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If The Hurling All-Stars Were To Be Picked Now, Who Would Be Chosen?

The 2015 championship hasn’t been one of the best by any matter of means. Nevertheless, some players have been in sensational form and here at Pundit Arena we have chosen our best Championship XV to date.

Here at Pundit Arena HQ, we questioned, if the hurling All-Stars were to be picked now, who would be chosen? Two brothers make the team, but who are they?

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Goalkeeper (1)

Nominations: Stephen O’Keeffe (Waterford), Colm Callanan (Galway), Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny)

Winner: Stephen O’Keeffe (Waterford)

Stephen O’Keeffe has been in sublime form for the Déise this summer. The Ballygunner man has conceded only one goal from open play in this year’s championship and in what is becoming an increasingly important role as a goalkeeper, O’Keeffe’s puck-outs have been accurate and impressive.

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Right corner-back (2)

Nominations: Shane Fives (Waterford) , Paul Murphy (Kilkenny), Johnny Coen (Galway)

Winner: Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)

Kilkenny man Murphy has three All-Stars to his name to date and going on present form, the Danesfort man will be adding another to his collection. The Cats’ corner-back brings a huge physical presence to the full-back line and is capable of marking any forward in the country.

The Kilkenny defender is one of the best and most complete defenders in the modern game.
The Kilkenny defender is one of the best and most complete defenders in the modern game.

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Full-back (3)

Nominations: James Barry (Tipperary), Joey Holden (Kilkenny), Barry Coughlan (Waterford)

Winner: James Barry (Tipperary)

In what is only Barry’s second inter-county season, the Tipp full-back has brought solidity to the role vacated by Paul Curran. The former half-back has enjoyed an extremely successful period since he was transferred from wing-back to full-back by Eamon O’Shea last summer.

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Left corner-back (4)

Nominations: Cian O’Callaghan (Dublin), Pádraig Mannion (Galway), David McInerney (Clare)

Winner: Pádraig Mannion (Galway)

Pádraig Mannion has been in superb form in what is just his first season of inter-county hurling. Pádraig, a brother of star forward Cathal, has cemented his position in the Galway back-line after a series of hugely impressive performances to date.

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Right half-back (5)

Nominations: Ronan Maher (Tipperary), Austin Gleeson (Waterford), Chris Crummey (Dublin)

Winner: Austin Gleeson (Waterford)

Ever since making his championship debut in June 2014, Austin Gleeson has been the talk of the hurling world. The young Mount Sion man is showcasing his sheer quality and raw talent on a consistent basis in this year’s championship and is nearly a cert for an All-Star and possibly Young Hurler of the Year too.

Waterford's new star
Waterford’s new star.

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Centre half-back (6)

Nominations: Padraic Maher (Tipperary), Kieran Joyce (Kilkenny), Gavin O’Mahony (Limerick)

Winner: Padraic Maher (Tipperary)

The Thurles Sarsfields powerhouse is arguably the best centre-back in the game. After seeing his side through the Munster Championship, Maher and company will look to go one step further than last year’s disappointing All-Ireland final defeat.

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Left half-back (7)

Nominations: Cillian Buckley (Kilkenny), Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford), Cormac Murphy (Cork)

Winner: Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford)

Tadhg de Búrca has been a key element of Waterford’s success to date. The UCC student has acted as a sweeper behind Waterford’s half-back line and has done this job to great effect. His calmness, composure and ability to read the game has seen the Clashmore/Kinsalebeg man flourish under Derek McGrath.

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Midfield (8,9)

Nominations: Conor Fogarty (Kilkenny), Shane McGrath (Tipperary), Kevin Moran (Waterford), Andy Smith (Galway), Jamie Barron (Waterford), Tony Kelly (Clare)

Winners: Conor Fogarty (Kilkenny) and Kevin Moran (Waterford)

Conor Fogarty has been a revelation since he was positioned at centre-field by Brian Cody last year. His natural defensive capabilities coupled with his impressive athleticism and strength has seen Fogarty grow in to a dominant midfielder.

Fogarty's athleticism allows him dominate games
Fogarty’s athleticism allows him to dominate games.

Kevin Moran has been Waterford’s go-to man for a couple of years. This year, however, many of the young players have stood up to the plate and it has allowed Moran to express more of his hurling ability in a system that suits the De La Salle man down to the ground.

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Right half-forward (10)

Nominations: Jason Forde (Tipperary), Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny) Seamus Harnedy (Cork)

Winner: Jason Forde (Tipperary)

Jason Forde has seen his impressive Fitzgibbon form continue on in to the championship. The Silvermines man has hit 1-05 from play in two championship appearances to date and will look to continue his scoring form, along with his superb general play, against Galway in three weeks’ time.

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Centre-forward (11)

Nominations: Cyril Donnellan (Galway), Richie Hogan (Kilkenny), Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher (Tipperary)

Winner: Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)

Last year’s Hurler of the Year has continued his rich vein of form at centre-forward this year. The Danesfort man has been hugely impressive at centre-forward, linking the play intelligently while also picking off some fine scores. Hogan has notched 1-09 from play in two championship outings so far.

Last year's player of the year has continued where he left off last year
Last year’s Player of the Year has continued where he left off last year.

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Left half-forward (12)

Nominations: TJ Reid (Kilkenny), Johnathan Glynn (Galway) Jake Dillon (Waterford)

Winner: TJ Reid (Kilkenny)

Reid has been in unstoppable form in Leinster this year. The Ballyhale man has been in deadly form from placed balls and has scored a remarkable 2-17 in two championship games to date with 1-06 of that coming from open play.

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Right corner-forward (13)

Nominations: Ger Aylward (Kilkenny), Cathal Mannion (Galway), Colin Dunford (Waterford)

Winner: Cathal Mannion (Galway)

Cathal, along with his brother Pádraig, are both in line to recieve All-Stars at the rate they are going. Aged just 20, the Ahascragh-Fohenagh corner-forward has been critical in Galway’s run to this year’s All-Ireland semi-final. He has scored an incredible 3-15 from play in the championship to date.

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Full-forward (14)

Nominations: Seamus Callanan (Tipperary), Joe Canning (Galway), Maurcice Shanahan (Waterford)

Winner: Maurcice Shanahan (Waterford)

At full-forward, Maurice Shanahan is on course to emulate his older brother Dan and recieve an All-Star. Maurice has stepped up to the plate big time this year after the loss of Pauric Mahony to a broken leg. The Lismore man has scored 2-29 in Waterford’s remarkable championship journey of 2015.

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Left corner-forward (15)

Nominations: Mark Schutte (Dublin), Cian Lynch (Limerick), John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer (Tipperary)

Winner: John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer (Tipperary)

Finally, at left corner-forward, we have chosen John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer of Tipperary. ‘Bubbles’ lit up the championship last year and continued to do so in Tipperary’s successful Munster championship campaign this year.

With twelve points to his name already this year, the Tipperary faithful will be looking for the Killenaule man to continue his rich vein of form.

Bubbles is a sensational talent
Bubbles is a sensational talent.

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A mere four counties are represented in this All-Star team. Waterford have five representatives, while both Tipperary and Kilkenny have four. Galway are represented by the two Mannions.

The likes of ‘Bonner’ Maher, Johnny Glynn and Cillian Buckley just missed out on selection here. With both All-Ireland semi-finals to be played along with the final (a replay too if the last three years are anything to go by), there is plenty of time for others to stake a claim for an All-Star.

Let us know if you agree with our selection via our facebook page or twitter – @punditarenagaa

Seán Ó Murchú, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.