Dunloy, Ballymena

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Unit Updates 2018 Team of the Year

Who doesn't love a good Team of the Year? The beauty of local GAA is that everyone is afforded an opinion. Here's your chance to let yours be known - follow this link to vote for your choices.

There won't be any trophies, plaques or slap-up meals in swanky hotels, just the internal glory of being named in the 2018 Unit Updates Team of the Year.

I can only pick what I've seen, and these nominations are based on what I have observed from the sidelines of Antrim and Derry throughout the year.

Strap yourselves in...

Cúl Báire | Goalkeeper

Darrel McDermott (St Mary’s Banagher)

Conceded only two goals in the entire championship campaign and only 12 across the course of the league season. McDermott’s kick outs are accurate and often the starting point for many Banagher attacks.

Ciaron O’Boyle (Erin’s Own Lavey)

A very safe pair of hands for Lavey, pulling off some fine saves throughout their championship campaign and kicking numerous frees as any modern goalkeeper can.

Pádraig McGilligan (Cúchullain’s Dunloy)

Very strong in goals for Dunloy Minor Footballers, pulling off two excellent saves in their Ulster Tournament Quarter-Final defeat to Bellaghy.

Eoin Magee (Emmett’s Cushendun)

Solid for Cushendun throughout the season and helped them reach an Ulster JHC Final where they were finally defeated by Castleblayney.

Vote for your goalkeeper of choice here.

Lánchulaí Taoibh | Corner Backs

Aidan Toner (Erin’s Own Lavey)

A very modern corner back, willing to burst forward at any opportunity with great strength and pace. Top performer for Derry finalists Lavey.

Barry Daly (Eoghan Rua)

Another modern, score-taking corner back. Popped up with a goal in the county final against Lavey and was on hand for a point in the defeat of Slaughtneil.

Paul McNeill (Emmett’s Slaughtneil)

Strong marking performance when we saw him in the Derry SHC Semi-Final against Kevin Lynch’s HC, continually coming out with the sliotar.

Patrick Kelly (Kevin Lynch HC)

A key member of the intense Kevin Lynch’s defensive unit that came so close to toppling Derry Hurling champions Slaughtneil in the county Semi-Final.

Vote for your corner backs here.

Lánchulaí | Full Back

Ruairí McCloskey (St Mary’s Banagher)

A very solid performer in his side’s run to the Ulster IFC final where they lost out to Mullahoran. Tenacious, getting his hands on many a ball to block goalbound efforts.

Liam McGoldrick (Eoghan Rua)

All-action performances throughout the championship, his last minute point finally dethroned the dominant force in Ulster GAA over the last six years, Slaughtneil, before delivering a tour-de-force in the Derry county final.

Joe McDaniels (Naomh Gall)

The Naomh Gall captain lifted the Ulster IHC title in 2018 and was a tower of strength and reassurance for the Milltown Row side throughout their championship tilt.

Paddy Burke (Ruairí Óg)

The Ruairí Óg captain may have slipped on his way out of the Athletic Grounds dressing room, but there was no such luck for opposition forwards on the pitch as he completed a solid season at full back.

Give your favourite full back a vote here.

Leathchúlaí | Half Backs

Arron Graffin (Ruairí Óg)

His season ended in agony in Armagh, but the Cushendall half-back was instrumental in his side’s impressive defence throughout the season.

Eamon McGill (Erin’s Own Lavey)

A raiding half-back, McGill netted the goal that sent Glen crashing out of the Derry championship and Erin’s Own through to the final.

Aaron McGregor (Na Cúnna Limavady)

The Limavady half back showed class in many of their games, providing attacking impetus from the half-back line to see them come within a whisker of an Ulster JFC title.

Paul Cartin (St Mary’s Banagher)

The experienced Banagher man lead by example as they ended a 66-year wait for a Derry title and led them into Ulster in a similar vein, his tenacity in defence a big factor.

Vote for your half back of choice here.

Leathchúlaí Láir | Centre Half Back

Odhran McMullan (Loughgiel Shamrocks)

The last-minute equaliser against Dunloy will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it and capped a tour-de-force for the the Loughgiel Minor captain.

Richie Mullan (Kevin Lynch HC)

Instrumental as his Minor side took an Ulster title, and hit 1-08 in Senior action against Slaughtneil, where he almost clinched a replay with a last minute free.

