It's great to see Rebels in the mix for awards even if Patrick Horgan is the only guaranteed All-Star 

It's great to see Rebels in the mix for awards even if Patrick Horgan is the only guaranteed All-Star 
Cork's Patrick Horgan and Shane Fives of Waterford. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

FOR the first time in a few years, we have a live interest in the All-Stars, with Patrick Horgan an absolute banker to pick up his second in November, and Mark Coleman in the mix for ‘Young Hurler of the Year’.

Cork haven’t collected an award in either code since 2013, when Anthony Nash, Seamus Harnedy, and Horgan were rewarded for the Rebels’ run to the All-Ireland final.

Though Cork won Munster in 2014, after flopping in the All-Ireland, there were no All-Stars to show for it. Alan Cadogan was nominated last year, but missed out, and, apart from 2013, Ben O’Connor’s in 2008 and Anthony Nash’s in 2012 were the only All-Stars forthcoming after the golden days of 2003-‘06 concluded.

That’ll change here, with eight Cork nominees, though it remains to be seen if any Leesider, outside of Horgan, will get in. Coleman would certainly be our choice, but the feeling is Galway’s Padraig Mannion and Gearóid McInerney, as well as Tipp’s Pádraic Maher, are the favourites for the half-back line, in the scheme now sponsored by PwC.

Nash is in with a shout and was immense in Cork’s epic Munster campaign, but Waterford’s Stephen O’Keeffe also had a very solid year.

Charleville's Darragh Fitzgibbon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Charleville's Darragh Fitzgibbon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Colm Spillane, Damien Cahalane, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Conor Lehane, and Cadogan are the other Cork contenders, but none are likely to be called out for a gong on November 3. Being shortlisted will be a boost for Cork full-back, Cahalane, who was devastated after his dismissal in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Waterford.

The minors recently saw five of their line-up included in the team of the year: Sean O’Leary Hayes, James Keating, Daire Connery, Brian Roche and Brian Turnbull, who is recovering from a cruciate injury picked up training for his club, Douglas. Playmaker, Liam O’Shea, and man-marker, Conor O’Callaghan, would have been worthy of inclusion, too.

Mark Coleman with UCC. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Mark Coleman with UCC. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Interestingly, three of Cork’s All-Star candidates will line out for UCC in Sunday afternoon’s county quarter-final against Sars, as well as two from Waterford, Conor Gleeson and potential ‘Hurler of the Year’, Jamie Barron. Add in Rob O’Shea, a former Cork senior, and Tipperary powerhouse, Michael Breen, and it’s understandable why the College are being viewed as potential winners of the SHC, after their victory over Midleton last weekend.

The ‘Hurler of the Year’ will be hard to predict, with McInerney not considered and only Joe Canning eligible from Galway, along with Waterford’s Barron and Kevin Moran. The Déise’s Austin Gleeson won last year.

On the football front, Cork, unsurprisingly, didn’t get any All-Star nominations, but Sean Powter was put in the running for ‘Young Footballer of the Year’.

He won’t win it, as Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan is a lock, but it’ll give him, and the team, a small bit of a boost, when they gear up for 2017 under new manager, Ronan McCarthy.

Cork haven’t won a football All-Star since 2012, when Aidan Walsh and Colm O’Neill were honoured. It was the last time the Munster title was captured and the county looked like they were possible All-Ireland champions.

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