Stability puts Galway above Cats on All Stars list
They may be All-Ireland champions for the sixth time in seven years, but Kilkenny are still numerically inferior to Galway on the list of nominations for the Opel-sponsored GAA/GPA Hurling All Stars.
The All-Ireland champions have 12 nominations, two less than the team they beat so convincingly in last Sunday's replay.
That anomaly is best explained by the changes the Kilkenny management made between the drawn final and the replay.
All-Ireland final debutant Walter Walsh, one of the scoring heroes last Sunday, and fellow U-21 Cillian Buckley just didn't feature enough this year to merit inclusion.
The only other Kilkenny starter from last Sunday not to get a nomination is goalkepeer David Herity.
In contrast, James Regan is the only starter from the Galway team not to be included.
Galway's consistency of selection throughout the season has helped them garner 14 nominations.
A measure of how far Kilkenny's Paul Murphy has come as a defender over the last two years is reflected in his inclusion on the shortlist of three for Hurler of the Year.
Murphy joins the giant duo of the game, Henry Shefflin and Joe Canning, on the shortlist -- but Shefflin must be favourite. Galway dominate the contest for Young Hurler of the Year, with Johnny Coen and Niall Burke in the frame along with Danny Sutcliffe, who is Dublin's sole nomination.
These awards will be selected by the inter-county playing body.
Munster hurling champions Tipperary have six players nominated despite their All-Ireland semi-final collapse, while Cork and Waterford have four each.
Damien Hayes has been nominated for a place in the half-forward line where he operated for much of the season despite wearing the No 13 shirt. His presence there means that, unusually, Galway have four players nominated for the three half-forward places.
Limerick's Niall Moran may feel a little unlucky to have been excluded after his five-point Man of the Match performance against Clare in the qualifier clash in July.