Cats dominance extends to All Stars list  

Thursday, 25 September 2008 23:25
Kilkenny’s all-conquering three in a row hurling team dominate this year’s Vodafone-sponsored GAA All Stars list, with a stunning 14 nominations.

Henry Shefflin is chasing his eighth award, which would bring him to within one off his county-man DJ Carey’s record haul of nine awards.

In all, eight counties are represented in the nominations, with League and Munster champions Tipperary enjoying the second highest number of nominees with nine.

Cork are rewarded for their nail-biting jousts with Clare, Galway, Tipperary and Kilkenny with seven nominations, while beaten All-Ireland finalists Waterford and Clare have five nominations each.

Offaly and Dublin both received two nominations, with Galway getting just one nominee in the form of Joe Canning.

Another milestone this year is the nomination of Richie Power for what would be his first award.

He will be hoping to join an elite club of one in terms of fathers and sons who have claimed hurling awards – the only combination so far to achieve this amazing double is fellow Kilkenny duo Fan and Philly Larkin.

Seven of last year’s winners are nominated again. They are Michael Kavanagh, Jackie Tyrrell, Tommy Walsh, Tony Browne, James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick, Henry Shefflin and Eddie Brennan.

The awards will take place in the CityWest Hotel on 17 October.

The county breakdown is: Kilkenny 14, Tipperary 9, Cork 7, Clare 5, Waterford 5, Offaly 2, Dublin 2 and Galway 1.

The GAA Hurling All Stars nominees for 2008 are:

Brendan Cummins (Tipperary) AS 00, 01, 03 Clinton Hennessy (Waterford) PJ Ryan (Kilkenny)

Full Backs
Michael Kavanagh (Kilkenny) AS 02, 03, 07 Noel Hickey (Kilkenny) AS 00, 03 Jackie Tyrrell (Kilkenny) AS 07 Paul Curran (Tipperary) Conor O’Brien (Tipperary) Shane O’Neill (Cork) Brian Murphy (Cork) AS 06 Gerry O’Grady (Clare) David Franks (Offaly)

Half Backs
Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny) AS 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 JJ Delaney (Kilkenny) AS 03, 04, 06 Brian Hogan (Kilkenny) Tony Browne (Waterford) AS 98, 06, 07 Conor O’Mahony (Tipperary) Shane Maher (Tipperary) John Gardiner (Cork) AS 05 Sean Óg Ó hAilpín (Cork) AS 03, 04, 05 Ronan Fallon (Dublin)

James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny) AS 06, 07 Derek Lyng (Kilkenny) AS 02, 03 Shane McGrath (Tipperary) Tom Kenny (Cork) Brian O’Connell (Clare) Colin Lynch (Clare) AS 97, 02

Half Forwards
Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny)
Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny) AS 00, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 Richie Power (Kilkenny) Ben O’Connor (Cork) AS 05 Cathal Naughton (Cork) Seamus Callinan (Tipperary) Lar Corbett (Tipperary) Jonathan Clancy (Clare) Brian Carroll (Offaly)

Full Forwards
Eddie Brennan (Kilkenny) AS 03, 06, 07
Aidan Fogarty (Kilkenny)
John Mullane (Waterford) AS 03
Eoin McGrath (Waterford)
Eoin Kelly (Waterford) AS 02
Joe Canning (Galway)
Eoin Kelly (Tipperary) AS 01, 02, 04, 05, 06 Niall Gilligan (Clare) AS 99 David O’Callaghan (Dublin)

Henry set to equal DJ record

By Jim O’Sullivan
HENRY SHEFFLIN is on target to equal DJ Carey’s all-time record of nine hurling All Stars.

Already a seven-time winner, he is one of 14 Kilkenny hurlers who have received nominations for the 2008 GAA All Star awards, sponsored by Vodafone.

Martin Comerford is the only member of the All-Ireland winning team to lose out.

Waterford’s Ken McGrath and Wexford goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry are among the most notable absentee from the list of 45 players released.

Notable for the fact that it includes seven members of last year’s All Star team, Galway’s Joe Canning is one of 15 players nominated for the first time. Others include Kilkenny centre-back Brian Hogan, Conor O’Mahony and Seamus Callinan from a group of nine Tipperary players, Shane O’Neill and Cathal Naughton (two of six from Cork) and Clare’s Brian O’Connell and Jonathan Clancy (also from six).

Additionally, the list features Offaly’s top scorer Brian Carroll (whose late father Pat won an award in 1981), David O’Callaghan from Dublin and the respective Waterford and Kilkenny goalkeepers, Clinton Hennessy and PJ Ryan. Dublin also have defender Ronan Fallon nominated for the second year in a row. Offaly, likewise, have two nominees, the other being defender David Franks who was nominated as far back as 2003.

