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There's no such thing as perfect when you're naming the summer's best


Seamus Callanan

Seamus Callanan

Seamus Callanan

The only guarantee with the All Stars teams each year is that there will be no consensus.

Pick who you like, in whatever positions you like and you'll be sure to find plenty who vehemently disagree. Some will even talk of conspiracies and agendas, ironically contrary to their own bias.

Even the 45-strong list of nominations provokes debate. Only a few weeks ago, Davy Fitzgerald was insisting that Wexford should have had at least three nominations more than the eight they received.

And so the 2019 hurling selection will draw the same ire and finger pointing that the previous incarnations did. In some ways, that is the function of the All Stars team, to provoke debate and help to bridge the gap until the new season comes into view.

The All-Ireland champions Tipperary dominate with seven awards, but beaten finalists Kilkenny will only see three of their men called at the ceremony at Dublin's Convention Centre tomorrow night.

When Galway were beaten finalists in 2018 they also won three awards, however, the season prior to that saw runners-up Waterford win five. As usual, this year's team was picked by a panel of journalists from across the media landscape.

And while their selection will provoke debate it's worth noting that there is just one difference between this side and the one picked by The Sunday Game panel on the night of the All-Ireland final.

That change comes between the posts where Tipperary's Brian Hogan was chosen ahead of Kilkenny's Eoin Murphy and Enda Rowland of Laois.

Early indications from those in the room suggest that choosing between Hogan and Murphy was one of the most contentious issues they faced.

Selections are heavily weighted towards performances at the end of the season and Hogan kept a clean sheet in the All-Ireland final while Murphy, who also missed the start of the championship through injury, conceded three goals in that game.

Tipp also won 20 of their 26 puck-outs while Kilkenny kept just 13 of 37 that day.

However, those stats have to be viewed through the prism of Richie Hogan's first half sending off.

In all, Tipperary pick up seven awards to bring the county's tally to 104 since the scheme started in 1971.

The honour of being Tipp's 100th All Star falls to defender Cathal Barrett. Thurles Sarsfields star Padraic Maher moves to six awards, putting him alongside the likes of Tipp heroes Eoin Kelly and Nicky English.

Interestingly, the All-Ireland champions pick up just one award in the forwards, where Seamus Callanan is honoured.

In that regard, Jason Forde is another who can count himself very unlucky. Forde was brilliant from play and also assumed free taking responsibility from Callanan but misses out with Colin Fennelly named at wing forward.

Wexford are honoured twice but Matthew O'Hanlon, who tracked some of the best forwards over the summer was surely in the conversation. And but for an illness ahead of the All-Ireland final, Kilkenny tyro Adrian Mullen would surely have been in the mix.

When it comes to decrying decisions on behalf of those who missed out, there should be only one rule. If you believe someone should have been included, then name who you think should have missed out to accommodate them.