Former Kilkenny hurler Eoin Larkin has backed Seamus Callanan to be crowned Hurler of the Year for 2019 but maintains that TJ Reid is “a class above everybody”.
The star forwards are nominated for the accolade alongside Cork’s Patrick Horgan and the winner will be announced during PwC All-Star Friday’s ceremony.
Having led Tipperary to their third All-Ireland title of the decade, scoring a goal in every game along the way, Callanan is tipped to win Hurler of the Year having missed out in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
However, Larkin, who received the award in 2008, still believes that his former teammate Reid is the best forward in the country.
“It’ll be hard to go against Seamus Callanan because of what he did during the year, and with Tipperary winning the All-Ireland, but I think TJ is a class above everybody.
“Even when Kilkenny weren’t going well during the year, TJ seemed to be still going well. He’s taken it to a new level.”
Reid played a pivotal role at the weekend as Ballyhale Shamrocks overcame Larkin’s James Stephens in the Kilkenny county final, scoring 0-6, while he also set up Eoin Cody for a pivotal goal.
The pass was another example of Reid’s audacious and outstanding ability, according to Larkin.
“Ballyhale Shamrocks got a goal during the county final last Sunday and TJ’s stick pass to Eoin Cody for the goal was just something unbelievable and nobody else would have even thought of making a stick pass there, they’d have handpassed it.
“I think he’s just a class above everybody. But it is going to be hard for him to win Hurler of the Year this year with Tipperary obviously winning the All-Ireland. Seamus Callanan getting a goal in every game would help his cause as well.”
Meanwhile, Callanan’s teammate Pádraic Maher has backed the Tipperary captain to be crowned Hurler of the Year on the fourth attempt.
“He won’t be too far away. Hopefully from a Tipp point of view, he’ll get it, and I don’t think anyone could begrudge it to him either. He’s been nominated three or four times so I don’t think you could begrudge him this one.
“He’s had a fantastic year and he’s led the group brilliantly. It would be nice for him to finish off the year with that accolade if he manages to do it.”
The PwC All-Star Hurling Team for 2019 was named on Thursday and you can read the team here.