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Tipp top in All Star race

Champs' magnificent seven sees historic gong for Hogan

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Brian Hogan and his father Ken are the first father and son combination to win hurling All Stars in the same position

Brian Hogan and his father Ken are the first father and son combination to win hurling All Stars in the same position

Brian Hogan and his father Ken are the first father and son combination to win hurling All Stars in the same position

Brian Hogan and Pádraic Maher represent both the youth and experience of a record-equalling seven Tipperary winners on this year's PwC hurling All Stars team.

Hogan's selection as this year's premier netminder is eye-catching for several reasons, both topical and historical.

Firstly, this is the only change from RTÉ's team of the year announced on the night of Tipp's All-Ireland triumph over Kilkenny - the Sunday Game '15' led off with Kilkenny's Eoin Murphy between the posts.

Secondly, the towering goalkeeper follows the lead of Ken Hogan by becoming only the third son to emulate his father as an All Star hurler.

History doesn't end there, however, as Maher becomes a six-time winner, thus joining Nicky English and Eoin Kelly as the most decorated Tipperary hurlers in the history of the awards scheme.

Topsy-turvy

The overall hurling selection, chosen by a panel of GAA media, seems unlikely to generate too many earthquakes and is broadly reflective of the topsy-turvy season that culminated in two beaten provincial finalists chasing ultimate August glory.

As expected, champions Tipperary lead the way with seven - emulating the county's previous high benchmark from 1991, 2001, 2014 (curiously when they failed to lift Liam MacCarthy) and 2016.

Next up are runners-up Kilkenny with just three awards. Noreside advocates will doubtless make the case for Murphy, although the already two-time All Star 'keeper missed the first three Leinster round-robin games with a knee injury. He went on to cough up nine goals in five SHC fixtures, compared to Hogan's concession of just seven in eight games.

Thus, this year's All-Ireland finalists account for ten of the team - not unusually low given that both were vanquished at the provincial final stage.

Sharpshooter

Munster champions Limerick can boast two winners, corner-back Seán Finn (securing back-to-back awards) and sharpshooter Aaron Gillane (with his first).

Likewise, Wexford after their ground-breaking Leinster success, as midfielder Diarmuid O'Keeffe and forward talisman Lee Chin are elevated to the All Star ranks for the first time, both at the age of 27.

The team is completed, at top of the left, by Patrick Horgan. The Cork metronome may have exited the championship at the quarter-final stage, but he was already a shoo-in following his inclusion among the three nominees for Hurler of the Year.

Appearing on the same shortlist are Tipperary captain Séamus Callanan and Kilkenny skipper TJ Reid, with the result of the players' vote to be revealed during tomorrow night's live RTÉ broadcast from the Convention Centre.

All three Hurler of the Year candidates will be receiving their fourth All Stars at tomorrow's banquet, which serves to underline the level of experience in this year's marquee line-up, 11 of whom are previous winners.

Six of the team (and four of the forwards) are aged 30 or over: the two Tipp Mahers, Brendan and Pádraic, in the half-back line along with Kilkenny's Ballyhale duo, Reid and Colin Fennelly, Callanan and Horgan, all up front.

Whereas 30-year-old Pádraic Maher has been a multiple All Star over the past decade (previously winning in 2009, '11, '14, '16 and '17) this is all new-terrain for his 23-year-old colleague between the posts.

But not new for the Hogan family. The two previous father-and-son combinations in hurling hailed from Kilkenny - 'Fan' and Philly Larkin, plus Richie Power Snr and Jnr.

But the Hogans now have a unique claim to fame as the only father and son hurlers to win an All Star in the same position, Ken having won his award in goals back in 1987.

Links

Inter-generational All Star links are more common in football, where three different fathers and sons have won awards in the same position. They are Dermot Earley Snr and Jnr at midfield, for Roscommon and Kildare respectively; Pat and Paddy Reynolds at left half-back for Meath; and Barney and Dean Rock at right half-forward for Dublin.

The current Dublin team is likely to have a dominant role when this year's All-Stars football line-up is unveiled tomorrow night, while three of their ranks - skipper Stephen Cluxton, Jack McCaffrey and Con O'Callaghan - are on the shortlist for Footballer of the Year.


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