Tipperary top All Star list
Centre-back Conor O’Mahony, who won his second award at wing-back last year, is the only Premier man to miss out as Tipp dominate the shortlist. They receive 14 nominations, three more than Kilkenny — whose five-in-a-row ambitions Tipp so resoundingly buried in the All-Ireland final.
Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin received his 10th successive nomination — despite the infamous cruciate injury that restricted his appearance in both the semi-final and final. The Ballyhale star is on course to surpass the record nine All Stars that he jointly holds with fellow county legend DJ Carey and Kerry footballer Pat Spillane.
The seven-time All-Ireland champion is one of 11 Kilkenny players nominated, which is just one less than last year — and includes an eighth successive nomination for wing-back star Tommy Walsh.
Beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists Waterford and Cork, like Galway, have six nominations each, with four of the Deise’s in defence. Ulster champions Antrim had only one nominee, in forward Liam Watson.
Just seven counties are represented and Galway fans may quibble about their share. Joe Canning is included, despite a less than sparkling summer by his stellar standards, yet there was no room for wing-back David Collins who was consistent all season after returning from a long injury lay-off.
Galway supporters may also wonder how goalkeeper Colm Callanan, one of the stars of their Division 1 league title, was not included — though there is no disputing the inclusion of Brendan Cummins, Donal Og Cusack and Clinton Hennessy as contenders for the No 1 jersey.
Offaly top-scorer Shane Dooley is his side’s only representative and, after getting several nominees last year when Alan McCrabbe made the final cut in midfield, the Dublin hurlers, like Wexford, failed to get a single nomination this time round.
One feature of this year’s selection is how many first-time nominees — 21 of the 45 selected — are included but that also reflects the youth of the Tipperary team in particular.
All-Ireland winning captain Eoin Kelly may be going for his sixth All Star and Lar Corbett — tipped to win Player of the Year — is in line for his second in-a-row, but Tipperary’s Michael Cahill, Gearoid Ryan and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher have all received nominations in their first senior championship seasons.
And though he only battled his way back off the bench in the late stages of Tipperary’s championship run, John O’Brien’s performances did enough to get him noticed.
The 2010 All Star hurling team will be revealed live on television on Friday, October 15, a day after the football winners are announced.
– Cliona Foley