It’s fair to say 2021 has been a good year in the milky way, so competition is hot for the first 15 starting positions.

Let’s start in goals – Ornua boss John Jordan is good at keeping the ball pucked out to everyone and is a good shot stopper.

Now with an inner board and an outer board for defence, he knows who is who, even though they might not all like him. Don’t expect too many high balls to land down on the Dairygold lads who played hurling in Norway and the US during the year without permission.

Corner back is Tipp Co-op CEO John Daly. During the year, Tipp opened what might be one of the last dryers to be commissioned for a while. Corner back should suit John, he didn’t let too many in around the big tent without first checking whether they were going to send milk to the new dryer at Station Road or not.

On the field

We are going to go for size and someone who knows what they are about on the field with Conor Ryan in at full back. The Arrabawn boss won’t let too many inside him and if they do get inside, they’ll know all about it.

In the left-hand corner is Cormac O’Keeffe, the Lisavaird and Carbery chair. Again, a tight marker, well able for the pressure, not afraid of anyone and mixing it with the lads from west Cork has him battle hardened.

The half-back line is the foundation for success on many teams. Kerry Group share price hasn’t gone exactly where he wanted during the year, despite some big purchases and sales. However, Kerry Group boss Edmund Scanlon takes the centre back position. We expect him to dominate the aerial battle.

New butter

North Cork boss Pat Sheahan knows the Kerry lads well and after launching a new butter, there is a bit of 'go' in the north Cork lads this year. If Pat is gone skiing and can’t make the game, his chair Jerry Doody will easily fill the slot and help Scanlon out.

On the other side of the half-back line is the new Aurivo chair Ray Barlow. Taking after Duffy, he goes about his business well, no fuss.

We’ll have to give honorary captaincy to Jim Woulfe, given its his last run-out in the Dairygold shirt.

We’ll move the new Dairygold CEO Conor Galvin to wing forward. Galvin has the cut of a forward about him.

Jim can shore up midfield with Jim Bergin now that they are both wearing the co-op jersey.

The CEO that has to get in the team is Michael Hanley. Not sure where he was positioned last year, but, again, I reckon we’ll put him in centre forward and build the team around him.

Lakeland has led most of the team members on milk price this year, so we’ll be depending on him to lead the scoring for the national side.

Anyone who can pull that off deserves to be on the team

Nick Whelan will go left corner forward. The wiley Wexford man has to mark near-neighbour Hanley tight up north for Dale Farm, so he knows him fairly well.

The midfield and the half forward line has a strong executive influence, so we’ll go with a farmer strike force up front.

Glanbia chair John Murphy will have to go full-forward. Without meeting shareholders in person, he has got the nod to buy the plc shares in Glanbia Ireland and create an investment fund.

We expect him to hit the roof of the net a couple of times. Anyone who can pull that off deserves to be on the team.

We’ll put Denis Carroll, the Killarney farmer and new Kerry Co-op chair, in corner forward. He looks the part of a hard-to-catch corner-forward and the mountains have him fit for a game.

The final position up front goes to Niall Matthews, the Lakeland Dairies chair. After delivering on milk price and business growth for Lakeland farmers, he deserves a starting slot, even though I’m not sure he ever lifted a hurl.

So that’s it - the dairy team of the year.

In goals John Jordan (Ornua); full-back line John Daly (Tipp Co-op), Conor Ryan (Arrabawn), Cormac O’Keeffe (Carbery); half-back line Raymond Barlow (Aurivo), Edmund Scanlon (Kerry Group), Pat Sheahan/Jerry Doody (North Cork); midfield Jim Bergin (no name club) and Jim Woulfe (Dairygold); half-forwards Conor Galvin (Dairygold), Michael Hanley (Lakeland) and Nick Whelan (Dale Farm); full-forward line Denis Carroll (Kerry Co-op), John Murphy (no name club) and Niall Matthews (Lakeland Dairies).