From the top: Noel Connors, Maurice Shanahan and Tadhg de Burca.
The 2015 GAA/GPA All-Star Hurling Team of the Year was announced this morning and it makes pleasant reading for Waterford GAA fans, with no less than three Déise men named in the team. They are Noel Connors of Passage at left corner-back, Tadhg de Burca of Clashmore/Kinsalebeg at centre-back and Lismore’s Maurice Shanahan at left corner-forward.
It is a second All-Star nod for Connors, while de Burca and Shanahan will pick up their first awards at the gala banquet at the Convention Centre in Dublin tomorrow (Friday) night. Tadhg de Burca is also nominated for the Young Hurler of the Year Award, which, along with the Hurler of the Year, will be announced live on RTE tomorrow night.
Not surprisingly Kilkenny lead the way with seven awards, while beaten All-Ireland finalists Galway have four players in the 15 and the team is completed by Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan.
In total there are seven first time recipients and five survivors from the 2014 team – with Séamus Callanan the only non-Kilkenny player to receive awards in both seasons.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Aogán Ó Fearghail congratulated the shortlisted 15. He said: “On behalf of the GAA I congratulate the hurlers who have made this year’s shortlist. These awards are earned on the back of sublime performances which are the by-product of incredible commitment to the game.”
“The recipients light up our summer and provide our young players and supporters with role models to aspire to. The awards are richly deserved as is the status that accompanies them.
“A special word of thanks also to Opel for their ongoing support of the awards.”
GPA Chief Executive Dessie Farrell added: “Congratulations to the GAA/GPA Hurling All-Stars sponsored by Opel who have helped light up the 2015 campaign.
“It is a very special award for the individual player and while the winners will be the first to acknowledge the collective role of their team mates, they can be very proud of their individual performances.
“We look forward to seeing who the players have chosen as the Hurler and Young Hurler of the Year. Thanks to our loyal sponsors Opel and MD Dave Sheeran for their outstanding backing of the scheme. Thanks to our selection committees and to all the county hurlers for their contribution to the 2015 season.”
Dave Sheeran MD Opel Ireland added: “As proud supporters of the sport and the official car partner of the GAA and GPA, it gives me great pleasure on behalf of Opel to acknowledge the outstanding individual contributions of this year’s Opel sponsored GAA/GPA Hurling All-Stars.
“The 2015 hurling championship season was full of high drama with an exhibition of outstanding individual performances. Congratulations to the 15 players whose commitment and talent makes them well-deserved recipients of this year’s award.”
The Football Selection will be announced live on RTÉ One television on Friday evening as will the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year winners in both codes.
2015 GAA GPA Hurling All-Stars sponsored by Opel
1. Colm Callanan (Galway)
2. Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)
3. Joey Holden (Kilkenny)
4. Noel Connors (Waterford)
5. Daithí Burke (Galway)
6. Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford)
7. Cillian Buckley (Kilkenny)
8. Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny)
9. David Burke (Galway)
10. Cathal Mannion (Galway)
11. Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
12. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
13. Ger Aylward (Kilkenny)
14. Séamus Callanan (Tipperary)
15. Maurice Shanahan (Waterford)