Dominic McKinley tips Waterford's Austin Gleeson for Hurler of the Year gong
DOMINIC McKINLEY believes Waterford all-rounder Austin Gleeson can buck the trend and pick up this year’s GPA/GAA Hurler of the Year award following the release of the nominees for this season’s event.
All-Ireland winners Tipperary lead the charge for spots on the Allstar team with 15 nominations while Waterford have nine and Kilkenny eight. Galway have six, Clare three, Wexford two while there is one apiece for Limerick and Cork.
The Premier county will also have a big say in the Player of the Year category as Pádraic Maher and Séamus Callanan have been short-listed, but McKinley believes that Gleeson can fend them both off.
“I think Austin Gleeson will get it when they look at the overall performances throughout the year,” said the Antrim joint-manager.
“That’s not to take away from the others, but just watching what Gleeson did in the games this year makes me think he might edge it. It’s a tight call and it’s up to the individuals selecting, everybody looks at players in different ways but Austin Gleeson has been fabulous for Waterford this year. He was working against the odds at times and when the team was down he was the inspiration.”
The last time the award didn’t go to the winning team in hurling was all the way back in 2007 when Gleeson’s current selector Dan Shanahan collected the accolade despite Kilkenny lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
The fact that Gleeson is nominated in the Young Player of the Year category alongside teammate Shane Bennett and Tipperary’s Ronan Maher may hinder his chances of picking up the top award, but McKinley hopes that the selectors don’t compromise.
“Player of the Year usually goes to the winners but sometimes it doesn’t,” he added.
“I hope they don’t shirk away from it, the best player should get the award. If that means he wins both, then he wins both.”