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.
Kilkenny have beaten Galway in the nomination race for 2012 Hurler of the Year, with both Shefflin and Murphy nominated, along with Canning; the 2012 Young Hurler of the Year will be decided between Galway’s Johnny Coen Niall Burke, plus Sutcliffe from Dublin.
These individual Hurler of the Year honours are selected by the GPA intercounty player body.
Clare might feel slightly disappointed to get just two hurling nominations, in Brendan Bugler and John Conlon, but their march to the All-Ireland Under-21 title has been marked with three of the six nominations for the Bord Gáis Energy Breaking Through Player of the Year award.
These three players are half-backs Patrick O’Connor and Seadna Morey and half-forward Tony Kelly.
Also shortlisted are the Kilkenny duo of Ger Aylward and Walter Walsh, who went on to deliver a man-of-the-match display in last Sunday’s senior final, with Tipperary’s captain John O’Dwyer rounding out the list.
The Breaking Through Player of the Year award recognises the overall stand-out player of the under-21 hurling championship, the winner being decided later this month by a panel consisting of Cork selector Ger Cunningham, Micheál Ó Dómhnaill of TG4, Bord Gáis ambassador Joe Canning, and former Waterford great Ken McGrath. The winning player will receive a trophy and voucher worth €1,000 to mark his achievement.
Given the nature of their All-Ireland Under-21 victory over Kilkenny, Clare will almost certainly claim this honour: half-backs O’Connor and Morey were instrumental in curbing the threats of the Waterford, Tipperary and Kilkenny, while Ballyea’s Kelly was a key figure in their half-forward line producing a number of standout performances, from both play and from placed balls.
GAA/GPA HURLING ALL STAR NOMINATIONS
Anthony Nash (Cork), Nickie Quaid (Limerick), James Skehill (Galway).
Paul Murphy (Kilkenny),
JJ Delaney (Kilkenny), Johnny Coen (Galway), Fergal Moore (Galway), Jackie Tyrell (Kilkenny), Richie McCarthy (Limerick), Michael Cahill (Tipperary), Kevin Hynes (Galway), Shane O’Neill (Cork).
Brian Hogan (Kilkenny), Brendan Bugler (Clare), Pádraic Maher (Tipperary), David Collins (Galway), Michael Walsh (Waterford), Tony Óg Regan (Galway), Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny), Niall Donoghue (Galway), Kieran Joyce (Kilkenny).
Andy Smith (Galway), Kevin Moran (Waterford), Stephen Molumphy (Waterford), Pa Cronin (Cork), Iarla Tannian (Galway), Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny).
Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny), Cyril Donnellan (Galway), Niall Burke (Galway), Patrick Bonnar Maher (Tipperary), TJ Reid (Kilkenny), Pa Bourke (Tipperary), Damien Hayes (Galway), Danny Sutcliffe (Dublin), Richie Power (Kilkenny).
Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny), Joe Canning (Galway), Noel McGrath (Tipperary), Patrick Horgan (Cork), John Mullane (Waterford), Brian O’Meara (Tipperary), Richie Hogan (Kilkenny), John Conlon (Clare), David Burke (Galway).
Hurler of the Year nominations
Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny)
Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)
Joe Canning (Galway)
Young Hurler of the Year nominations
Johnny Coen (Galway)
Niall Burke (Galway)
Danny Sutcliffe (Dublin)
Under-21 Hurling Breaking Through Player of the Year
John O’Dwyer (Tipperary)
Patrick O’Connor (Clare)
Seadna Morey (Clare)
Tony Kelly (Clare)
Ger Aylward (Kilkenny)
Walter Walsh (Kilkenny)