I haven’t taken the time to write about the 2012 All Star awards, what with concentrating on the Blues this week and travelling to Liverpool – nope, not going to the derby. In fact I can think of fifty other weekends when I’d rather be here. When Waterford got only four nominations I thought that we’d get nothing, and I wouldn’t have had cause to complain. We won a grand total of three matches all year and while the entertainment value in our last game against Cork was high, last games being a strong indicator of All Star success (the flip side of that being early games are useless, Tiperary’s delightfully demented match with Cork a distant memory), we still lost and it surely wouldn’t be enough to garner the attention of the selectors, particularly after such an exciting and high profile end to the season between Galway and Kilkenny.
Yet here we are, gongs for John Mullane and Kevin Moran, and there is no problem justifying it for both of them. Thinking about it, there’ a lot of method in the All Stars selectors’ seeming madness. Why shouldn’t John Mullane, a man whose labouring in a team not up to his standards should not disguise his magnificence, not be as frequent a natural choice as Henry Shefflin? And why should there not be awards which acknowledge the overall contribution of players who, while never to be feted in the story of our games as Mullane and Shefflin will be, are among the best of their generation? Multiple Tipperary players will have chances in the future. Kevin Moran might not. As for Tipperary, the real story of the awards, last games really do count heavily against teams. The Munster Council, ever sensitive to slights against the province with the mostest, will be aghast at seeing our champions come up blank. But not only was there not one single Tipperary player who came out of their hammering at the hands of Kilkenny with any credit, several were severely diminished by their display that day. Had even one been chosen, people would wondered he managed after the way X, Y or Z from Kilkenny made them look like a slogger on a junior team.
In short, the selectors got it right this year. I shall now go and wash my mouth out with soap.