SELECTING the best 15 hurlers over the course of a season is never an easy task and it’s a rarity if a full seal of approval is given.
There will always be bones of contention with some of the selections but it’s the time of the year when it makes for healthy debate.
It goes without saying that the team that wins out, in the end, will gain the most places on the 15, the runners-up will be recognised too with the beaten teams in the two semi-finals may be getting a look in as well.
And unless some player does something extraordinary in the opening round, the final selection will be confined to the last four.
This year’s Cork County SHC went the way of Imokilly again, the divisional unit rubber-stamping their recent dominance and before pen is put to paper it’s an inevitability that players from that team are going to dominate the selection just as Tipperary did in the GAA All-Stars.
So, who would feature on the 15 if it was left to this observer to decide?
Here on Leeside a lot of clubs are blessed to have very good goalkeepers but in reaching the final again, Glen Rovers Cathal Hickey stands out, not for the first time it has to be said.
There was the issue of a short puckout that went astray in the county final which led to an Imokilly goal but the saves that he made in some of the Glen’s games were outstanding, particularly against Newtownshandrum when he was the difference between victory and defeat.
He has been the best club ‘keeper in Cork for a while now and he’s our number one.
Glen clubmate Rob Downey had an excellent year too in the famed jersey, particularly in the latter stages and he is going to be a big player for Cork going forward, he gets the number two jersey. He mostly featured in the half-back line but also did a fine job closer to goal marking Tim O'Mahony in the quarter-final.
At full-back, Imokilly’s Colm Barry hardly put a foot wrong all through the campaign, so much so that he has been brought into the Cork training group On the left you could not really look beyond another Imokilly player, Ger Millerick. His ability as a man0marker has been has been first class for some time now and nothing has changed this season.
We are going to recognise the Barrs for getting into the semi-final and the right half-back spot goes to Damien Cahalane.
Maybe not a natural position for him but in the ‘Barrs run to the last four he gave nothing short of the maximum.
Centre-back goes to the Glen’s Brian Moylan. His consistency in the Glen reaching four finals, winning two, cannot be questioned and he has been a great servant in Blackpool.
On the left, John Cronin was one of Imokilly’s best players over the season again, there should be no dissenting voices with his selection.
In the middle of the park we are opting for Bill Cooper and Darragh Fitzgibbon, the latter outstanding against the Glen down in Mallow when the newcomers took the city side to extra-time. He also swung their opener against Erin's Own in extra time.
Cooper had a splendid year for the champions, getting some big points too along the journey, no questions to be answered about him.
The half-forward line we are selecting has Seamus Harnedy on the 40, three times a winning Imokilly captain, he led by example all through.
Donal Cronin might be in the autumn of a great Glen career but he had another fine year for them and deserves recognition at number 10.
On the left we are going for Jamie Coughlan who put up a lot of scores for Newtown. He secured 3-3 against a gritty Newcestown team and delivered 0-13 against the Rockies.
He’s still one of the best club forwards about.
Two of the three full-forward slots didn’t cause too much bother with Patrick Horgan and Deccie Dalton getting the nod.
Horgan would get the vote in any team and Dalton posted some huge returns for the county champions.
The last position is not as easy to fill with a number of players coming into the thoughts.
Paudie O’Sullivan from Cloyne had a very good year, so too Brian Lawton and Tim O’Mahony.
It would not be a natural position for the latter two but those days are gone when a player had to be selected in the position that he played in.
All three should brook little argument but our choice is Paudie O’Sullivan.
So that’s our selection, 99 out of 100 will probably disagree but so what, no sleep will be lost over it!
TEAM: C Hickey (Glen); R Downey (Glen), C Barry (Imokilly), G Millerick (Imokilly); D Cahalane (Barrs), B Moylan (Glen), J Cronin (Imokilly); D Fitzgibbon (Charleville), B Cooper (Imokilly); D Cronin (Glen), S Harnedy (Imokilly), J Coughlan (Newtown); P Horgan (Glen), D Dalton (Imokilly), P O’Sullivan (Imokilly).