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missing out Limerick boss John Kiely gives his verdict on Cork’s All Star snub

All of the middle eight positions are snapped up by Limerick men.

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Sean Finn of Limerick in action against Patrick Horgan of Cork during last year' All-Ireland hurling final

Sean Finn of Limerick in action against Patrick Horgan of Cork during last year' All-Ireland hurling final

Sean Finn of Limerick in action against Patrick Horgan of Cork during last year' All-Ireland hurling final

Like the various Covid regulations we’ve seen over the past 18 months, there’s no one strand of logic that can be pulled through this, or any All Star selection.

At times, selectors go to great lengths to accommodate players, shifting them through the lines. On other occasions, it’s more along the lines of tough luck.

Cork, unwanted history makers here as the first finalists in the 50 year history of the scheme not to receive an award, are certainly in the latter category.

As they absorbed the news on Leeside, some were quick to point out that no Cork player had been on the wrong side of history before in terms of selections.

When they won league and All-Ireland football titles in 2010, they picked up just four awards - the smallest representation since Offaly in 1971, Dublin in 1983 and Down in 1991. And notably that same year no Rebel forward made the selection.

And this morning one observer asked if we were to take from the hurling selection that Cork were the worst team to reach a final in the half century since the All Stars began.

After all, no one has ever reached an All-Ireland final before - in either code - and failed to pick up a single All Star. Only Offaly and Waterford, the beaten hurling finalists in 2000 and 2008 respectively, have come close when picking up one award through Joe Dooley and Eoin Kelly.

Even John Kiely, manager of the Limerick machine that picked up a record breaking 12 awards, acknowledged Cork’s omission.

“It is unusual, it has to be said,” Kiely agreed. “For a team to be in an All-Ireland final and not to be acknowledged with one, or two or three or four or five, whatever it might be. Usually, you'd have multiples of them. But our focus is on our own group and the acknowledgement of their work and their achievement and their performance levels."

If they are sore on Leeside it is understandable. Coming into the final they had several contenders, not least Patrick Horgan, Jack O’Connor and Sean O’Donoghue. O’Connor was edged out after struggling for traction in the final. O’Donoghue faced stiff competition in defence. Sean Finn always looked nailed on and Barry Nash’s performances were hard to argue with.

There’s a strong case for Horgan but once Tony Kelly was moved out of midfield (where he was nominated), that put paid to his hopes. Kelly’s 1-12 against Waterford, 1-11 against Cork, 1-9 against Tipperary were enough for him to pick up a third award. Horgan has a case, with Darragh O'Donovan the most likely to lose out in that instance, but it's difficult to call it an injustice.

And while the All Stars is an imperfect scheme, it’s largely in line with the other teams selected. The Sunday Game panel’s selection included just one Cork man in O’Connor along with 12 Limerick players. A public poll on RTE.ie which saw more than 3,000 votes had 14 Limerick players selected in their team of the year.

So it’s much more likely that this selection is a snapshot in time, and one that reflects just how far ahead of the chasing pack Limerick are and how impressive they have been.

They won each of their game by an average of ten points over the summer. All of the middle eight positions are snapped up by Limerick men.

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They are already odds on for the 2022 title, well clear of second favourites Galway at 8/1. Things can change quickly but right now, this is Limerick’s world. We all just live in it.

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