Not to sound ungrateful, but I was struck by what GAA President Christy Cooney, who chaired both selection committees, said about Waterford’s three hurling All Stars being “recognition that the Munster championship still holds value.”
If so, how come Tony Browne didn’t make the cut, seeing as he was the outstanding defender, if not player, in the provincial championship? After all he won the Vodafone award for July based on his heroics against Cork (including the goal to force a draw, and a last-gasp face-block in the replay), not to mention his anchorman role against Clare.
The hurling fifteen was announced ‘live’ on the night, but picked in as many minutes in midweek, while the farcical football selection was debated over for more than two hours.
Cooney said the iománaíocht XV picked itself. And so Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh won his 8th All Star in succession — equalling Hendry Shefflin’s feat twelve months ago. But was he any better than fellow right half-back Browne this year?
Okay, as John Mullane, winning his third, like ‘Brick’, alongside Noel Connors’ first, said: “There were many years when Waterford had no-one even nominated, never mind winning awards.” Still, a case perhaps of the judging panel being unable to choose a side without Walsh in it.