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Pundit Arena’s Hurling All Star Selections For 2015

tj reid Kilkenny

As the dust settles upon the All-Ireland Hurling Championship of 2015, we enter the long few months void of any inter-county action, and are left to ponder who will be awarded with All Stars.

The debate is likely to rage, but here at Pundit Arena, we have finally decided on our 15. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, or on our Facebook page.

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1. Darren Gleeson (Tipperary)

Colm Callanan put in a fine performance last Sunday and pulled off some vital stops against Tipperary in the semi-final, despite a hat-trick from his name-sake, Séamus.

However, on the balance of the whole Summer, Gleeson has been the standout performer. The Portroe man made nine saves and conceded just once across his three matches, and arguably outshone Callanan in the semi-final epic.

His puck-out display against Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds was the winning of the game. When Limerick pulled a man back, he hit his corner-backs with flawless precision. In the second half when the Treaty went man-for-man, he picked his wing-forwards with accurate bullets.

Darren Gleeson

 

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2. Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)

Murphy is fast becoming one of the great corner-backs of the game. Tommy Walsh won a record nine consecutive All Star awards over the last decade, and was an automatic name on the list each year.

The Danesfort man surely now holds similar status. Having featured in the selection for 2011, 2012, and 2014, he was the standout performer for the Cats in 2013, and surely was deserving of one. He did not drop his impeccably high standards this term.

paul murphy

 

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3. Joey Holden (Kilkenny)

There was much talk before the year as to who could possibly fill the boots of the retired JJ Delaney. Holden was called upon to step up to the plate and that he did, with awesome results. Murphy, Holden and Jackie Tyrell, in 2015, were perhaps the most formidable full-back unit since the Tipp’s famous ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. Pure class.

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4. Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)

We are resisting the temptation to go for an all-Kilkenny full-back line, and instead recognising the Holycross corner-back for the position. The 2014 Young Hurler of the Year was rock solid in defence, and key to Tipperary’s effective puck-out strategy which saw the Premier capture their first Munster title since 2012.

The Tipperary newcomer is right up there with the best hurlers in the country at the moment.
The Holycross man is right up there with the best hurlers in the country at the moment.

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5. Austin Gleeson (Waterford)

The Déise had a real breakthrough season in 2015 and with players like Austin Gleeson coming through it’s not hard to see why. He added some raw class to the unconventional Waterford defensive unit, coming up with some inspiring scores. His pointed sideline against Dublin came at a vital time in the second half, and gave the Déise the momentum to put Ger Cunningham’s side away.

Waterford's new star
Waterford’s new star

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Listen to our dedicated GAA podcast, The 16th Man, below.

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6. Tadhg De Búrca (Waterford)

It was a straight shoot-out between Iarla Tannion and De Búrca for the number six shirt, with both impressing from the word go in their respective provincial championships. However, De Búrca was the engine of the Déise this year.

While many so-called sweepers earned plaudits this year simply because they could catch a ball unmarked, the UCC Fitzgibbon Cup hurler perfected the art this year. It is said of former French soccer player Claude Makélélé that he was so good at his job, it was called after him. In years to come, we may well call the sweeper, the ‘De Búrca Role’.

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7. Cillian Buckley (Kilkenny)

Buckley is another who did not merely show up for the business end of the Summer. Throughout the Fitzgibbon Cup for UCD, and the league, Buckley was the go-to back for Brian Cody, and delivered every time. Daithí Burke is unlucky to miss out.

cillian buckley

 

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8. David Burke (Galway)

We are now at midfield on the selection, and this writer is pondering how Burke is the first Galway player to make it, such was the competition for places in the back-line. Burke was an All Star in 2012, and his performances this year suggest that he should repeat the feat three years after his maiden award.

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9. Zane Keenan (Laois)

2011 Hurler of the Year Michael Fennelly put in one of the great All-Ireland final performances against Galway, but All Stars ought not to be won for September performances alone. Zane Keenan had a fine year for Laois.

Also a centre-forward, he put in some mighty displays as the O’Moore county topped the Leinster Round-Robin, and then beat Offaly for the first time since 1972. Keenan raised eleven white flags for the historic victory. Under the stewardship of Cheddar Plunkett, Laois made progress in 2015, and Keenan was central to this.

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10. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)

Reid is a shoe-in for not only an All Star, but also Hurler of the Year. 4-32 across four games is consistency at its best. Reid is a player who has taken the step up to drive Kilkenny following the calamity that was 2013.

tj reid

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Listen to our dedicated GAA podcast, The 16th Man, below.

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11. Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)

Brian Cody had the bravery to take off the 2014 Hurler of the Year with ten minutes to go last Sunday, and it proved to be one of the great managerial decisions in hurling. However, Hogan was immense in Kilkenny’s championship, right from the first minute against Wexford in Nowlan Park.

Richie Hogan

 

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12. Jonathan Glynn (Galway)

After a relatively quiet Leinster campaign, Glynn’s summer burst into life when the ball was thrown in for the All-Ireland quarter-final against Cork. Galway’s prowess this year can be attributed to the sheer number of game-winners throughout their forward line and Glynn showed throughout the All-Ireland series that if a defence focuses all their efforts on Joe Canning or Cathal Mannion they will suffer.

Johnny Glynn

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13. Cathal Mannion (Galway)

There was much talk of Mannion going into the Championship and after three points against Dublin in the drawn game in Croker, it was clear that the Tribesmen were on to a good player. Ten minutes into the replay in Tullamore, it was clear this wasn’t the case. They were onto a great one. Three quick-fire goals for the 20 year-old and he was instantly a Galway legend. He ought to win Young Hurler of the Year.

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14. Seamus Callanan (Tipperary)

To score 3-9 in an All-Ireland semi-final and to end up on the losing side, Callanan must have ended up scratching his head. The Drom-Inch clubman was given special attention by Waterford in the Munster final, after an amazing display against Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds. An All Star Award should ensure that he does not finish 2015 with just the Munster medal and a set of smashed gnashers.

Seamus Callanan

 

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15. Maurice Shanahan (Waterford)

Many felt the injury to Pauric Mahony would damage Waterford’s chances in the championship, but Shanahan took the free-taking responsibilities in his stride. Man of the Match awards against Cork and Dublin were a testament to the Lismore man’s performances throughout the summer.

Maurice Shanahan

 

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Brian Barry, Pundit Arena.

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Listen to our dedicated GAA podcast, The 16th Man, below.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.

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