Dalton, Kavanagh and O’Neill among the surprises

IT’S between three for the goalkeeping position – Brendan Cummins, Donal Óg Cusack and Colm Callanan.

Cusack could have done better for Dan Shanahan’s goal in the Munster final against Waterford and might also have made the catch against Kilkenny despite Richie Power’s charge; Callanan was outstanding for Galway and comes close, but I’m going for the Tipperary man.

In the backs, a bit of a mix but Kilkenny still dominate. Tony Browne had a fine year for Waterford at right-half-back, but I have to go for Tommy Walsh here, and JJ Delaney on the other wing is also an automatic. The other Kilkenny man I’m going for might surprise a few people – not Jackie Tyrell, not Noel Hickey, but John Dalton, at right-corner-back. Every time I’ve seen his this year he’s been outstanding – I can see why he’s after pushing Michael Kavanagh, another man I’ve always had great time for, out of this corner.

At full-back another man that might surprise a few – Shane Kavanagh of Galway. This has been a problem position for Galway for years, but Shane did a fantastic job there this year, a major reason Galway won the NHL title. !Shane O’Neill’s value to Cork was really seen when he was missing, through injury – a brilliant defender, and hard luck on Ollie Canning and Noel O’Connor.

Centre-back, a man who has been a mainstay for Waterford for some years now, Micheál ‘Brick’ Walsh. He was ambushed by Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final and Noel McGrath had a bit of a field day, but you’d allow a fella one blip and Brick was outstanding for Waterford all year before that.

In midfield, a lot of players who have good seasons, but I think there are two outstanding candidates, Michael Fennelly and Brendan Maher.

Up front, far more problems with picking the best six. A few fellas you just have to pick – Damien Hayes has had one of his best years ever for Galway, was brilliant in that league final win.

John Mullane is an automatic, so consistent for Waterford, and one of the best scoring forwards of his generation, while Lar Corbett has been going well for Tipperary, even if drifts out of a game occasionally. The others?

Well, I’m going for three Cats. Picking Henry on the 40, on the left wing, Eoin Larkin. On the edge of the square, a close call, but Richie Power gets the nod.


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