All-Ireland champs Galway lead the way with 14 hurling Allstar nominations
ALL-Ireland hurling champions Galway have been handed 14 nominations for the PwC Allstars.
All but one of Micheál Donoghue’s starting team from their win over Waterford – which sealed a first Liam MacCarthy success for the county since 1988 – are nominated.
Jonathan Glynn is unsurprisingly the only exception, though it will be Niall Burke that feels aggrieved as he was the man dropped to make way for New York-based Glynn in the final, and who came on to have a major impact in the final quarter.
The Tribesmen not only ended a 28-year wait for All-Ireland glory but claimed the National League and Leinster titles in a season that finally saw them fulfil their potential after years of near misses.
Joe Canning is the bookmakers’ favourite to be named Hurler of the Year but he will face a serious challenge from Jamie Barron, whose athletic performances from midfield for Waterford were one of their key strengths.
Kevin Moran is also nominated for the top gong, with the 30-year-old De La Salle man’s performance in the All-Ireland final propelling him above Gearóid McInerney, who is a surprise omission from the shortlist.
The battle for Young Hurler of the Year is equally intriguing, with the fact that all three nominees had relatively quiet finishes to their seasons making it almost impossible to call.
Cork’s Mark Coleman had a superb year up until their semi-final loss to Waterford, while Conor Gleeson was a massive player for Waterford defensively but missed the All-Ireland final after being sent off in the dying minutes against the Rebels.
Conor Whelan was one of a number of impressive Galway forwards and he looks to pick up the award, which would make him the third winner from the county who played in September’s final after Johnny Coen (2012) and Joe Canning (2008).
Beaten All-Ireland finalists Waterford have received 11 nominations, including six of a resolute back seven whose solidity was one of the key factors behind their run to a first final since 2008.
Stephen O’Keeffe could edge Anthony Nash for the number one spot, while Noel Connors, Tadhg de Búrca, Darragh Fives, Philip Mahony and Conor Gleeson making the grade. Barry Coughlan and Shane Fives miss out.
Munster champions Cork have eight nominations, with Anthony Nash and Patrick Horgan in particularly strong positions, while Mark Coleman and Conor Lehane will both be in with a decent shout.
Last year’s All-Ireland winners Tipperary have just five on the list despite losing by just a point to the eventual winners. Brothers Noel and John McGrath, Seamus Callanan, and Pádraic and Brendan Maher are included, a year after their entire starting line-up was nominated.
Wexford’s reward for reaching the Leinster final in Davy Fitzgerald’s first campaign is having four nominees, though Lee Chin’s inclusion on the midfield list could potentially see their best candidate miss out, possibly to Galway skipper David Burke, who was man of the match in the All-Ireland final. Matthew O’Hanlon in the half-back division is their best other hope.
Kilkenny’s earliest championship exit in Brian Cody’s 19 years in charge is reflected in only Cillian Buckley and TJ Reid receiving nominations. They are facing the prospect of having no-one on the Allstar team for only the second time in Cody’s reign following their fall to Waterford in the qualifiers.
The other occasion was 2013, though if they were to be left with no representative on the team, it would actually be the eighth time since the inception of the Allstars.
Shane O’Donnell, who enjoyed his best season since bursting on to the scene with an All-Ireland final hat-trick in 2013, is the sole Clare nominee.
Of last year’s Allstar team, Eoin Murphy, Cathal Barrett, James Barry, Pádraig Walsh, Ronan Maher, Walter Walsh, Patrick Maher and Richie Hogan all miss out completely.
2017 PwC Hurling Allstar nominations
Goalkeepers: C Callanan (Galway), A Nash (Cork), S O’Keeffe (Waterford)
Defenders: A Tuohy, Daithí Burke, J Hanbury, A Harte, G McInerney, P Mannion (all Galway); N Connors, T de Búrca, C Gleeson, Philip Mahony, D Fives (all Waterford); D Cahalane, C Spillane, M Coleman (all Cork), D O’Keeffe, M O’Hanlon (both Wexford); C Buckley (Kilkenny); Pádraic Maher (Tipperary)
Midfielders: D Burke, J Coen (both Galway); J Barron (Waterford); B Maher (Tipperary); D Fitzgibbon (Cork); L Chin (Wexford)
Forwards: J Cooney, J Canning, C Cooney, C Whelan, C Mannion (all Galway); K Moran, Pauric Mahony, M Walsh, A Gleeson (all Waterford); C Lehane, P Horgan, A Cadogan (all Cork); J McGrath, N McGrath, S Callanan (all Tipperary); TJ Reid (Kilkenny); C McDonald (Wexford); S O’Donnell (Clare)
Hurler of the Year Nominees: Joe Canning (Galway), Kevin Moran (Waterford), Jamie Barron (Waterford)
Young Hurler of the Year Nominees: Mark Coleman (Cork), Conor Gleeson (Waterford), Conor Whelan (Galway)