Senior Hurler & Club of the Year – Munster GAA Awards

Cork’s Mark Coleman has rounded off an impressive year by being selected as the 2017 Munster Senior Hurler of the Year. Kanturk’s marvellous success in Hurling and Football has earned them the Munster GAA Club of the Year accolade. Other awards announced were the Camogie player of the Year, Patrice Diggin from Kerry, Minor Hurler of the Year, Brian Turnbull (Cork) and Minor Footballer of the Year. The awards will be presented on Saturday night at a gala dinner in the Fota Island Resort Hotel in Cork where all the award winners for 2017 will be honoured.

This year’s winner of the Senior Hurler of the Year goes to Mark Coleman of Blarney and Cork whose potential has been evident since his teen’s days with his club, local post primary school and the Cork development squads. Even do he has been involved in Cork Minor & Under 21 Hurling panels over the last few years his potential hasn’t been in the spotlight due to the lack of success in those panels. It was very evident in this year’s Munster Senior and Under 21 Hurling Championships the potential that he has. His reading of the game, distribution of the ball to the forwards, point scoring and his sublime sideline cuts were a joy to watch. His potential was recognised later in the year when he was selected on the PwC All-Star Hurling team for 2017 and was one of the nominee’s for young hurler of the year.

While thirteen is unlucky for some, the odyssey of 2017 saw Kanturk victorious in as many games as a county championship double and Munster title were secured. Kanturk defeated Mitchestown, Rockchapel, Glanworth, and Kildorrery to book a place in the Cork IFC final on the 29th of October where Mitchelstown provided the opposition. Trailing 011 to 0-9 entering the final quarter, Kanturk kicked five unanswered points to secure the title 0-14 to 0-13.

In hurling victory over Castlelyons, Charlevile twice and Ballinhassig saw Kanturk reach the decider against near neighbours Mallow. Under the Pairc Ui Rinn lights on October 7th, Kanturk reached the holy grail of Cork Premier IHC success on a 0-17 to 1-12 score line. In the Munster campaign St Mary’s (Clonmel) & Ballyduff (Kerry) were overcome before Clare champions Kilmaley were defeated in the final on November 19th as Kanturk added the provincial title to their county double by 1-23 to 0-25. A once in a life time season was capped with All Ireland IHC QF victory over Kilburn Gaels in Ruislip on Sunday last completing a 14-game unbeaten run in 2017.

Patrice Diggin is the back bone of the Kerry team. Her contribution on the field is immense – keeping the scoreboard ticking over, defending – her presence has proved crucial in tight encounters. Her display in the Junior Final against Cork in May saw her account for 13 of Kerry’s 14-point haul earning her the Player of the Game accolade. Whether it’s Club, County, Province or College, she is a dynamo on the field. In February she captained UL Ashbourne Final victory; with Clanmaurice she added the Junior Club Championship title to her honours. The schedule of an Inter-County & Club player is heavy, with little time left for anything else. Patrice makes that time for the development of Camogie in Kerry, and is a familiar figure to all involved in Camogie in the Kingdom, promoting the game while her passion for the sport is a joy to behold.

This year’s winner of the Minor Hurler of the Year goes to Brian Turnbull of Douglas and Cork, a player who has shown great potential since his teen’s days with his club, local post primary school and the Cork development squads, some of which we saw this year throughout the Munster & All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship, particularly in the Munster Semi-Final replay and All-Ireland Semi-Final. He has helped his club to numerous championship titles since his underage days. His point taking from play & frees are clearly trait of a potential great forward some of which we saw this year, but no doubt he will see a lot more of this player in years ahead at club and inter-county level. His potential was recognised later in the year when he was selected as the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Hurler of the Year.

What another remarkable year it has been for the Fossa Clubman adding second Munster and All-Ireland Minor medals to his growing collection. Kerry’s ambitions for a fifth provincial title on the trot hinged on a winner takes all semi-final meeting with old rivals Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn on the 10th of May. The home side struck for an early goal but team captain David Clifford soon found his range turning in a virtuoso performance and scoring 2-8 in the process, 2-5 of that tally from play. The scoring was more evenly spread in the final as Clare were put to the sword but the IT Tralee student still helped himself to 6 points in a Man of the Match performance. In the All-Ireland series he scored a combined total of 1-19 against Louth and Cavan before unleashing all his talents on the biggest day of all – Croke Park on All-Ireland Final day. A record haul of 4-4 in another Man of the Match display put an end to Derry’s hopes of an upset as Kerry claimed an unprecedented 4-in-a-row of titles. In all, he scored a remarkable 10-61 (10-50 from play) over two championship seasons in the Minor grade!