Independent.ie End of Season Hurling Awards
It's been quite a summer of action in the hurling championship even if it fell short of last year's offering. Here we hand out our end of season awards.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
Few will argue with this selection. His move to the midfield was a masterstroke from Brian Cody, with the diminutive Hogan thriving on increased possession and proving close to impossible to defend against. His goal against Limerick and four-point salvo in the drawn game with Tipp were amazing. Hogan was so good that Seamus Callanan is unable to usurp him despite scoring 9-50 in the championship.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Shane Dowling (Limerick)
Ended the championship with 4-36 to his name and is a real star of the present and a huge player for the Treaty men in the future. His one-handed point against Kilkenny was one of the moments of the Championship. Tipperary's Cathal Barrett also worthy of a mention in his breakthrough season.
POINT OF THE YEAR
1. Shane Dowling one-hander against Kilkenny
For sheer instinct and ingenuity, Dowling's effort deserves the nod.
2. Noel McGrath's point in drawn All-Ireland.
Another example of split-second decision-making and brilliant execution but it was the passage of play leading up to this score which made it. The sliotar seemed to be in play for an age before McGrath dissected the posts.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
1. Austin Gleeson (v Cork)
The Waterford teenager shows remarkable balance and power to embark on a mazy run after seizing on a loose 65. Leaving three Cork defenders in his wake, Gleeson then flicks the sliotar into the air before finishing high past Anthony Nash. Easy winner.
2. Shane Dowling (V Tipperary)
Given it's importance, Shane Dowling's second goal, of his 2-9 tally, against Tipp in the Munster semi-final is a gallant runner-up. Dowling receives the ball on the 14, runs away from a host of Tipp defenders before firing to the net from the 20-metre line.
CLIMAX OF THE YEAR
Trailing by 10 points with nine minutes remaining, Galway came storming back in their Leinster semi-final with eventual All-Ireland champions Kilkenny. Galway managed to get back level in the 72nd minute before Henry Shefflin and Joe Canning traded two unbelievable ( and unbelievably similar) points to force a replay. An unforgettable finish.
ANTI-CLIMAX OF THE YEAR
Wexford travelled to Thurles for their All-Ireland quarter-final on the back of victories over All-Ireland champions Clare and Waterford, but playing for a fourth weekend in a row proved too much to handle and they succumbed to a 28-point defeat.
SAVE OF THE YEAR
Darren Gleeson's reaction save on Saturday evening before John Power pounced for the goal was as good as any this year. The fact that it ended in the net shouldn't take way from what was an amazing save.
GAME OF THE YEAR
1. Kilkenny 3-22 Tipperary 1-28 (Drawn All-Ireland)
2. Wexford 2-25 Clare 2-22
3. Kilkenny 3-22 Galway 5-16
BIGGEST DECISION OF THE YEAR
The 'Nash Rule' was brought in back in June and it's ramifications were felt all the way until December. The move was prompted when Waterford keeper Stephen O'Keeffe rushed from his goals and jumped in front of Anthony Nash's free. The situation needed to be rectified. The new rule meant that penalty takers couldn't cross the 20-metre line and keepers and the two defenders had to remain on the line. Tipperary would score one point from three penalties in both All-Ireland finals.
BRUISE OF THE YEAR
Stephen O'Keeffe was left with this whopper of a bruise after charging down Anthony Nash's penalty.
BEST BRITISH TWEETS ON HURLING
IMAGE OF THE YEAR
Limerick's Cathal McNamara has a hurley wrapped around his face by Clare's Nicky O'Connell during the clash in the Waterford Crystal Cup in Sixmilebridge (Credit: Tony Grehan, Press 22)
Do you disagree with some of the selections? Let us know in the comments section below.