By Sean Creedon
Normally, All-Star nominations are based on championship performances and the teams who make it to the All-Ireland finals get most nominations. Meath’s solitary football nomination this year is Graham Geraghty, who is probably setting an All-Star record, as he didn’t play one minute’s championship football this year. Geraghty was sent off in the drawn National League final against Derry and missed the replay and the first of the Leinster championship, where Meath were beaten by Offaly.
All-Ireland champions Kerry have 13 nominations and there’s a good chance that Maurice Fitzgerald, who didn’t start a game for the Kingdom, will pick up a trophy. The odd ones out in Kerry are defenders Mike Hassett and Tom O’Sullivan and forward Noel Kennelly. Likewise, in hurling, champions Kilkenny dominate with 14 nominations. The odd man out is half-forward John Hoyne, a sign of the times is that Clare and Wexford don’t have a single nomination.
The football team will be announced on Nov. 30, with the hurlers named live at the All-Stars banquet on Dec. 1. In January, the 1999 football All-Stars will play the 2000 winners in an exhibition game in Dubai.
Meanwhile, the Gaelic Players Association will have their first-ever AGM in Killarney next weekend when they will present their own awards.
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Kerry star Michael Francis Russell could be on his way to a career in Aussie Rules. Australian Rules agent Peter Jess has admitted that he is interested in the Laune Rangers player.
"There’s a great similarity between Russell and Peter Canavan and it proves that you don’t need to be a big make to make a success of it in Aussie Rules. We will have another look at Mike, probably in the All-Stars game in Dubai in January," Jess said.
Meanwhile, three young Irish players are opting for a professional career down under. Bernie Collins (Cork), Nicholas Walsh (Cavan), and Kevin Devine (Dublin), are all joining clubs in Melbourne.
Player of the Year
The FAI Player of the Year for the year 2000 will come from one of the following trio: Roy Keane, Mark Kinsella or Niall Quinn. The Young Player nominations are: Robbie Keane, Kevin Kilbane and Richard Dunne. The awards which are sponsored by Eircom for the first time will be presented at a banquet in Dublin on Nov. 12, three days before The Republic play Finland at Lansdowne Road.