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Sutcliffe has a star in his eyes

DANNY SUTCLIFFE finds himself in illustrious company after being nominated for the GAA GPA Young Hurler of the Year award sponsored by Opel.

The St Jude's man broke through onto Anthony Daly's starting team in his first full season with the Dublin seniors although his chances of actually landing the award -- won last year by team-mate Liam Rushe -- are remote.

Sutcliffe is up against overwhelming favourite, Johnny Coen, as well as his Galway team-mate Niall Burke and holds the distinction of being the only Dublin player nominated this year after a wholly disappointing season for the boys in blue.

Having made his Dublin senior debut in 2011 as a sub in their All-Ireland quarter-final win over Limerick, Sutcliffe caught the eye early this year, earning the praise of Anthony Daly for a big performance at wing-back in their Walsh Cup exit to Laois. From there, he started Dublin's first four League matches and was, with widespread acceptance, the outstanding performer before being rested for the 'dead rubber' clash with Waterford in Walsh Park.

He scalped John Gardiner for four points from play in Croke Park and most memorably, bagged 2-3 in Nowlan Park whilst spending most of that duel being marked by Tommy Walsh.

The nominations show that Kilkenny's All-Ireland win hasn't necessarily resulted in further domination of the All Star candidates. In fact, Leinster champions and beaten finalists Galway outrank Brian Cody's men with 14 nominations against Kilkenny's 12, although that balance is sure to be redressed when the winners are announced.


Munster champions Tipperary are down to just six nominations this year while fellow vanquished All-Ireland semi-finalists Cork have four, as do Waterford. Limerick, Clare (two each) and Dublin (Sutcliffe) make up the remainder of the hopefuls.

Of those outside the All-Ireland finalists in contention for a gong, Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash is considered favourite ahead of James Skehill and Nickie Quaid while one of Pádraic Maher and Brendan Bugler of Clare are likely to be selected in one of the wing-back positions.

Waterford pair Kevin Moran (midfield) and John Mullane also have strong claims, as do Tipp's Pa Bourke and Patrick Horan of Cork.

Henry Shefflin is now favourite to be Hurler of the Year after two stellar displays in both the All-Ireland final and last Sunday's replay.


GOALKEEPERS: Anthony Nash (Cork), Nickie Quaid (Limerick), James Skehill (Galway).

FULL-BACKS: Paul Murphy (Kilkenny), JJ Delaney (Kilkenny), Johnny Coen (Galway), Fergal Moore (Galway), Jackie Tyrell (Kilkenny), Richie McCarthy (Limerick), Michael Cahill (Tipperary), Kevin Hynes (Galway), Shane O'Neill (Cork).

HALF-BACKS: Brian Hogan (Kilkenny), Brendan Bugler (Clare), Pádraic Maher (Tipperary), David Collins (Galway), Michael Walsh (Waterford), Tony Óg Regan (Galway), Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny), Niall Donohue (Galway), Kieran Joyce (Kilkenny).

MIDFIELDERS: Andy Smith (Galway), Kevin Moran (Waterford), Stephen Molumphy (Waterford), Pa Cronin (Cork), Iarla Tannian (Galway), Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny).

HALF-FORWARDS: Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny), Cyril Donnellan (Galway), Niall Burke (Galway), Patrick Maher (Tipperary), TJ Reid (Kilkenny), Pa Burke (Tipperary), Damien Hayes (Galway), Danny Sutcliffe (Dublin), Richie Power (Kilkenny).

FULL-FORWARDS: Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny), Joe Canning (Galway), Noel McGrath (Tipperary), Patrick Horgan (Cork), John Mullane (Waterford), Brian O'Meara (Tipperary), Richie Hogan (Kilkenny), John Conlon (Clare), David Burke (Galway).

COUNTY BREAKDOWN: Galway (14), Kilkenny (12), Tipperary (6), Cork (4), Waterford (4), Limerick (2), Clare (2), Dublin (1).

HURLER OF THE YEAR: Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny), Paul Murphy (Kilkenny), Joe Canning (Galway).

YOUNG HURLER OF THE YEAR: Johnny Coen (Galway), Niall Burke (Galway), Danny Sutcliffe (Dublin).