It’s been an incredible championship. We’ve seen highs, lows, and some outstanding individual performances. With it’s fair share of shocks, it’s been a summer to remember – but which players have etched their name into memory?
Without further ado, here’s the top five contenders for this year’s Hurler of the Year
TJ Reid – Kilkenny
The Ballyhale man has hit his top form at just the right time for Brian Cody’s men, as they booked their place in the All-Ireland final. His creation of space has allowed others to reap the rewards, and although he hasn’t scored much from play, his 5-72 this year tells you all you need to know about his wonderful ability from the dead ball. He has been central to Kilkenny’s success down the years, this year being no different. Should the Cats triumph in Croke Park, it’s likely he will pick up the individual award for a second time.
Seamus Callanan – Tipperary
The Tipp star has hammered in seven goals in seven games this year, showing versatility and a real team-oriented approach by dropping deep into the half-forward line. He has been simply unmarkable at times, and his scoring consistency has been second to none. He was done out of the award in 2016, but should he replicate any of his top performances on the day that counts, a debut Hurler of the Year gong could well come his way.
Noel McGrath – Tipperary
The Loughmore man was fantastic in the Munster Championship, particularly in the game against Cork, and has got better and better as the Championship has progressed. His four points in the semi-final win over Wexford proved pivotal, and he has revitalised the Tipperary side on his remarkable comeback from a cancer diagnosis. His story is inspiring, and he has been one of the standout performers of the championship, an All-Star seems a formality, but he is Liam Sheedy’s go to guy when the going gets tough, and perhaps does not always get the recognition he is deserving of.
Patrick Horgan – Cork
The Rebels forward has been so electrifying in recent seasons that many have touted his name as the greatest forward to never lift the Liam McCarthy Cup. The Glen Rovers man smacked in 3-10 in his side’s game against Kilkenny, yet still somehow found himself on the losing side. The 31-year-old is now Cork’s all-time leading Championship scorer, and undeniably the most clinical forward in Ireland, give him a chance and he will rattle the net. His scoring has been off the charts this campaign, accounting for the vast majority of Rebel scores whilst linking up nicely with Conor Lehane and Alan Cadogan. Had Cork progressed to the last four, then Horgan may have been a shoo-in for the award, but it is likely out of his reach given his county’s underperformance on the collective.
Lee Chin – Wexford
The face of Wexford hurling, it was a memorable year for Chin as Wexford were Leinster champions as well as just missing out on the showdown for Liam McCarthy. He was unplayable in the All-Ireland semi against Tipperary, and top scored for Davy Fitzgerald’s men in every game this season. Registering 1-51 in the Championship and having driven on his teammates to achieve far more than many would’ve considered them capable of, his hat is certainly in the ring.
A lot depends on the All-Ireland final, but if bookmakers’ odds are anything to go by, it is TJ Reid’s prize to lose.