The result of Sunday’s All-Ireland final will go a long way in deciding this year’s recipient of the Hurler of the Year award.
Currently, Seamus Callanan and TJ Reid are the frontrunners following their sensational performances for Tipperary and Kilkenny respectively and you would imagine that the Hurler of the Year will most likely come from the team that lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
While Jason Forde has been Tipperary’s top scorer this season with 2-57 to his name, Callanan has been the name on everyone’s lips. The Drom & Inch man has registered 7-16 throughout the championship, one goal in every game. The goalscoring spree has brought his tally to 34 championship goals and that overtakes Christy Ring and DJ Carey in the overall list. Another goal will see him jump into joint-third alongside the great Eddie Keher.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 28, 2019
While those statistics are phenomenal, in the eyes of the bookies, he is still behind Reid in the race for the Hurler of the Year accolade and the numbers prove why.
The Ballyhale Shamrocks man has scored 5-72 during the championship, 3-11 from play and that is an average of 12.4 points per game. That total means that Reid is already the all-time top scorer for a single hurling championship season. Should he score 13 points or more on Sunday, he will be the first player to surpass a century in one season.
Below is a list of all the championship top-scorers from the past decade:
However, take out the scoring, and Reid’s performances have still been highly impressive. For example, he was held scoreless from play against Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final last month and was still deservedly named man-of-the-match.
It’s not hard to see why Brian Cody chose Reid as captain this year, such is his mature influence in all their open play. He brings those around him into the fray, is entirely unselfish with the ball and works himself into the ground – all qualities of a great leader.
Callanan, of course, has all these attributes also and is a reinvigorated figure for Tipperary since he was appointed captain by Liam Sheedy. He has been nominated for Hurler of the Year on three occasions – with many arguing that he should have won the award in 2016 – and is well on his way to his fourth nomination.
While it would be very harsh on any player to deny them four times, especially after such a stellar season, Reid’s phenomenal scoring statistics, as well his overall play, should be enough to seal him his second Hurler of the Year award.
*Statistics courtesy of L O’Dare, who has published GAA stats on Amazon Kindle, a bookeen per county.