This year’s All-Ireland finalists represent over half of the 45 GAA-GPA All Star hurling nominations with 24, 13 going to champions Kilkenny and 11 to Tipperary.
Final replay man of the match Kieran Joyce and John Power miss out for Kilkenny but their exclusion is hardly earth-shattering considering each had only started one game previously in the championship.
James Barry, James Woodlock, Gearoid Ryan and Lar Corbett are the Tipperary quartet not considered for All Star awards.
Munster champions Cork pick up six acknowledgements, one less than Limerick who they beat in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in July. However, the difference is representative of just how good Limerick were in going down to Kilkenny at the All-Ireland semi-final stage when Cork were so disappointing in losing to Tipperary in Croke Park.
Both Limerick midfielders, Paul Browne and James Ryan, are included but there is no place for either of Cork’s duo, Daniel Kearney and Aidan Walsh, both of whom were impressive in the provincial championship. Cork’s half-dozen are Stephen O’Donnell, Mark Ellis, Lorcán McLoughlin, Conor Lehane, Alan Cadogan and Patrick Horgan.
Kilkenny’s number this year is one more than 2012 when they saw off Galway in the final replay. Goalkeeper Eoin Murphy makes the grade, selected alongside Tipperary’s Darren Gleeson and Alan Nolan of Dublin who performed impressively deputising for the injured Gary Maguire. Injury had also ruled Murphy out of the Leinster final and All-Ireland semi-final but his performances in both final matches were excellent. Whoever is chosen as the best No1 this season will be handed their first All Star.
All three of the Kilkenny full-back line have been named. JJ Delaney is aiming for a seventh All Star with Jackie Tyrrell gunning for a fifth and Paul Murphy a third.
The reliable Cillian Buckley and Padraic Walsh have been chosen among the nine half-back nominations and are hoping to pick up their first gongs.
Both Kilkenny midfielders are in the mix as are five of their forward line. Colin Fennelly and TJ Reid could have been selected in either line but the former is placed among the full-forwards and player of the year nomination Reid in the half-forwards.
Paul Murphy and Eoin Larkin are the only Kilkenny players who were nominated last season. Impressively, it is the 10th year in a row that James Stephens’ man Larkin has been acknowledged.
Four of Limerick’s six — Richie McCarthy, Wayne McNamara, Browne and Ryan — are chosen for the second year in succession as well as Liam Rushe, Conor McGrath, Patrick Horgan, Conor Lehane and Richie Hogan.
No Tipperary players were among the 45 last year, although Pádraic Maher, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher and Noel McGrath were there in 2012.
Clare’s McGrath is the 2013 All- Ireland champions’ sole representative, as is Conor Cooney for Galway. Wexford’s four nods — Liam Ryan, Lee Chin, Liam Óg McGovern and Conor McDonald — is their biggest representation since 2001 when they were rewarded with five after reaching an All-Ireland semi-final replay. Brian Carroll’s proposal is Offaly’s first since 2010 when his current team-mate Shane Dooley picked up one.
The 13-strong panel of journalists have chosen Seamus Callanan, Richie Hogan and Reid as the player of the year candidates. The victor will be chosen by the GPA membership and announced on October 24, as will the young player of the year where Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett faces competition from Limerick’s Shane Dowling and Wexford’s Conor McDonald.
All award winners will be revealed on the awards night of the awards event in the National Convention Centre in Dublin.