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GAA.ie Hurling team of the year   25/10/2012

This Friday 26th October, the GAA/GPA All-Star Hurling team, sponsored by Opel, which are chosen by two selection panels comprised of journalists, will be announced.

GAA.ie has named their own GAA.ie Hurling Team of the Year. This team is the choice of the GAA.ie editorial team, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the GAA.

Here is their team and their reasoning...

1. Anthony Nash (Cork)
Had a serious job to do to replace the injured Donal Óg Cusack in the Cork goal, but delivered as he helped the Rebels reach the All-Ireland semi-finals with a series of excellent displays. Didn't concede in either the quarter-final or semi-final, and made numerous top saves throughout the campaign.

2. Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)
One of the contenders for Hurler of the Year, Paul Murphy was Mr Consistency throughout the season for the Cats. An excellent defender who performed well in every game this summer, he saved his best performances for the All-Ireland finals.

3. J.J Delaney (Kilkenny)
Whenever Delaney wasn't at the edge of the Kilkenny square, such as in the Leinster final against Galway when he was injured, and at times in the first All-Ireland final when he was drawn away from there, Kilkenny looked very vulnerable. His consistent presence there was critical to Kilkenny's eventual success, and it's very hard to imagine a Kilkenny defence without him at the heart of it. 

4. Fergal Moore (Galway)
Galway's captain and a rock in their full-back line throughout the season. Not too many got the better of the Turloughmore man all year, as he consistently delivered committed but calm displays.

5. Tommy Walsh (Kilkenny)
Although his performances this season were below the remarkable standards he has set for himself over the last decade, Tommy Walsh was still probably the most impressive wing-back this season. Had a few ropey moments in the Leinster final and first All-Ireland final, but was excellent in the All-Ireland semi-final, came back strongly in the second half of the drawn game, and was as reliable as ever in the replay.

6. Brian Hogan (Kilkenny)
Kilkenny's rock. Although injury curtailed him somewhat in the early part of the season, Hogan was immense when it mattered most - in the drawn All-Ireland final, and in the replay. His performance in the second half of the drawn game will go down in hurling history. He dominated the aerial exchanges, and made many epic catches over the heads of Galway attackers, inspiring Kilkenny to turn the tide in the process.

7. Johnny Coen (Galway)
Although Coen wore number seven on his back, he played at corner back, or as a full-back-line sweeper for Galway, all season. However, in order to accommodate Fergal Moore in the team, we have named Coen in the half-back line. The young man from Loughrea was brilliant this season for Galway, with his catching skills probably the pick of his polished armoury of talents.

8. Kevin Moran (Waterford)
Although he wore No. 7 on his back for most of the championship, De La Salle's Kevin Moran formed one half of one of the most impressive midfield partnerships of the 2012 championship along with Stephen Molumphy. Moran was outstanding in the Déise's Munster semi-final defeat to Cork, having switched from half-back in the second quarter, and was named as the GAA/GPA Player of the Month for July.

9. Iarla Tannian (Galway)
As was said throughout the season, Tannian embodied the transformation of Galway hurling under Anthony Cunningham. Leaner, fitter and hungrier than ever before, Tannian was the driving force in a dynamic middle for Galway. Unlucky not to be nominated for Hurler of the Year.

10. David Burke (Galway)
He was rightly lauded for the six goals he scored over the course of Galway's memorable campaign, but the youngster contributed far more than just goals to his side's cause. From the championship opener against Westmeath, when he scored 2-1, Burke turned in a string of excellent showings in the half-forward line. His first half goal and stunning point in the Leinster final win over Kilkenny will surely make the end of season highlights reel.

11. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
For a guy who was unsure of his place going into the campaign, Reid finished the season as one of the Cats' top performers. Scored a brilliant goal in the win over Dublin, but was dropped for the All-Ireland quarter-final against Limerick. He replaced the injured Richie Power before half-time in Thurles and never looked back, hitting 2-2 in the semi-final win over Tipperary.

12. Pa Bourke (Tipperary)
Scored an average of nine points per game and finished as the fifth top scorer in the championship. An important season for the Thurles Sarsfield man, who proved he is far more than just a deadly free-taker with a crucial goal in the championship opener against Limerick and an impressive haul of 1-8 in the defeat to the Cats, when he was one of the few Premier County players to emerge from the game in credit.

13. Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny)
Where do you start? Nominated for Hurler of the Year, won a record ninth Celtic Cross on the playing field and made a compelling case for being considered the greatest of all time. Without him it is hard to believe Kilkenny would have won the All-Ireland. Refused to accept defeat in the doomed Leinster final against Galway and led the Cats' revival in the drawn All-Ireland final in a memorable shoot-out with Joe Canning.

14. Joe Canning (Galway)
Second to Shefflin in the scoring charts with a return of 2-50 over five games. Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to him is that he forces teams to devise their entire game strategies around stopping him. When he moves so fluidly between midfield and full-forward that is easier said than done. Spooked Kilkenny in the drawn game and showed tremendous nerve so send over that injury-time equaliser.

15. Patrick Horgan (Cork)
Developing into one of the real titans of the game. Singled out as a star in the making from an early age on Leeside, the Glen Rovers clubman is only now starting to realise his vast potential. In a Cork side short on experience, Horgan stepped up to the mark this year, contributing 1-42 over the course of the campaign.

= = 

This team is the choice of the GAA.ie editorial team, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the GAA.

The GAA/GPA All-Stars Football and Hurling teams, sponsored by Opel, which are chosen by two selection panels comprised of journalists, will be announced on Friday, October 26 at the annual banquet at the Convention Centre in Dublin. 

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