Pic: John McIlwaine

James McAuley (Naomh Éanna)

Leading his side to an Ulster IFC title, the young centre back marshalled a tight defence excellently and launched many counter attacks to their nippy forwards.

Justin Crozier (Erin’s Own Cargin)

Stood up when the chips were down against Ulster champions Gaoth Dobhair and almost led his side to an upset.

Choose your centre half back here.

Lár na Páirce | Midfield

James Kielt (Pearse’s Kilrea)

A one-man scoring machine for the Pearse’s side who very nearly kept them up. His 1-01 in the dying minutes against Swatragh was a particular highlight.

Jackson McGreevy (Naomh Gall)

With an uncanny knack of scoring goals from midfield, McGreevy’s major in the opening round helped them past a stubborn Gort na Móna, before he repeated the trick in the county final to see off Creggan.

Neil McManus (Ruairí Óg)

Simply outstanding in both the county final against Loughgiel and in Ulster against Ballycran, the midfielder was almost omnipresent.

Conor McHugh (Emmett’s Cushendun)

Deadly from frees as Cushendun finally captured the Antrim JHC and came within one point of clinching the Ulster title to go with it.

Niall Holly (Eoghan Rua)

Man of the Match in the county Semi-Final against Ballinascreen, the big midfielder produced many all-action displays throughout the season.

Joe Maskey (Naomh Éanna)

‘Joe the Goal’ hit the major that clinched the Ulster IFC title in Armagh and recovered from a broken leg earlier in the season to lead his side to glory in December.

Mark Lynch (St Mary’s Banagher)

Retired from county duty but can look forward to many more outstanding years in a maroon and white jersey as he drove his side on time and time again in a hugely successful season.

Michael McCann (Erin’s Own Cargin)

Damian Cassidy’s Rolls Royce sealed county final glory in a tight, tense encounter in Ahoghill. He brings experience and pace to the Cargin side.

Choose your midfielder from both sets - Part 1 and Part 2.

Leatosaí | Half Forward

Ruairí Mooney (Eoghan Rua)

Having operated at both midfield and half forward, the rangy North Coast man showed energy and skill to threaten many defences.

Peter Healy (Naomh Éanna)

Healy has had a fine season, beginning with a Sigerson Cup medal in the Spring. His performances for the county have been excellent and he capped it all with an Ulster IFC title with Naomh Éanna.

Conor Carson (Ruairí Óg)

Carson’s goals against Naomh Eoin finally got Ruairí Óg over the line in their replayed Antrim Semi-Final, and he squeezed another effort past DD Quinn in the county final.

Conor Johnston (Naomh Eoin)

Naomh Eoin’s scorer in chief, deadly from frees and open play, the half-forward proved a handful for Ruairí Óg’s talented half back line in championship action.

Give your best half forward the nod here.

Leatosaí Láir | Centre Half Forward

James McNaughton (Loughgiel Shamrocks)

A coming-of-age season for the Loughgiel starlet, who shone for both club and county. His accuracy from frees proved the knock out blow for rivals Dunloy in the Antrim Semi-Final.

Ciaran Johnston (Naomh Eoin)

Courage in abundance for Ciaran Johnston who stepped up after a lengthy wait to point a free deep in stoppage time to rescue a draw against Ruairí Óg in Dunloy.

Niall Toner (Erin’s Own Lavey)

Some electric performances throughout the Derry championship, with his whirlwind performance against The Loup simply outstanding.

Peter Hagan (St Mary’s Banagher)

The metronome at the heart of the Banagher attack, Hagan drops deep and creates havoc for opposition defences.

Meehaul McGrath (Emmett’s Slaughtneil H)

Solid performance in the Derry Semi-Final against Kevin Lynch’s got the incumbent champions over the line.

Daniel Black (Shane O’Neill’s Glenarm)

Superb from frees and open play in the Antrim JHC Semi-Final against St Teresa’s and a strong performer for his side in the final.

Ruairí Convery (Michael Davitt’s Swatragh)

The experienced centre-forward led the Davitt’s from the front in their championship defeat of Na Magha and took his side into Ulster where they ran St Gall’s close.

Jamie Gribbin (Erin’s Own Cargin)

Slightly unsung in the heart of the Cargin attack, Gribbin’s heart and determination not to throw in the towel against Gaoth Dobhair saw him injured, but inspired his team-mates to claw back the deficit.

