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Sunday 22 October 2017

Super Mac won't be Hurler of the Year

Canning, Barron and Moran make shortlist

Joe Canning of Galway is one of three nominees for Hurler of the Year
Joe Canning of Galway is one of three nominees for Hurler of the Year

Galway colossus Gearóid McInerney may have been the Sunday Game choice but he definitely won't be the official Hurler of the Year.

The powerhouse centre-back is something of a controversial omission from the shortlist of three, unveiled today - especially since he was the unanimous choice of RTÉ pundits on the night of the All-Ireland final.

Instead, the All-Stars selectors have plumped for Galway talisman Joe Canning and Waterford duo Jamie Barron and Kevin Moran.

This year's scheme is under new sponsorship - PwC's four-year partnership with the GAA and GPA was celebrated at a Croke Park launch yesterday - but the same model remains.

Baton

The nominees for Hurler of the Year and Young Hurler have been chosen by a panel of GAA media but the baton is now handed over to the players, with GPA members voting on the aforementioned shortlist.

They've been left with an intriguing choice. While quite a few observers beyond the Montrose studios would have favoured McInerney after his compelling semi-final and final displays, now they must weigh up the rival claims of Canning, Barron and Moran.

Canning might qualify as the wider public's choice after the fulfilment of his All-Ireland quest, but quite a few hurling critics have strongly argued the case for Barron after a consistently dynamic summer in the Deise engine-room.

It will be interesting to see if the presence of two Waterford men impacts on the vote. Previously we have witnessed All-Ireland winners lose out in both codes, arguably because two teammates were pitted against one runner-up - Lee Keegan took the football honours last year while Austin Gleeson won the hurling prize.

This time, however, you've one winner against two runners-up as Barron's midfield partner is also included.

When it comes to the 45 nominations, the veteran Moran is listed in attack even though his No 10 jersey belies the fact that he spent the campaign operating from centrefield.

This underscores the strong midfield competition, with Barron joined by Galway skipper David Burke, the All-Ireland final Man of the Match, among the six nominees in this sector.

Not surprisingly, Galway lead the way with 14 nominations on the back of their clean sweep of Allianz League, Leinster and All-Ireland titles. Their only All-Ireland starter to lose out is Jonathan Glynn.

Waterford are next up with11 nominations, followed by Cork (eight), Tipperary (five), Wexford (four), Kilkenny (two) and Clare (one). This is Kilkenny's lowest number of nominations in the Brian Cody era.

The Young Hurler of the Year nominees, meanwhile, are Galway sharpshooter Conor Whelan; Waterford's man-marking specialist, Conor Gleeson (some compensation for missing the final through suspension); and Cork wing-back Mark Coleman.

The final 15 that make up the PWC All-Stars will receive their awards at a banquet in Dublin's Convention Centre on Friday, November 3 - an event to be screened live by RTE TV.

PwC Hurling All-Stars

Nominees

GOALKEEPERS: Colm Callanan (Galway), Anthony Nash (Cork), Stephen O'Keeffe (Waterford).

DEFENDERS: Mark Coleman (Cork), Daithí Burke (Galway), Gearóid McInerney (Galway), Padraic Maher (Tipperary), Padraig Mannion (Galway), Noel Connors (Waterford), Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford), Aidan Harte (Galway), Adrian Tuohey (Galway), Darragh Fives (Waterford), Diarmuid O'Keeffe(Wexford), Colm Spillane (Cork), John Hanbury (Galway), Damien Cahalane (Cork), Cillian Buckley (Kilkenny), Conor Gleeson (Waterford), Philip Mahony (Waterford), Matthew O'Hanlon (Wexford)

MIDFIELDERS: David Burke (Galway), Jamie Barron (Waterford), Brendan Maher (Tipperary), Johnny Coen (Galway), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Cork), Lee Chin (Wexford)

FORWARDS: Kevin Moran (Waterford), Joe Canning (Galway), Conor Cooney (Galway), Joseph Cooney (Galway), Patrick Horgan (Cork), Pauric Mahony (Waterford), John McGrath (Tipperary), Michael Walsh (Waterford), Alan Cadogan (Cork), Conor Whelan (Galway) Conor Lehane (Cork), Noel McGrath (Tipperary), TJ Reid (Kilkenny), Austin Gleeson (Waterford), Seamus Callanan (Tipperary), Shane O'Donnell (Clare), Conor McDonald (Wexford), Cathal Mannion (Galway).

Hurler of the Year Nominees: Joe Canning (Galway), Kevin Moran (Waterford), Jamie Barron (Waterford).

Young Hurler of the Year Nominees: Mark Coleman (Cork), Conor Gleeson (Waterford), Conor Whelan (Galway).

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