Unusually for All-Ireland finalists, Waterford are confined to five nominees, four less than League champions Tipperary, who lost to them in the semi-final.

The third goalkeeper in the running – and the favourite for the position – is Brendan Cummins, who was last nominated in 2003 when he won the third of his awards. Conversely, it almost certainly marks the end of the road for James McGarry. Nominated seven times in eight years from 1999, he failed to pick up a single award, much to the disappointment (and annoyance) of Brian Cody and a lot of people in Kilkenny.

Shefflin is considered a virtual certainty to claim his eighth award, while team-mate Tommy Walsh (who has the distinction of being selected as a corner-back, wing-back, midfielder and wing-forward) can expect to be chosen for the sixth time when the team is announced live on RTÉ television on the night of October 17.

Interestingly, Clare and Kilkenny each have their regular midfielders nominated, with a strong possibility that the champions’ pairing of James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick and Derek Lyng will be selected. Joining Clare captain Brian O’Connell (seen as the stronger challenger to Lyng) is veteran Colin Lynch, an award-winner as far back as 1997.

Predictably, the two Eoin Kellys are nominated, which is noteworthy in the case of the Tipp star because he missed out last year.

They are among the nine players in contention for the three places in the full-forward line, with the Waterford star having been a nominee at midfield twelve months ago.

The county break-down is: Kilkenny 14, Tipperary nine, Cork and Clare six each, Waterford five, Offaly and Dublin two each, Galway one.

Kilkenny head list with 14

HURLING ALL STARS NOMINATIONS: KILKENNY’S MASTERY of hurling, confirmed earlier this month with the county’s first three-in-a-row in 95 years, was emphasised with the release of the nominations for this year’s GAA All Star hurling team, sponsored by Vodafone.

The All-Ireland champions have succeeded in having 14 of their players nominated for the annual awards, which will be announced next month. Last year’s captain Henry Shefflin is in line for his eighth All Star, including a record seventh in succession, which would move him within one of former team-mate DJ Carey’s all-time record of nine awards.

Nominated from Kilkenny are: PJ Ryan, Michael Kavanagh, Noel Hickey, Jackie Tyrrell, Tommy Walsh, JJ Delaney, Brian Hogan, James Fitzpatrick, Derek Lyng, Eoin Larkin, Henry Shefflin, Richie Power, Eddie Brennan, Aidan Fogarty.

The only one of the starting 15 to miss out is Martin Comerford, who had a difficult year culminating in having to go off in the All-Ireland final with a fractured tibia.

Right-wing back Tommy Walsh is in line to win a fifth successive award, a mark reached previously in the county by former goalkeeper Noel Skehan and of course Shefflin. Richie Power, nominated for what would be his first award, would if selected become part of the only the second father and son combination to both win All Stars. To date the only family with this distinction is the famous Kilkenny clan the Larkins, Fan and Philly.

All-Ireland finalists Waterford’s relatively modest return of five reflects the scale of their defeat in the final and it is Munster and NHL champions Tipperary who have secured the second highest number of nominations with nine.

Tipp’s Eoin Kelly would if selected be picking up his sixth award. Three of the nominees are of sufficiently veteran status to be in with a shout of winning All Stars in different decades. Clare’s Colin Lynch and Niall Gilligan were honoured in 1997 and ’99 respectively whereas Waterford’s Tony Browne, hurler of the year 10 seasons ago, picked up his first All Star in 1998.

Cork receive seven nominations and Clare pick up five. Eight counties are represented in the nominations with Dublin, corner forward David O’Callaghan and centre back Ronan Fallon, and Offaly, forward Brian Carroll and corner back David Franks, picking up two each. There are no nominees from Leinster finalists Wexford.

The football nominations showed the extent to which league form can become a forgotten criterion with winners Derry securing just one nomination. Their hurling counterparts Tipperary fared better but finalists Galway are restricted to just one award, the prodigious Joe Canning who in his first season as a senior hurler ended up as second highest scorer in the championship and with the top match scoring average of 0-13.

As in the football selection, the full forwards are the stronger line of the attack and a certain amount of rejigging has taken place with Tipperary’s Lar Corbett chosen in the half forwards despite playing most of his hurling on the inside line. Seven of last year’s winners are nominated: Michael Kavanagh, Jackie Tyrrell, Tommy Walsh, Tony Browne, James Fitzpatrick, Henry Shefflin and Eddie Brennan.

The awards banquet will take place in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel on Friday, October 17th.

The breakdown is: Kilkenny 14, Tipperary 9, Cork 7, Clare 5, Waterford 5, Offaly 2, Dublin 2 and Galway 1 and broken down on a provincial basis the 45 nominees divide as follows: Munster 26, Leinster 18 and Connacht one.

© 2008 The Irish Times

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