Corbett shines brightest of Tipp's Star men
THE passing of the All-Ireland baton to Tipperary means that, for only the fourth time in 11 seasons, Kilkenny don't dominate the All Star hurling team.
That honour goes to the new All- Ireland champions, who won six awards, with Kilkenny on five and Waterford on three, while Damien Hayes is Galway's sole representative.
Brendan Cummins, Paul Curran, Brendan Maher, Noel McGrath, Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly are the Tipperary All Stars, while there were double honours for Corbett and Maher, who won the Hurler of the Year and the Young Hurler of the Year awards respectively.
Jackie Tyrrell, Tommy Walsh, JJ Delaney, Michael Fennelly and Richie Power are Kilkenny's representatives; Noel Connors, Michael 'Brick' Walsh and John Mullane fly the Waterford flag while Galway's Hayes won his second award.
Henry Shefflin, whose season was wrecked by a knee injury sustained in the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork, misses out after winning eight successive awards, a landmark now reached by his colleague, Walsh, who has been included on every All Star team since 2003.
Shefflin's omission leaves him on nine awards, a haul also held by DJ Carey, while Walsh has eight awards, won in four different lines. Shefflin won the first of his nine awards in 2000 but missed out in 2001 before being selected for the next eight seasons.
Cummins held off the challenge of Donal Og Cusack and Clinton Hennessy to win his fifth goalkeeping award, having taken his first 10 years ago. He was also honoured in 2001, 2003 and 2008. Kelly moves onto six after getting the No 15 jersey in an attack which features three Tipperary men. It's his first award since 2006 and moves him alongside Nicky English as the most successful Tipperary men in the 40-year history of the All Stars.
Tipperary have three forwards on the team but didn't do as well in defence, where Curran is their only representative alongside three Kilkenny and two Waterford men.
Delaney won his fifth award and Tyrrell took his fourth, while 'Brick' Walsh picked up his third, having also been selected in 2007 and 2009. Mullane also won his third award in the full-forward line.
The newcomers to the All Star roll of honour are Connors, Curran, Maher, Power and Fennelly. Power's selection makes it a special event for the family as his father -- also named Richie -- won an All Star award at left half-forward in 1982. Tommy Walsh and his namesake 'Brick', Tyrrell, McGrath and Mullane all won awards for the second successive year.
It turned into quite a season for Corbett, whose form improved dramatically as Tipperary re-launched their All-Ireland bid via the qualifiers. He crowned a brilliant campaign by scoring three goals in the All-Ireland final -- the first person to do so for 40 years -- to take his championship total to 6-11, all from open play.
It made him an All Star certainty and also gave him a decisive edge in the race for Hurler of the Year. He has been selected at left half-forward but would have slotted comfortably into any of the six forward positions.
Midfielder Maher also enjoyed a great year, growing in stature with each game, thus ensuring himself of a place on the team while also picking up the Young Hurler award. Maher was also short-listed for Hurler of the Year, as was Fennelly.
Dublin's Bernard Brogan won the Footballer of the Year award as well as taking the full-forward berth while Cork's Aidan Walsh secured a place at midfield and also won the Young Footballer award. Walsh was one of the finds of the season, turning in a series of outstanding performances, the best of which he reserved for the All-Ireland decider against Down.
The greater impact of the All-Ireland qualifiers in football is underlined in the county spread. Eight counties shared the football awards while only four are represented in hurling, one less than last year.
Unlike the football awards, which generated controversy over the absence of any Cork forward, the hurling team is along largely expected lines.
The awards, sponsored by Vodafone, were presented at a gala function in the Citywest Hotel, Dublin, last night.
Hurler of the Year -- Lar Corbett (Tipperary)
Footballer of the Year -- Bernard Brogan (Dublin)
Young Hurler of the Year -- Brendan Maher (Tipperary)
Young Footballer of the Year -- Aidan Walsh (Cork)