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Top of their class

Published 09/05/2011 | 11:12

All Star Hurlers of the Year who soared above the pack

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1995 BRIAN LOHAN

(CLARE)

An inspirational full-back, Lohan was to the fore as the Banner ended the curse of Biddy Earley in 1995. He would go on to win four All Stars to go with his two All-Ireland and three Munster titles before retiring in 2006.

1996 LARRY O'GORMAN

(WEXFORD)

It's hard to believe that O'Gorman started out life as a goalkeeper, playing his first game for Wexford between the posts as a U-14. In 1996, he led from the front as Wexford won their first All-Ireland in 28 years. He retired from inter-county hurling in 2004 at 37, but not before telling Muhammad Ali that he 'was the greatest' after a chance encounter on a team holiday in the US.

1997 JAMESIE O'CONNOR

(CLARE)

While his Clare team was loaded with strong personalities, the softly spoken O'Connor defied his light frame to consistently deliver big scores. He was to the fore in the All-Ireland final in 1997 when they beat Tipperary. Popped up in the All-Ireland final of 2002 but hung up his hurl two years later. Now spreads the gospel in the famed hurling nursery St Flannan's.

1998 TONY BROWNE

(WATERFORD)

'One more year' seems to have been his mantra for a while but, at 37, he is now in his 20th year of senior inter-county hurling. 1998 saw him win his first All Star from midfield and he's still at the heart of the Deise plans.

1999 BRIAN CORCORAN

(CORK)

A complete sportsman who excelled in both codes. Won the Liam MacCarthy cup in 1999 with one of the youngest ever sides but walked away from GAA activity completely in the early part of the last decade. Rediscovered his hunger to win further All-Irelands in 2004 and '05.

2000 DJ CAREY

(KILKENNY)

The name 'DJ' still brings instant recognition across Ireland. The story goes that when he announced his first retirement in 1998, he received about 25,000 letters asking him to change his mind. He ended up scoring 34-195 in 57 games across 18 seasons to secure his place with the all-time greats of the game.

2001 TOMMY DUNNE

(TIPPERARY)

'Tommy Dunne -- he's out of this world' read the banners from Tipp supporters as they hailed the Toomevara man. In 2001, Tipp would prove unstoppable, winning the Waterford Crystal Cup, the league and their first All-Ireland since 1991. Dunne is now the coach of the county's senior hurlers.

2002 HENRY SHEFFLIN

(KILKENNY)

Known simply as 'King Henry', the hurling championship's all-time top scorer is still Kilkenny's main man and defied medical science last year when lining out in the All-Ireland final just weeks after damaging his cruciate. Kilkenny lost that day as the five-in-a-row dream died, but with Shefflin set for a comeback, he will leave a lasting impact on the game.

2003 JJ DELANEY

(KILKENNY)

one of Kilkenny's most consistent performers over the course of their success of the last decade. He's another of Brian Cody's side who seems to have an unquenchable appetite for success. Has five All Stars to his name.

2004 SEAN OG O HAILPIN

(CORK)

Deemed surplus to requirements for the 2011 season but at his peak O hAilpin was one of the best operators around. Reached the zenith of his remarkable talent in 2005 as captain of the triumphant Cork team that recorded back-to-back All-Ireland successes.

2005 JERRY O'CONNOR

(CORK)

Along with Ben, the O'Connors became the first set of twins to win All Stars together. Jerry had an exceptional year in the Rebel engine room as they sealed back-to-back titles .

2006 HENRY SHEFFLIN

(KILKENNY)

See 2002

2007 DAN SHANAHAN

(WATERFORD)

For one glorious summer, Dan truly was the man. He made his debut against Kerry in 1998 but it was in 2007 that he played the hurling of his life as he struck eight goals in a stunning Championship campaign, including a hat-trick against Limerick in the Munster final.

2008 EOIN LARKIN

(KILKENNY)

Another of the famous Larkin clan from the James Stephens club, Eoin produced remarkable displays in the 2008 All-Ireland semi-finals and final. He also helped 'The Village' to a third All-Ireland club title in 2005 and remains part of Brian Cody's plans to regain the All-Ireland.

2009 TOMMY WALSH

(KILKENNY)

Walsh won eight All Stars in a row, in midfield, defence and attack. Consistently makes a mockery of bigger opponents. His ability to field high balls is a trademark and he can operate virtually anywhere with aplomb. Will leave an indelible mark.

2010 LAR CORBETT

(TIPPERARY)

It would take something special to end Kilkenny's 'Drive for Five' and Corbett was the man to produce it. The Thurles Sarsfields clubman became the first player to score a hat-trick in the All-Ireland final in 40 years and finish the championship with 6-11, all from play.

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