As Liam McCarthy heads Wesht, and the Dubs once more get their hands on Sam Maguire, attention now turns to the nominations for the 2017 All Star Awards. At the helm is Cork’s own University College Cork, with 16 out of the 45 nominated having donned the skull and crossbones of UCC.
At the forefront is Aidan Harte. Once a UCC hurler, the Galway-born left half back is still reeling from the Tribesmen’s 2017 All Ireland Senior Hurling success. This is only another honour for the 29 year old, who also added an Allianz National League medal to his trophy cabinet, as well as a second Leinster Championship medal. Elsewhere Harte has also dominated domestically, through Gort’s 2011 and 2015 Galway Senior Hurling Championship wins.
From Leeside are seven names hoping for an All Star. Following on from Cork’s Munster Senior Hurling Championship success over Clare last July, Cork are represented by Anthony Nash, Alan Cadogan, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon Colm Spillane, Damien Cahalane and Conor Lehane. It will be an even more special ceremony for Mark Coleman, as the Blarney wing back has bagged himself a nomination for “Young Hurler of the Year.”
Over the border UCC add to an impressive run of nominations, with seven of the Waterford panel represented. Leading the line is 2015 Young Player of the Year Tadhg de Burca, who is followed by Darragh Fives, Conor Gleeson, Philip Mahony, Jamie Barron, Pauric Mahony and Kevin Moran. Waterford duo Kevin Moran and Jamie Barron have also earned themselves a shortlist for “Young Hurler of the Year” following the Deise’s run to the All-Ireland final.
In total, fifteen players on the Waterford panel have had connections to UCC across the years. It was also a unique treble for the college with the Deise, as captain Kevin Moran, manager Derek McGrath, and selector Eoin Murphy all came from UCC.
Rounding off an impressive round of nominations is 2013 All Ireland winner Shane O’Donnell. A household name across Clare, O’Donnell sent shockwaves through the headlines in 2013 when, at age 19, the full forward scored a hat trick to win the Banner county top honours at Croke Park.
Speaking on the nominations, UCC Gaelic Games Officer John Grainger was electric looking back at the season, commenting, “Having so many talented people connected with UCC honoured like this is something that the University should take great pride and satisfaction in, as all have made an immense contribution to sport in the College”
This round of nominations rounds off an impressive year for GAA hurling as the college reached the semi-finals of the 2017 Fitzgibbon Cup and the Irish Independent Senior Higher Education leagues.