) *

13. David Clifford (Fossa and Kerry) 5th award

14. Shane McGuigan (Slaughtneil and Derry) *

15. Colm Basquel (Ballyboden St Enda’s and Dublin) *

PwC GAA/GPA Footballer of the Year – David Clifford (Kerry)

PwC GAA/GPA Young Footballer of the Year – Ethan Doherty (Derry)

PwC GAA/GPA Hurler of the Year – Aaron Gillane (Limerick)

PwC GAA/GPA Young Hurler of the Year – Mark Rodgers (Clare)

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times