Waterford’s run to the Munster and All-Ireland SHC Finals in 2020 has seen the Déise men rewarded with three All Stars as the team of 2020 was announced this evening on RTE.
Not surprisingly All-Ireland champions Limerick stole the show with a record equalling nine awards.
Waterford’s three winners were, Clashmore-Kinsalebeg’s Tadhg de Burca at centre-back winning his third award, Fourmilewater’s Jamie Barron at midfield winning his second award and Ballysaggart’s Stephen Bennett at left corner forward winning his first award. In what is the 50th year of the prestigious awards scheme, it means that Waterford sharp-shooter Stephen Bennett is the 1500th All-Star award presented since the launch of the scheme back in 1971.
Limerick’s 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 that number of awards.
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.
Eoin Cody from Ballyhale Shamrocks is the PwC GAA/GPA Young hurler of the Year after his exploits with Kilkenny last season.
The team is completed by Daithí Burke of Galway, Clare’s Tony Kelly and Kilkenny’s TJ Reid.
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 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.
In addition to this there is yet another Limerick landmark in the selection of brothers Dan and Tom Morrissey. Brothers winning All-Stars is not rare – but siblings honoured in the same year is more unusual and an added 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 twice 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 bestowed on Galway’s Ollie and Joe Canning in 2009 and Tipp’s Ronan and Padraic Maher in 2016 and 2019.
Uachtarán CLG John Horan saluted the winners and said: “For the last 50 years the All-Stars has stood apart as something special in Irish sport, and our thanks to PwC for enabling us to continue this great tradition and particularly after the significance of staging the Championships last winter. Congratulations to all of the players, not only for their awards, but for the inspiration they are to their clubs and counties and it’s an especially great night for Gearóid, Brian, Eoin and Oisín and their families for being chosen by their peers for overall awards.”
Paul Flynn, GPA CEO, added: “Congratulations to the PwC All-Star hurling team of 2020. These selections always generate plenty of debate, but the 15 players selected certainly merit their inclusion for their outstanding performances. Congratulations too, to all the nominees.
“I want to pay tribute to the Gearóid and Eoin on being named PwC Hurler of the Year and PwC Young Hurler of the Year respectively. Similarly, I want to acknowledge Brian and Oisín on their awards as PwC Footballer of the Year and PwC Young Footballer of the Year. These awards are voted for by their fellow players which makes them even more special.”
Feargal O’Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC, said: “Everyone at PwC wishes the most heartfelt of congratulations to the winners of the 2020 PwC All Star Hurling Awards – each of them are deserving winners for everything they achieved during the season. In changed circumstances they proved their ability to adapt to produce outstanding displays for their teams. These awards are for individual performances, though each of the winners is a team player of the highest calibre.
“We also pay tribute to Brian Fenton and Gearóid Hegarty, the winners of the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Year Awards for football and hurling respectively. Both of them produced a string of fantastic performances and are worthy winners. These awards are due recognition for the outstanding seasons they had with the All-Ireland winners of Dublin in football and Limerick in hurling.
“There’s no doubting how tough 2020 was for many people and Gaelic Games were something that uplifted the whole country when it was really needed, with brilliant entertainment, outstanding individual displays and enthralling games. We congratulate all of the winners on the part they played in that and wish them well for the 2021 season.”
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.
PwC All-Stars Hurling 2020
(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)
After the football team of the year was announced on Friday, where Dublin won nine awards, Raheny’s midfield maestro Brian Fenton was named as the PwC GAA/GPA Footballer of the year with the Dublin star having previously won the top prize in 2018.
Oisín Mullin is the PwC GAA/GPA Young Footballer of the Year after the Kilmaine flier picked up an award in the football team announced on Friday.