We have reached the semi-final stage in this year’s All-Ireland championship and we here at Pundit Arena HQ, have decided to list the five main contenders for Hurler Of The Year.
Yesterday saw the football candidates listed and now it’s time for the hurlers.
The semi-finals and finals are where the men stand out from the boys, so all is yet to play for but we have chosen our top five hurlers of the summer to date.
TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
Reid has been in superb form this summer. The Ballyhale Shamrocks man has been in deadly form in front of goal, both from placed balls and open play. The 27-year-old has scored a remarkable 2-17 in two championship games to date. His improved physique has seen Reid dominate the aerial battles on both of his championship appearances to date. With his sheer pace and power that Reid possesses, Waterford will be keen to keep a close eye on the five-time All-Ireland medalist.
John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer (Tipperary)
John O’Dwyer lit up last year’s championship with a series of great displays and the Killenaule man has scaled even bigger heights in 2015 to date. O’Dwyer has displayed an array of talent in this year’s Munster championship, most notably his ability to shoot over scores from just about anywhere on the pitch. Renowned for his slick wrists, ‘Bubbles’ will need to deliver at GAA HQ if Tipperary are to go on and claim the Liam McCarthy Cup for the first time since 2010.
Austin Gleeson (Waterford)
Austin Gleeson has been critical to Derek McGrath’s revolution in Waterford. With number six on his back, the young Mount Sion man has excelled in a variety of positions over the course of his second championship season. Along with Tadhg de Búrca, Gleeson has dominated proceedings around the half-back line. His raw hurling ability has been demonstrated on each championship outing and the 20-year-old will look to bring his rich vein of form to Croke Park on Sunday.
Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
Richie Hogan is nothing short of a hurling maestro. Last year’s Hurler Of The Year has continued where he left off last year. Hogan lead Kilkenny for most of the league and has been in fine form in Championship 2015. Brian Cody has positioned Hogan at centre-forward this year and the Danesfort clubman has been superb, linking the play while also picking off 1-09 from play. Along with TJ Reid, Hogan is arguably the most prominent hurler in the game at the moment. Can Hogan claim back-to-back ‘Hurler Of The Year’ awards? Only time will tell.
Maurice Shanahan (Waterford)
Shanahan is having a season to remember. The brother of Dan has stepped out of his older brother’s shadow this year to guide the Déise to a first All-Ireland semi-final since 2011. After Pauric Mahony’s injury, Shanahan has taken over the free-taking duties and has done so to great effect. The 25-year-old has caused endless problems at the edge of the square. If Waterford can get the better of Kilkenny on Sunday, Shanahan has every chance of claiming the coveted ‘Hurler Of The Year’ award.
Galway can feel hard done by with no player represented above but it goes to show how much of a team effort it has been for Anthony Cunningham’s Tribesmen. The likes of Johnny Glynn, Cathal Mannion, Andy Smith and Joe Canning have all stepped up to the plate at different times this summer.
Let us know what you think of our selcetion via the comments section below or our Facebook page, Pundit Arena GAA.
Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena