Who are the leading contenders for the 2022 Hurler of the Year award?

We’re gearing up for Sunday’s final in Croke Park.

The Limerick and Kilkenny stars to date this season.
The Limerick and Kilkenny stars to date this season.
Image: INPHO

1. Aaron Gillane (Limerick – Patrickswell)

The Patrickswell man was in irresistible form against Galway, striking six points of the highest quality. His three points over the shoulder in the opening period were particularly devastating. In a campaign when Limerick have been without Peter Casey for most of the summer, Gillane has developed into the game’s most lethal marksman. He has 3-40 to his name so far in the championship and needs just two points in the final to become Limerick’s greatest ever scorer.

2. Adrian Mullen (Kilkenny – Ballyhale Shamrocks)

Mullen has steadily improved as the campaign has gone on. After the defeat to Wexford, Brian Cody switched the Ballyhale Shamrocks star from midfield to the forward line. He featured at centre-forward in the Leinster final and as a floating corner-forward against Clare, scoring nine points from play in his last two games. “He’s a talented player, he really is,” said Cody. “He’s a strong lad. His performances the last couple of days have been at a very, very good level for sure.”

diarmaid-byrnes-celebrates-after-the-game-aaron-gillane Diarmaid Byrnes celebrates Limerick's 2021 semi-final win with Aaron Gillane. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

3. Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick – Patrickswell)

Physically formidable and dominant under the high ball, Byrnes has been unerring from long-range frees. His six placed balls from distance were of the utmost important in the narrow defeat of Galway. A nailed on All-Star at wing-back, Byrnes is enjoying his best season to date for Limerick and at 28 is in his prime as an athlete. A key pillar of the Treaty defence. 

4. TJ Reid (Kilkenny – Ballyhale Shamrocks)

Reid was absent for Kilkenny’s league campaign due to injury and found himself replaced at half-time of their Leinster opener in Salthill after it flared up again. He uncharacteristically missed a couple of frees earlier in the championship, but was as accurate as ever in the Leinster final where he scored 0-12 from placed balls. Reid’s performance against Clare, when he added a 10-point haul and ruled the airwaves, will go down as one of his greatest. A big showing in the final could seal a second Hurler of the Year award, seven years after his first.

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tj-reid-with-barry-nash TJ Reid with Barry Nash. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

5. Barry Nash (Limerick – South Liberties)

Nash’s positioning and intelligent use of the ball make him an indefensible part of this Limerick team. So often the spare man in the full-back line, his ability to start attacks from deep makes Limerick tick. The converted forward showed his defensive qualities with a vital block on Fintan Burke that led to David Reidy’s go-ahead score in the 69th minute of the semi-final. Having gone from a bit-part player in 2018, Nash is a key reason behind Limerick’s lengthy unbeaten run in the championship.

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Kevin O'Brien

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