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Saturday 3 December 2016

Roche's Point: If you're not from the land of Kilkenny, time to read and weep

Kilkenny players, from left, Michael Fennelly, Colin Fennelly, TJ Reid, and Cillian Buckley, celebrate after the final whistle
Kilkenny players, from left, Michael Fennelly, Colin Fennelly, TJ Reid, and Cillian Buckley, celebrate after the final whistle
TJ Reid

A GROUNDHOG is a stocky North American burrowing rodent. Groundhog Day describes a situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to recur in exactly the same way.

But this is an end-of-year hurling column so heaven only knows how that obscure intro slipped past the editor.

Back in the land of the Cat, Groundhog Day is the first Sunday of September. You know what's going to unfold. And there's nothing tedious about it either ... we'll let the other 31 counties obsess about that. In the meantime, some gongs to distribute ...

HURLER OF THE YEAR

TJ REID

NO dispute after Sunday's final chapter in a summer of stellar consistency. Joint-third top SHC scorer with 4-32, but that only tells half the story. Struck a goal and contended for Man of the Match in all four Kilkenny SHC outings. Leave aside his predatory eye and deadly frees and adhesive hand; here is a supremely gifted individual wedded to his team. Oh, and he won an All-Ireland club medal too.

Honourable mentions for teammates Richie Hogan (excelled in the league and Leinster, and may have pushed TJ even closer but for end-of-season injury issues), Eoin Larkin and Cillan Buckley ... plus you can't ignore Tipp scoring machine Séamus Callanan.

YOUNG HURLER OF THE YEAR

TADHG DE BÚRCA

GALWAY have a trilogy of hotshot contenders - Cathal Mannion, Jason Flynn and Conor Whelan - but we plump for Waterford's sweeper par excellence, de Búrca, ahead of his swashbuckling fellow Deise man, Austin Gleeson.

GOAL OF THE YEAR

JOE CANNING

JOE CANNING'S catch, swivel and finish - in one sublime pirouetting movement - was a rare Galway highlight from the Leinster final defeat to Kilkenny. One of those truly 'Wow!' moments, even better than Shane Bennett's ground stroke thunderbolt for Waterford against Dublin or Jonathon Glynn's ridiculously audacious run and finish for Galway against Cork.

POINT OF THE YEAR

SHANE MOLONEY

SHANE MOLONEY's Galway match-winner against Tipperary, partly because of the wonderfully precise build-up (courtesy of Canning and David Burke) and even more so because it required real nerve from the young debutant to seal a see-sawing classic.

DISPLAY OF THE YEAR

SEAMUS CALLANAN

SÉAMUS CALLANAN'S 3-9 masterclass for Tipp against Galway ... never mind the losing outcome, this was close to target man perfection.

SPEECH OF THE YEAR

JACKIE TYRRELL in the Kilkenny dressing-room at half-time last Sunday. Even if none of us heard it.

RABBIT IN HEADLIGHTS AWARD

DUBLIN for the first 20 minutes of their Tullamore replay against Galway.

FAMILY VENGEANCE AWARD

SHANE PRENDERGAST, 29, who marked his September baptism with the ultimate revenge as a dish best served cold. Twenty-eight years ago, his father Paddy skippered Kilkenny in the 1987 All-Ireland final against Galway ... and lost.

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