We have arrived at the business end of the 2017 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
With only six teams remaining in the hunt for September glory, the picture of this championship is becoming clearer.
Provincial champions, Cork and Galway have their respective semi-final berths secured and await the outcome of the two quarter-finals to see who they will come up against.
Defending champions Tipperary face off against Clare on Saturday, June 22nd and a day later, Waterford will meet Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford. Both those ties are down to take place in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
While there have been some outstanding performers already this summer, the latter stages of the championship is where real recognition is achieved and this is where the cream rises to the top. As a reward for a stellar season of top displays, the best players in their respective positions are rewarded at the end of every year with an All Star.
What we are looking at is, if the GAA GPA Hurling All Stars were handed out at this stage of the season, who would make the cut?
The favourites for each position are determined by how well each player has played so far this year, but also by how far the bookmakers foresee each county going in the championship. Naturally, the more likely you are to win the All-Ireland, the more likely you are to win an All Star.
Of course, Galway are outright favourites to end their famine wait for the Liam MacCarthy Cup and therefore many of their players are the front-runners to clinch the prestigious accolade. Tipperary, having trounced Dublin by 22-points on Saturday evening appear to have their mojo back and come in as second favourites to retain their title behind the Tribesmen. Kieran Kingston’s revived Rebels are next in the pecking order, according to the bookies.
Bookmakers’ All Star XV As Of Now:
(Odds via Paddy Power)
1. Colm Callanan – Galway – 11/8
2. Daithi Burke – Galway – 5/6
3. Damien Cahalane- Cork – 13/8
4. Adrian Tuohy – Galway – / Stephen McDonnell – Cork – both 3/1
5. Mark Coleman – Cork – 1/2
6. Austin Gleeson – Waterford – 8/11
7. Padraic Maher – Tipperary – 6/4
8. David Burke – Galway – 8/11
9. Lee Chin – Wexford – 5/6
10. Joe Canning – Galway – 8/11
11. Joseph Cooney – Galway – 5/2
12. Cathal Mannion – Galway – 11/4
13. Conor Cooney – Galway – 10/11
14. Seamus Callanan – Tipperary – 11/10
15. Conor Lehane – Cork – 13/8