Sunday 18 March 2018

1 Anthony Nash (Cork)

I'VE got to admit I had to take a second look when the All Star hurling nominations came out and Galway had two more nominees than Kilkenny. Fair enough, Brian Cody had to shake things up a bit and move the deckchairs slightly for the final replay, but, for me, the Cats still have the best players in the country and I think that will be reflected in the final All Star 15.

In my Team of the Year, the Cats have five representatives -- one more than Galway -- and I don't think my selection will be a million miles away.

1 Anthony Nash (Cork)

Took over from the injured Donal Og Cusack and played very well in his first season, getting vital scores at the other end of the field as well as doing a fine job in goal. A very good striker of the ball.

2 paul Murphy (kilkenny)

Outstanding second season, he has really established himself and made the corner-back position his own. He has become a permanent fixture and is getting better and better with every game.

3 JJ DELANEY (kilkenny)

On the big days, he performed. Even when his man got a big score, he never let it affect him. Like Noel Hickey before him, he has stepped up to the plate and always rises to the occasion.

4 fergal moore (galway)

The Galway captain edges out strong performers like Johnny Coen and Jackie Tyrrell for me after a great season. Other years, he suffered from injury, but in this campaign he went from strength to strength and proved he was a very good hurler.

5 brendan bulger (Clare)

Great in the air, a fine half-back. He came back to the fold having not been selected in the last year or two and had an excellent season in Davy Fitzgerald's team. Tommy Walsh would be on most lists, but judged by his own standards, he wasn't as hot this year.

6 brian hogan (kilkenny)

No contest really. Hogan has been an anchor for the Cats. When he plays well, the team plays well and on the big day, he is unreal. He just keeps on getting better and better.

7 kevin moran (waterford)

Could have fitted in at midfield or wing-back. Even when things weren't going to plan for the Deise, this lad led by example. He has a great heart and can play anywhere, he had a great season. Deserves a first All Star.

8 iarla tannian (galway)

Anthony Cunningham moved him out to midfield in the win over Dublin in the league and he has made the shirt his own this season. The All-Ireland final replay wasn't his best day, but he was brilliant in the drawn game.

9 PA CRONIN (cork)

Very good in the air, he has played midfield and centre-forward and has shown leadership in Jimmy Barry-Murphy's new-look team. Had a strong season, getting great scores.

1 0 david burke (galway)

Equally at home at wing-forward or midfield. He is 22, one of the new breed of Galway hurlers coming through.

1 1 henry shefflin (kilkenny)

The king himself. Like wine, he seems

to get better with age. He saved his team in the drawn final, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and then had a great replay. He got over his injuries from the winter and got stronger and stronger. Barring injuries, he'll be going for his 10th All-Ireland next year.

1 2 TJ reid (Kilkenny)

He has been on and off Cody's team, but this year he settled down, and from now on he will be on the teamsheet all the time. Good in the air, unorthodox and gets vital scores.

1 3 john mullane (waterford)

Comes out of nowhere to take games by the scruff of the neck and wears his heart on his sleeve. Still as good as ever.

14 joe canning (galway)

Injured in the replay, he had a great season and people are beginning to see how good he is. A superb exponent of the game, he could become a true Galway great. A lovely wristy hurler and striker of the ball. He is starting to blossom and, if he can stay injury-free, he has a big career ahead.

15 pa bourke (tipperary)

Bourke took over free-taking duties from Eoin Kelly. Will be a leading light for the Premier County in the years to come.

manager of the year

brian cody (Kilkenny)

The great man is still learning, as he showed by eventually getting to grips with Galway. By throwing the two young men into the All-Ireland final replay, he revitalised the team, put pressure on himself and the players to respond, and that is why they won.

Irish Independent

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