Barry believes Callanan form will earn him Hurler of Year
Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30
Tipperary full-back James Barry has backed team-mate Seamus Callanan to pick up this year's Hurler of the Year award after putting in anther stellar season.
Callanan has been nominated for the gong in each of the last two seasons but lost out to Kilkenny pair Richie Hogan and TJ Reid.
But the Drom and Inch clubman was unstoppable in last Sunday's All-Ireland final and Barry reckons he would be a deserving winner of the accolade, describing him was "unmarkable" when given the right service.
"He's been nominated for Hurler of the Year the last two years and I presume this year he'll actually take the final step and get Hurler of the Year," said the Upperchurch Drombane defender.
"It's fully deserved. He's been the marksman for the country over the last few years. Hopefully now this year he'll get his due reward.
"I know Seamie from marking him in training; if the ball is in properly, he's unmarkable. He's so fast and so strong, if he gets proper ball and he gets the ball in his hand, the defender can't do much more.
"From marking him you knew the ball he wants and the ball he doesn't want. The hard part is to get the ball off Kilkenny, the easy part then is to deliver it in."
Barry made the number three spot his own this term as Michael Ryan reshuffled his defence that also saw another Ronan Maher installed at centre-back. And he believes they benefited from playing together from early in the season.
"I think from a defensive point of view, you need to have the six backs fairly well structured and used to playing each other.
"I think the six backs that played each other on Sunday, they have played every championship game together this year. You need that understanding especially in Croke Park. It's very hard to communicate with lads up in Croke Park with the noise level. You need to understand what the corner-back and wing-back are going to do before he even does it. It's important to get your six backs in place from early on in the year alright.
"Ronan had a savage year. It was only watching a few clips last night…
"He's a real old-school centre-back. He minds the middle and there was a few important high balls Kilkenny normally beat us in the air but Ronan I actually think caught three or four balls that were crucial to us.
"Our half-back line were completely on top between Paudie and Ronan and Seamie.
"So, thank God, they were kept busy and we were kept a lot quieter in the final."