We’re down to the final two now as the All-Ireland Hurling Final is approaching on the 4th of September. Kilkenny reached the All-Ireland final with a win over Waterford after an exciting replay in Thurles, while their opponents on Sunday, Tipperary, reached the final having defeated Galway by just a single point.
Unlike the football equivalent this is much harder to pick. I have picked by top 6 players who I feel will be in the running for the award.
1. Austin Gleeson (Waterford) – Although Gleeson’s Waterford got knocked out in the semi-final to Kilkenny he is certainly in the reckoning for the award. Gleeson was outstanding for Waterford in all championship games. In the two games against Kilkenny Gleeson scored 0-05 and 1-02 respectively. At 7/2 Gleeson is worth a bet in my opinion.
2. Richie Hogan (Kilkenny) – According to the bookies Hogan is the clear favourite for the award. Hogan despite not starting the Leinster Final shown form in that second half and scored 0-04 from play, in the two semi-finals against Waterford Hogan again scored 0-08, with 0-04 coming in each game. He is an outstanding hurler and if he puts in another performance like the ones to date he will surely be walking away with the award. Hogan is priced at a short 11/8.
3. Padraig Maher (Tipperary) – The Thurles Sarsfield’s man is also in contention for the award. The wing back has been playing very well in defence. He is a real leader and leaves it all on the field. He is very consistent and never plays a bad game for Tipperary, at 6/1 Maher is also worth a bet.
4. Cathal Barrett (Tipperary) – Barrett has been impressive at corner back for the Premier. He is a very aggressive no nonsense defender and it’s great to see players playing with so much skill and passion. Barrett is currently priced at 12/1 to win the award.
5. Paul Murphy (Kilkenny) – Murphy like Barrett has been outstanding. He never plays a bad game for Kilkenny and always does the right thing with the ball. He is very consistent for Brian Cody and I have never seen him taken off in a game before which says a lot about the Danesfort man. Murphy is an outsider at 25/1, but a big game on Sunday will see his odds drop.
6. Seamus Callanan (Tipperary) – Has to be in the reckoning for the award. Although Callanan failed to score from play against Galway, one would feel he will have a massive game against Kilkenny. If he does have a massive game the Kilkenny defence will be in a lot of trouble. He is deadly accurate from placed balls and a huge tally on Sunday and a goal or two will certainly see him been nominated. Callanan is priced at a tasty 8/1.