Cork move on from All-Star snub with five young hurlers promoted

Tommy O'Connell, Sam Quirke, Ethan Twomey, Ciarán Joyce and Darragh Flynn have been called up by Kieran Kingston
Cork move on from All-Star snub with five young hurlers promoted

Tommy O'Connell has been promoted to the Cork senior squad along with four other young hurlers. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

THE Cork hurlers received the ultimate insult at the PwC hurling All-Stars, becoming the first All-Ireland runners-up not to receive an award.

The Rebels fired to fire in Croke Park on the biggest hurling day of the year, but their victories over Clare, Dublin and Kilkenny, especially as it was an extra-time epic, deserved recognition from the prestigious scheme.

It echoes 2007 when Graham Canty was Cork's only winner, after the All-Ireland final defeat to Kerry, while even when they lifted Sam Maguire in 2010 they were handed a paltry four prizes: Canty, Paudie Kissane, Aidan Walsh and Michael Shields.

Seán O'Donoghue was expected to be picked in the full-back line on this occasion, despite enduring a difficult All-Ireland final, while Seamus Harnedy and Jack O'Connor were the most viable options in attack. 

Seán O'Donoghue clears against Limerick. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Seán O'Donoghue clears against Limerick. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Patrick Horgan, Cork's last All-Star in 2019 when he picked up his fourth, also had a fine campaign and his omission provoked the most ire on social media, while Tim O'Mahony, Patrick Collins and Rob Downey were also impressive across the summer. 

Shane Barrett was nominated for Young Hurler of the Year, but that went to Kilkenny's Eoin Cody, the recipient in 2020 as well.

The All-Star committee decided to lean heavily into Limerick's season of domination on the field with 12 gongs. Previously nine was the most All-Stars in one season, achieved by the Kilkenny hurlers in 1983, 2000 and 2008, the Dublin footballers in 1977 and 2020, as well as Kerry in 1981, and of course Limerick last year.

The Treaty of course went unbeaten in the championship last summer and never looked like getting caught in the All-Ireland series, though it took a storming comeback to reel in Tipperary in the Munster final. 

Goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, full-back Dan Morrissey, and inside forward Aaron Gillane were the only Shannonsiders not included, making way for Kilkenny keeper Eoin Murphy, Waterford full-back Conor Prunty and Clare talisman Tony Kelly, handed the number 13 spot — had strong claims. Cian Lynch was handed his second Hurler of the Year award, matching Brian Corcoran, Brian Whelehan and DJ Carey, while Henry Shefflin was a three-time recipient.

Cork won't take part in the Munster Senior Hurling League in the New Year before the league starts in February, as they'll be on a team holiday following their All-Ireland final appearance last August. 

Blarney's Shane Barrett breaking between Bride Rovers' Jordan Mannix and Paddy O'Flynn at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Blarney's Shane Barrett breaking between Bride Rovers' Jordan Mannix and Paddy O'Flynn at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

All counties were allowed resume collective training this week, and there are a number of changes to Kieran Kingston's panel. Eoin Cadogan, Bill Cooper and Colm Spillane, due to injury issues, have retired. Blackrock's Tadhg Deasy and Daniel Meaney as well as Bill Hennessy, a county football champion with St Finbarr's this season, are also gone from the squad.

Midleton duo Tommy O'Connell and Sam Quirke have been called up, though they've a Munster club hurling semi-final against Kilmallock on Sunday to take care of first. They'll be joined by a trio of 19-year-olds: Ethan Twomey (St Finbarr’s), Darragh Flynn from Ballygiblin, who will also be in provincial club action at junior level, and Castlemartyr's Ciarán Joyce.

If they don't feature in senior championship for the Rebels, they'll all be eligible to help Cork defend the U20 All-Ireland crown under new manager Donal O'Mahony.

Seán Meehan was Cork's lone nominee for a football All-Star for his man-marking job on Kerry's David Clifford, who was picked for a third All-Star despite being held scoreless from play against the Rebels. 

In the final 15, Tyrone received eight awards, beaten All-Ireland finalists Mayo three, Kerry three and Dublin one.

2021 Hurling All-Star Team 

Goalkeeper: Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny).

Defenders: Seán Finn (Limerick), Conor Prunty (Waterford), Barry Nash (Limerick); Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick), Declan Hannon (Limerick), Kyle Hayes (Limerick).

Midfielders: William O’Donoghue (Limerick),  Darragh O’Donovan (Limerick).

Forwards: Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick), Cian Lynch (Limerick), Tom Morrissey (Limerick); Tony Kelly (Clare), Seamus Flanagan (Limerick), Peter Casey (Limerick).

2021 Football All-Star Team 

Goalkeeper: Niall Morgan (Tyrone).

Defenders: Pádraig Hampsey (Tyrone), Lee Keegan (Mayo), Tom O'Sullivan (Kerry); Conor Meyler (Tyrone), Peter Harte (Tyrone), Kieran McGeary (Tyrone).

Midfielders: Matthew Ruane (Mayo), Brian Kennedy (Tyrone).

Forwards: Niall Sludden (Tyrone), Paudie Clifford (Kerry), Darren McCurry (Tyrone); Ciarán Kilkenny (Dublin), Ryan O'Donoghue (Mayo), David Clifford (Kerry).

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