Cats and Tribe carve up Allstar nominations between them
THIS year’s All-Ireland hurling finalists Kilkenny and Galway account for just over half of the nominations for the 2015 Allstar hurling awards, with 12 apiece.
Kilkenny, who racked up back-to-back titles last month, have just one nominee less than last year, while the Tribes men had just one in 2014, Conor Cooney, and have been richly rewarded for their journey to the final.
An impressive campaign for Waterford, during which they lifted the National League title and reached the Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final, sees them follow closely behind, with 11 of their players selected. Tipperary have garnered seven nominations, while Cork, Clare and Dublin, with one each, compete the list of 45.
Kilkenny, who, under manager Brian Cody, have won 11 Liam McCarthy Cups since the year 2000, took six awards last year. Of those six, Paul Murphy, Cillian Buckley, Richie Hogan and TJ Reid have been nominated again. Colin Fennelly misses out, while JJ Delaney retired last December.
Hogan and Reid are in line for their third awards and both have been also nominated for the Player of the Year award, which was lifted by Hogan last year. That made him the sixth player of the Brian Cody-era to be crowned hurler of the year. After a superb year, Reid will be strongly fancied to relieve him of his crown.
Other notable nominations for the Cats include Ger Aylward, who made such a stunning debut against Wexford back in June, registering 3-5 from play.
Galway, who have made great progress this year only to ultimately come up short in the final, have strong contenders among their contingent. A strong case could be made for the the mercurial Joe Canning lifting a fourth Allstar, while Iarla Tannion, Daithí Burke, David Burke, Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn all had impressive seasons.
In what was, in truth, a rather run-of-the mill Championship, albeit with some outstanding highlights, the surge back to prominence of Waterford was noteworthy and has been duly recognised.
Tadhg de Búrca, who, along with Galway’s Jason Flynn and Cathal Mannion has been nominated for Young Hurler of the Year had a memorable year. Other Déise favourites to claim honours may include the likes of Maurice Shananhan, Noel Connors or Austin Gleeson. Missing their star forward Pauric Mahoney for a large part of their campaign, Derek McGrath’s men should be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
For Tipperary, beaten finalists in 2014, their seven nominations represents a drop of four from their 11 this time last year. Their best chance of an award undoubtedly lies with Séamus Callanan, who has also been nominated for Player of the Year. His display in the semi-final against Galway – hitting a stunning 3-9, 3-4 of which came from open play - was perhaps the individual highlight of the hurling season, garnering him a 9.5 rating in The Irish News.
Seasons which promised so much for Cork, Clare and Dublin ended in disappointment as Kilkenny proved as durable and as inspired as ever.
From one of the teams that did not make the last four of the All-Ireland series, Dublin’s Mark Schutte may have an outside chance of claiming an award. He was integral to the Dublin attack all year and would not look out of place on an Allstar selection. Séamus Harnedy is Cork’s nomination among the forwards, along with Tony Kelly from Clare. Cork had six nominees last year, while Clare had two.
The awards ceremony will take place on November 6 in the National Convention Centre in Dublin.