Our 2014 Hurling All Star selection
Tipperary will renew their rivalry with Kilkenny when the two sides meet in the All-Ireland final for the fourth time in six years after easily disposing of Cork at GAA HQ yesterday with many of the in-form players on display at Croke Park.
With just one game left in the 2014 championship, we look at what the All Star selection could be, with just three players outside the finalists making our selection.
There have been big names left out, some players perhaps slightly out of position, but here is the side we have gone with.
Darren Gleeson (Tipperary)
They may have shipped five goals against Galway, but he has been impressive all season, conceding just once in the last two games. Exceptional distribution and a command of the defence.
Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)
Barrett kept Cork's main scoring threat Patrick Horgan well under wraps as the Cork full-forward failed to score for the first time in four years. Very little to choose between the Tipp man and Kilkenny's Paul Murphy, both of whom have been in excellent form. The winning team will most likely influence who gets the nod when the official gongs are handed out.
JJ Delaney (Kilkenny)
Some stiff competition for this position, but Delaney exuded calm in the Croke Park monsoon against Limerick and yet again is the lynchpin of the Cats defence.
Seamus Hickey (Limerick)
The vastly experienced 27 year-old gave a man-of-the-match performance against Kilkenny was not enough to help the Treaty to an All-Ireland Final. the versatile performer could play in nearly any position on the pitch. A class act.
Brendan Maher (Tipperary)
Another versatile performer, Maher has played a captain's role for what has been a roller-coaster 2014 campaign. Wore the number five jersey but manned the middle against Cork, ensuring Bill Cooper was on the periphery of the match, while the Dublin half forwards got very little change the last day out against the Borrisoleigh man.
Brian Hogan (Kilkenny)
Like Delaney behind him, another old dog for the hard road. Has been there, done that, and still brings a level of assuredness to those around him. Positionally sound and always picks out a team-mate with a simple pass to launch the next attack. Surprisingly has just a solitary All Star in his glittering career, with a sixth Liam McCarthy success next month likely to do the trick for a second.
Padraic Maher (Tipperary)
Another star performer in the defeat of Cork, the swash-buckling defender got on a huge amount of ball, mopping up before swiftly moving the ball downfield.
Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
The Hurler of the Year contender has moved seamlessly to midfield where his running and clever link play has been a feature of the championship. Always a threat on the scoreboard, his goal against Limerick in the semi-final was a crucial score, which included a brilliant deft touch to control the ball on the run, when the Cats looked to be drifting out of the contest.
Lee Chin (Wexford)
In a memorable season for the Yellowbellies, Chin demonstrated his worth to the hurlers with commanding performances around the middle of the park. An all-action midfielder, he was the driving force behind their resurgence before their season came to a shuddering halt at the hands of Limerick.
John O'Dwyer (Tipperary)
'Bubbles' was in sparkling form against the Rebels with six points from play, the same as his tally against Galway in the qualifiers and has cemented his place as one of the top forwards in the game. Tormented the Dubs with 2-01 from play and with 2-20 in the championship to date, Brian Cody will be under no illusions of the threat he will pose for the Cats next month.
Patrick Maher (Tipperary)
One of the most direct runners in the game, Maher is a self-less forward who provides more than his fair share for those around him. Didn't score against Cork, but could have easily tapped over a point 10 minutes into the second half after a surging run. He instead picked out Seamus Callanan in a better position who rifled to the net.
TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
The most consistent Kilkenny forward over the past two seasons, the Ballyhale man struggled in his early inter-county career to nail down a regular spot but is now one of the first names on the team sheet. Has averaged just under 10 points a game and as a free-taker, Reid has few peers.
Alan Cadogan (Cork)
Perhaps the most controversial decision given his quiet outing against the Premier County, but will be in the running for the Young Player of the Year after a highly impressive debut campaign at senior level.
The 21-year-old Douglas player hit four points from play in the first outing against Waterford, ran the Clare defence ragged in the semi-final en route to scoring three points, while followed this up with a similar tally and performance against Limerick in the Munster Final.
Seamus Callanan (Tipperary)
The All-Ireland Final is likely to be a shoot-out between Richie Hogan and himself for the Hurler of the Year. He scored 2-03 from play in the demolition of Cork and his first goal in particular showed his full array of skills. The poacher's instinct, brilliant skill to flick the ball to the ground, a side step and deadly accuracy, the Drom-and-Inch man has been a scoring machine all summer.
Has notched an incredible 5-34 in his four outings to date.
Colin Fennelly (Kilkenny)
Has moved to the half-forward line as the season has progressed, but started the year with 1-03 against Galway in the opening round of the Leinster championship. Wing-forward against Dublin where he hit three points from play, he was instrumental in the first half against Limerick, one of the few players in black-and-amber out-gunning their direct opponent at that particular juncture.
Most likely to start the final in the half-forward line, he is likely to move around and could be another goal threat in front of Darren Gleeson.