Peers' vote of approval crowns memorable year for McCaffrey and Reid
TJ Reid and Jack McCaffrey further decorated what has been a splendid season for Kilkenny and Dublin when they were named as Hurler and Footballer of the Year respectively at the GAA/GPA Opel All-Star presentation ceremony in the Convention Centre, Dublin last night.
Reid's success was the 10th Hurler of the Year award won by Kilkenny since 2000, while McCaffrey follows in the footsteps of Dublin colleagues, Alan Brogan and Michael Darragh Macauley, who took the football honour in 2011 and 2013.
It was also a special occasion for Reid's club Ballyhale Shamrocks who have provided the Hurler of the Year on no fewer than five occasions in the past 14 seasons. Henry Shefflin won in it 2002-06-12 while Michael Fennelly was honoured in 2011. As well as landing the big individual prize, Reid, 27, won his third All-Star on a team that featured seven Kilkenny men.
Dublin also had seven selections on the football team, including McCaffrey, who won his first All-Star and Player of the Year in the same season.
McCaffrey, 22, made his championship debut in 2012 and has been improving every year since then. He was especially effective this year as Dublin swept to glory in no fewer than four competitions.
The Clontarf man's pace and energy were important weapons in Dublin's armoury as they returned to power in a year when they lost only twice in all competitions.
He is one of four Dublin defenders (Rory O'Carroll, Philly McMahon, Cian O'Sullivan) on the All Stars while midfielder, Brian Fenton and forwards, Ciaran Kilkenny and Bernard Brogan are also aboard.
Dublin's seven-strong hand takes them to 104 on the All-Stars honours' list, 34 behind leaders Kerry, who have four players on this year's team. Mayo have two, with Monaghan and Tyrone on one each. Kilkenny lead the way in hurling having won 180 awards, 74 more than second-placed Cork.
Mayo's Diarmuid O'Connor, 20, was named Young Football of the Year, while the hurling award went to Waterford's Tadhg De Búrca, 21.
The players of the year are chosen by a ballot of GPA members, while the All Stars are selected by journalists from the national media.