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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Ronan Maher can add Hurler of the Year to accolades

Kilkenny's TJ Reid can justify top-scorer favouritism

Tipperary's Ronan Maher in action against Killkenny
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Player specials

Joe Canning finally claimed his elusive All-Ireland medal in 2017 and with that came the Hurler of the Year accolade he richly deserved.

While forwards generally dominate this award, 2018 could be a different story with a young defender-midfielder creating headlines already in 2017.

At just 22 Ronan Maher already has five Tipperary club championships, a Munster club championship, a Munster and All-Ireland minor championship, two Munster senior championships, an All-Ireland senior championship, two Fitzgibbon Cup championships and an All-Star. Not a bad list of achievements.

Since making his senior debut in 2014, Maher has now secured his place on the Tipperary team and really rose to prominence while winning back-to-back Fitzgibbon Cups with Mary Immaculate College.

However in 2018 Maher has split his time between the half-back line and midfield and hit five points, including two magical sideline cuts, during their league semi-final win over Limerick.

While the league final didn’t go as planned, Maher is sure to have a massive impact on this championship, and has even taken the step of putting college and work on the back-burner as he takes up hurling full-time until he begins a postgraduate degree in September.

Another worth taking a chance on is Limerick midfielder Cian Lynch. Lynch has spent most of his intercounty career at half-forward but his move to midfield during the league has taken his hurling to the next level.

Lynch is well known for his outrageous skill levels, and if Limerick are to win an All-Ireland in 2018, he will be key to their efforts.

In the top-scorer betting, TJ Reid deserves to be the 5-2 favourite and may prove value at that price with league top-scorer Jason Forde perhaps sharing free-taking duties with Seamus Callanan.

Kilkenny also have the added bonus of games against Dublin and Offaly which will allow Reid to rack up a high early tally.

Tipperary goalkeeper Darragh Mooney was in fine form throughout the league this year, pulling off some top-class saves. He looks value for an All-Star at 7-2 with Tipperary fancied to go far.

TJ Reid top scorer
3pts 5-2 Ladbrokes
D Mooney to win an All-Star
2pts 7-2 BoyleSports
R Maher Hurler of the Year
0.5pt each-way 33-1 Paddy Power
C Lynch Hurler of the Year
0.5pt each-way 33-1 Paddy Power
J Forde Hurler of the Year
1pt each-way 14-1 Paddy Power
C Lynch to win an All-Star
1pt 8-1 BoyleSports

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Maher is sure to have a massive impact on this championship
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