Limerick’s status as the current benchmark in hurling excellence has been underlined with their domination of the final 15 in the PwC Hurling All-Stars for 2020.
Eoin Cody from Ballyhale Shamrocks is the Young Hurler of the Year after his exploits with Kilkenny last season while his club and county teammate TJ Reid has received his fifth All-Star award. Reid’s status among the game’s greats is in no doubt while 20-year-old Cody will be looking to add to his cabinet in the coming years after provincial and club success in 2020.
Reid and Cody’s achievements represent further success for their club Ballyhale Shamrocks as both players, who were key members of the 2020 All-Ireland club winning side, are rewarded for their impressive individual seasons.
On top of that, Limerick’s towering wing-forward Gearóid Hegarty has been chosen by his peers as the PwC GAA/GPA Hurler of the Year with the St Patrick’s star claiming his first award.
Raheny’s midfield maestro Brian Fenton is PwC GAA/GPA Footballer of the year with the Dublin star previously claiming the top prize in 2018. Oisín Mullin is the PwC GAA/GPA Young Footballer of the Year after the Kilmaine flier picked up an All-Star in the football team announced on Friday.
Team of the Year
After their clean sweep of all major trophies last season, the All-Ireland champions Limerick were rewarded with nine places on the star-studded final team – a record-equaling amount, eclipsing the six awards the Treaty County won in their 2018 All-Ireland winning campaign.
Nine is the highest number of PwC All-Stars won by any team.
It not only sees Limerick match their football counterparts Dublin in 2020 – but puts them in an exclusive group with the great Kilkenny hurling teams of 1983, 2000 and 2008 and iconic Dublin and Kerry football teams of 1977 and 1981 as the only other teams to claim as many awards.
In what is the 50th year of the prestigious awards ceremony, Waterford sharp-shooter Stephen Bennett is the 1500th All-Star award winner since the launch of the awards that aims to celebrate the best that the sport has to offer back in 1971.
Bennett is joined by Déise colleagues Tadhg de Búrca and Jamie Barron in the team. Galway’s defensive rock Daithí Burke is honoured for the fifth time in defence, while the prolific Clare ace Tony Kelly picks up a second career award.
Another notable piece of history is made in the choice for goalkeeper.
Nickie Quaid’s selection sees the Limerick custodian follow in the footsteps of his late father Tommy who was also a goalkeeping hero with Limerick and an All-Star recipient in 1992. It is the fourth time that a father and son duo have been honoured in hurling – following Tipp’s Ken and Brian Hogan, Richie Power senior and junior in Kilkenny and ‘Fan’ and Philly Larkin from Kilkenny.
Congrats Nickie – PwC All Star goalkeeper 2020. Long time since I first photographed him! 13 March ‘99; Nickie Quaid awaits developments in the cold, during the Under-12 International Challenge Match, between Scotland and Ireland, at Bught Park, Inverness, Scotland. #PwCAllStars pic.twitter.com/p2GxidLtXN
— Ray McManus (@Sportsfileray) February 20, 2021
In addition, there is yet another Limerick landmark in the selection of brothers Dan and Tom Morrissey. Brothers winning All-Stars is not rare – but siblings being honoured in the same year is unusual and is an astonishing feat for the Ahane duo.
Wexford’s Martin and John Quigley in 1974 were the first set of brothers to be picked on the same hurling team – followed by Kilkenny’s John and Ger Henderson in 1983, and Ger and Liam Fennelly, also in 1983.
Tipp’s Conal and Cormac Bonnar were both honoured in the same year twice – in 1989 and 1991. Billy and Johnny Dooley also shared the honours on two separate occasions in 1994 and 1995.
Tipp’s Paul and Eoin Kelly featured on the 2002 team and Cork’s Sean Óg and Setanta Ó hAilpín were there in 2003, and Ben and Jerry O’Connor featured in 2005. More recently it is an honour that was bestowed upon Galway’s Ollie and Joe Canning in 2009 and Tipp’s Ronan and Pádraic Maher in 2016 and 2019.
PwC All-Stars Hurling Team 2020
The PwC All-Stars team was chosen by a group of 16 Gaelic Games correspondents from across print, radio, tv and digital media. The PwC GAA/GPA Player and Young Player awards were chosen from votes cast by the players themselves.
Here is the 2020 @PwCIreland All-Stars Hurling Team! ⭐
— The GAA (@officialgaa) February 20, 2021
(previous awards in brackets)
1. Nickie Quaid (Limerick)
2. Seán Finn (Limerick) (2018, 2019)
3. Dan Morrissey (Limerick) (2018)
4. Daithí Burke (Galway) (2015, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18)
5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick)
6. Tadhg de Búrca (Waterford) (2015)
7. Kyle Hayes (Limerick)
8. Jamie Barron (Waterford) (2016, ‘17)
9. Tony Kelly (Clare) (2013)
10. Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick)
11. Cian Lynch (Limerick) (2018)
12. Tom Morrissey (Limerick)
13. Aaron Gillane (Limerick) (2019)
14. TJ Reid (Kilkenny) (2012, ‘14, ‘15, ‘19)
15. Stephen Bennett (Waterford)
Hurler of the Year – Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick)
Young Hurler of the Year – Eoin Cody (Kilkenny)
Footballer of the Year – Brian Fenton (Dublin)
Young Footballer of the Year – Oisín Mullin (Mayo)