ST PAT’S Palmerstown’s Liam Rushe was one of just three previous winners to land a 2013 hurling All-Star as this year’s selection had a distinctly youthful look to it.
Rushe, along with Peter Kelly and Danny Sutcliffe, was among a trio of Dublin hurlers to land the prestigious annual honour after a breakthrough year for the county, winning the Leinster championship for the first time in 52 years.
Rushe starred in a predominantly centre-back role in an epic provincial campaign, overcoming Wexford and Kilkenny both after replays while they saw off Galway with a bit to spare in the final.
This year’s All-Star award adds to the one he landed in 2011 when he was also named Young Player of the Year.
On the club front, meanwhile, St Pat’s had an incredible year, winning AHL Division 2, with three rounds of games remaining, to reach the top tier for the first time.
Similarly, the club made it through the group phases of the Dublin senior hurling championship and into the quarter-finals of that event, another first, to show the rise of the Glenauline club on all fronts.
Despite being just 23, however, Rushe could be considered one of the elder statesmen in an All-Star side laden with eight Clare men.
In all, there were a total of 12 first time recipients reflecting the wind of change that blew through hurling in 2013.
No less than five Under-21 hurlers were included in the All-Star selection, with Sutcliffe among them as the county enjoyed its best-ever representation.
GAA President Liam O’Neill said of the honours list: “This year’s hurling selection was of particular interest to hurling followers everywhere after the incredible year we had.
“The players who have made the final cut can take particular satisfaction on doing so in a season of stiff competition as new teams and players emerged – something evidenced in the final make-up of the team.
“I congratulate all 15 players – and those who were nominated too – as their inclusion further underlines their roles as excellent ambassadors through their commitment and dedication to the pursuit of excellence.”
GPA chief executive officer Dessie Farrell added: “It was a truly exceptional hurling championship and the individual players honoured today can be very proud of their contribution to that season.
“Unsurprisingly, Clare dominate the selection after their epic journey this summer which brought so much skill, colour, drama and excitement to the game.”