Tipperary failed to pick up any of the individual accolades the last two seasons, while 2013 was the first time since 1996 a Kilkenny player has not received an award. It also marked 32 years since neither of the counties were represented in the honoured 15.
With the neighbours battling it out on September 7, there is certain to be a return to form for both — but just how many Kilkenny and Tipperary men are in pole positions to slots at the moment?
Darren Gleeson may just end up being chosen as the All Star goalkeeper but Nolan was excellent in his three outings this summer, grabbing the chance to replace Gary Maguire with both hands.
Next to Henry Shefflin’s comeback, Hickey’s return from a cruciate injury is the most emphatic seen in hurling. He dominated his corner and even at this stage he is a cert for an award.
Before lasy Sunday, it was Alan Cadogan but now Barrett is the top candidate for young hurler of the year. Has belied his young years and inexperience to put a number of star forwards to the sword.
The best of the Kilkenny full-back line this Championship. It’s difficult to believe, given how authoritative the James Stephens’ man has been these past few months, he was struggling for a starting spot earlier in the year.
Not a player who makes much fuss but an extremely effective one and wasn’t found wanting in any of Kilkenny’s games this season. Has started all five games.
One of two or three who could hold their heads up last Sunday, Ellis has been so good he has the No 6 jersey nailed down as long as he wants. His contributions are marginally better than Brian Hogan’s.
Supreme against Cork last Sunday, the only blip for Maher has been his small spell at full-back against Galway when Jonathan Glynn took him for two goals. His importance to Tipperary can never be understated.
No surprise the Danesfort man is the favourite for the hurler of the year. It’s his consistency that stands him apart from everyone else. Few have sharper hurling minds.
The strength of this man’s displays were integral to Limerick’s solid summer yet only trump those of his midfield partner James Ryan by a small margin.
The only forward who continued to take it to Tipperary six days ago. Lehane enjoyed his Munster final day and next to Pat Horgan was their best forward in the replay win over Waterford.
When people speak of new leaders in the Kilkenny team, Fennelly’s name is mentioned in the same breath. He had traded on pace but has added so much more to his game.
Six points from play against Cork is never to be sniffed at. He also posted three wides but taking scores has been the story of Bubbles’ Championship. Seamus Callanan has been more explosive but O’Dwyer is their most consistent attacker.
Limerick made a point of targeting him for extra attention in the semi-final, which was a backhanded tribute to just how fine Reid’s form has been in 2014.
If Richie Hogan is Kilkenny’s leading candidate for hurler of the year, then Callanan is Tipperary’s best followed by Pádraic Maher. Shane Dowling (Limerick)
Like Callanan, Dowling has shown exemplary leadership qualities this year. When it came to beating Tipperary and Wexford, he was at the forefront. Didn’t do himself an injustice going down to Kilkenny either.