Galway top list with 14 as Kilkenny earn 12
HURLING ALL-STARS NOMINATIONS:THEY MAY have lost the All-Ireland final, but Galway have out-scored Kilkenny with their number of All Star hurling nominations for 2012 – some consolation perhaps for Sunday’s ultimately disappointing end to the season.
Of the 45 nominations agreed by the All Star selection committee – and not necessarily unanimously – Galway have secured 14 players, two more than Kilkenny’s 12, with only six other counties making the 2012 list.
It’s not entirely surprising, however, given Galway’s comprehensive victory over Kilkenny in the Leinster final, plus the fact they forced Kilkenny to an All-Ireland final replay, before losing out on Sunday 3-22 to 3-11.
Galway’s total of 14 nominations is spread across all lines – from goalkeeper James Skehill; to full backs Johnny Coen, Fergal Moore, and Kevin Hynes; half-backs David Collins, Tony Óg Regan and Niall Donoghue; midfielders Andy Smith and Iarla Tannian; half-forwards Cyril Donnellan, Niall Burke and Damien Hayes and full-forwards Joe Canning and David Burke.
Interestingly, Galway didn’t win a single hurling All Star last year, but look set to top the list when the 2012 award winners are announced at the All Star banquet later this month, on Friday October 26th, which for the second year is jointly presented by the GAA and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), and sponsored by Opel.
Among the likely contenders for outright awards are Canning, who has won two All Stars before, in 2008 and 2009, and also Coen, Tannian, and David Burke, who all enjoyed exceptional seasons.
Kilkenny are still sure to seal some of the outright winners too, their 12 nominations being full backs Paul Murphy, JJ Delaney and Jackie Tyrell, half-backs Brian Hogan, Tommy Walsh, and Kieran Joyce, midfielder Michael Fennelly, half-forwards Henry Shefflin, TJ Reid and Richie Power, and full-forwards Eoin Larkin and Richie Hogan.
Shefflin will almost certainly win a record 11th All Star, with Delaney and Murphy also in line for further awards, with Murphy winning his first All Star last year.
Of the eight counties that managed to get hurlers nominated, Galway (14) and Kilkenny (12) make up over half, the rest comprising Tipperary (6), Cork (4), Waterford (4), Limerick (2) and Clare (2), with Dublin ending up with just the one nomination, in half-forward Danny Sutcliffe, who is also one of the three players nominated for 2012 Young Hurler of the Year.
Munster champions Tipperary, fairly humiliated by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final, have nominations in Michael Cahill, Pádraic Maher, Patrick Bonnar Maher, Noel McGrath, Pa Bourke and Brian O’Meara (which means no Lar Corbett, who last year won his third All Star).
Waterford’s four nominations are defender Michael “Brick” Walsh, midfielders Kevin Moran and Stephen Molumphy, and forward John Mullane, who is on course for a fifth All Star.
Beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists Cork also have four nominations in goalkeeper Anthony Nash, who stepped in for the injured Donal Óg Cusack, plus Shane O’Neill, Pa Cronin and Patrick Horgan.