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The 2015 August Allstar hurling awards go to...

Let the debate begin. Here are the front runners for the 2015 Allstar hurling awards ahead of this weekend’s first semi-final in Croke Park.

Will these four win Allstars by the end of the year? Source: INPHO

AND THEN THERE were four.

Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary and Galway are the quartet still in with a shout of lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup, and that means those four counties will command the lions share of the 2015 Allstar awards.

So let’s nail our colours to the mast and figure out the Allstar hurling team if it was picked now.

When we sat down last year to select an August Allstar side, it contained nine players from the eventual selection. That bar has been set.

Of course there’s a lot of hurling to be played between now and the end of the season, and that will largely influence the outcome.

There’ll be plenty of you that won’t agree with this side but that’s where the comments section comes in handy.

So here it is, The42′s August Allstar hurling team…

Goalkeeper

1. Colm Callanan (Galway)

A tight call here but Callanan hasn’t put a foot wrong and has only shipped three goals in five games. His puckouts have helped exploit Galway’s ball-winning advantage in the half-forward line and he made a smart save at a crucial stage against Cork last time out.

Honourable mentions go to…

The remaining three netminders in the championship – Eoin Murphy, Darren Gleeson and Stephen O’Keeffe – have all acquitted themselves well and will be in the running.

Colm Callanan Kinvara club man Colm Callanan Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Full-Back Line

2. Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)
3. Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)
4. Padraig Mannion (Galway)

Last year’s Young Hurler of the Year Cathal Barrett showed his invaluable defensive worth against Waterford while Paul Murphy is Kilkenny’s fulcrum at the back who is on course for a fourth Allstar award.

21 year-old Padraig Mannion has enjoyed a breakout season at the back for Galway.

Honourable mentions go to…

Waterford’s Shane Fives is unlucky to miss out after an excellent campaign and Noel Connors has displayed his exceptional man-marking abilities.

It’s not easy slotting in for JJ Delaney but Joey Holden has been a really solid operator. James Barry and Jackie Tyrrell have also looked strong.

Cathal Barrett with Stephen Bennett Cathal Barrett in action in the Munster hurling final Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Half-Back Line

5. Padraic Maher (Tipperary)
6. Tadhg De Búrca (Waterford)
7. Cillian Buckley (Kilkenny)

Pádraic Maher has elevated his game to another level, ruling the roost for Tipperary at the back in their Munster winning season. Tadhg De Búrca has been outstanding as a sweeper for Waterford, an essential part of their progress with his composure on the ball.

While Cillian Buckley is one of the reasons why Kilkenny are coping so well in the new era after last winter’s retirement wave.

Honourable mentions go to…

Austin Gleeson could make a case for inclusion in several sectors given his recent form for Waterford. The Kilkenny pair of Padraig Walsh and Kieran Joyce, along with Tipperary’s Kieran Bergin, may also push hard in this sector.

Tadhg de Burca Tadhg De Búrca in action against Dublin Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Midfield

8. Kevin Moran (Waterford)
9. Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny)

He holds the title of Waterford captain and Kevin Moran’s displays have embodied marvellous leadership. The De La Salle man looks set to add to his previous award in 2012.

Michael Fennelly is back to his explosive best for Kilkenny after a serious of injury setbacks.

Honourable mentions go to…

Conor Fogarty, James Woodlock, Jamie Barron and Andy Smith have all shone at various stages. A couple more big performances could push them into contention.

James Woodlock tackles Kevin Moran James Woodlock and Kevin Moran in opposition. Source: Cathal Noonan

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Half-Forward Line

10. Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
11. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
12. Jonathan Glynn (Galway)

Nicky English labelled Hogan and Reid this week as the best two hurlers currently in the country and their scintillating form this summer makes it easy to argue that case. Pushed to the half-forward line Hogan has flourished with 1-9 from two games while Reid has bagged 2-16 in the same time frame.

Colourful post-match TV interviews should not overshadow Jonathan Glynn’s powerful impact in Galway’s run this summer and he could land his maiden Allstar.

Honourable mentions go to…

Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher has been typically consistent for Tipperary while Jason Forde and Brendan Maher have also made important contributions. Cyril Donnellan’s return to fitness has been critical to Galway’s season.

TJ Reid, Richie Hogan and Brendan Maher TJ Reid, Richie Hogan and Brendan Maher in action in last year's hurling league final. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Full-Forward Line

13. John O’Dwyer (Tipperary)
14. Maurice Shanahan (Waterford)
15. Seamus Callanan (Tipperary)

If Reid and Hogan are the best two hurlers in the country, then O’Dwyer and Callanan are amongst their closest challengers. They’ve become the attacking lynchpins of the Tipperary side.

After winning their first Allstar awards last year, they have maintained their hot streak in their two 2015 championship outings with O’Dwyer firing 0-12 and Callanan bagging 2-11.

In the scoring stakes Maurice Shanahan eclipses them with 2-29 from three matches and he has emerged as Waterford’s attacking figurehead in style.

Maurice Shanahan celebrates after the game Maurice Shanahan celebrates after Waterford's win over Dublin Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Honourable mentions go to…

Joe Canning and Cathal Mannion were outstanding in Galway’s Leinster wins over Dublin and Laois, while Mannion sparkled last time out against Cork. Eoin Larkin has done his bit for the Kilkenny cause in another Leinster title-winning campaign.

And their counties may have exited the 2015 race but Seamus Harnedy and Mark Schutte did impress.

Yes of course, we know you don’t agree with us. Tell us where we’ve gone wrong below and who has been unfairly omitted.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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