Centre forward Part 1 and Part 2.

Lántosaí Taoibhe | Corner Forward

Tiarnan Moore (St Mary’s Banagher)

A goal-machine, Moore hit a brace against Belnaleck in the Ulster Preliminary Round and continued his rich scoring form throughout the Ulster IFC campaign.

Eoin Nagle (Naomh Éanna)

Consistently popped up in the right place at the right time throughout their Antrim and Ulster campaign for vital scores and as the heat of the competition grew, Nagle thrived under the pressure.

Donal Carson (Naomh Eoin)

Diminutive in stature but deadly in application, the speedy corner forward posed every corner back he faced a heap of problems, culminating in his goal in Dunloy against Cushdendall. Unavailable for the replay, the Johnnies felt his loss.

David Kilgore (Emmett’s Cushendun)

A classy stickman in a young and talented Cushendun forward line, Kilgore was both provider and tormentor in chief of the Glenarm defence in the Antrim JHC final and continued his good form throughout their Ulster campaign.

Miles Devine (Naomh Comhghall Antrim)

Scorer of arguably the goal of the season in the JFC clash with O’Donnell’s, Devine showed a fleet-footed touch and an eye for a score.

Ruairí Hasson (Na Cúnna Limavady)

Pacy, skilful and determined, Hasson led the line for Na Cúnna through their unbeaten season in Derry and came within inches of clinching an Ulster title for his efforts.

James O’Connell (Clooney Gaels)

A virtuoso display of score-taking in the Antrim IHC against Cloughmills sees O’Connell make the nomination list. Hitting an eye-watering 2-13 in that particular game was the highlight of a fine season for the Clooney man.

Ciaran McGoldrick (Eoghan Rua)

The Brian Dooher of the Eoghan Rua side, McGoldrick almost single-handedly kept his side in the replay with Slaughtneil in the Derry SFC and laid the foundation for brother Liam to kick his dramatic winner.

Vote for the corner forwards in Part 1 and Part 2.

Lántosaí Láir | Full Forward

Tiarnan McHugh (Kevin Lynch HC)

McHugh featured in the Derry SHC Semi-Final against Slaughtneil, where the youngster lined out at full forward, hitting 0-01, but it was in the Ulster Minor Final where he made his mark, racking up 1-05 against a fancied Dunloy side in a swashbuckling attacking display.

Shane McGuigan (Emmett’s Slaughtneil F)

So often the go-to man for Slaughtneil during both the league and championship, the full forward picked up two Unit Updates Man of the Match awards and was dangerous in every game.

Michail Dudley (Naomh Eoin)

Led the St John’s line superbly in the initial game against Ballycastle and helped his side put the tie to bed early on, before being a consistent performer throughout the rest of the season.

Conleth McNeill (Emmett’s Cushendun)

Part of the Cushendun free-taking unit, McNeill was often on hand to steady the ship when the Emmett’s came under some pressure, and was a threat during their campaign at 14.

Colm McGoldrick (Eoghan Rua)

The focal point of the Eoghan Rua attack, McGoldrick showed the creative edge required to find space and take scores in a tough Derry championship and helped his side to clinch the title.

Cormac Quigley (Na Cúnna Limavady)

Outstanding in the county final against Moneymore, Quigley was in his element taking on his man to create and finish chances. Did so three times in the Ulster game against Teeconnaught and had his man booked within ten minutes.

Paul Cassidy (Wolfe Tones Bellaghy)

Featured during the league and in SFC action for the Wolfe Tones, but gets the nod for his performance in the Ulster Minor Tournament against Dunloy, being a constant outlet for his side and notching 0-03 from play in the process.

Odhran Eastwood (Naomh Éanna)

The metronome at the heart of the Naomh Éanna attack, he was also seen very often in his own six yard box. One notable clearance in the Ulster Final grabbed the headlines, but Eastwood had previous form, performing similar heroics in the Quarter-Final against Doohamlet as well as his scoring ability.

Vote for your Full Forward of choice in Part 1 and Part 2.

Caithígí bhur vótaí | Cast your votes!

You have a chance to have your say on who you think should make our Team of the Year! See our Twitter account for details and follow the links under each position to make your choice!

Of course, when the white smoke breaks it'll be our choice, but the polls will be used as a strong indicator - voting will close on December 28th at 11pm.