Assessing the Hurler of the Year Candidates prior to the All-Ireland final

We look at the bookies favourites for the Hurler of the Year award and weigh up their credentials ahead of the biggest game of the year.

The ultimate prize, the Liam MacCarthy, is on the line this Sunday as the country prepares for a rematch of last year’s final in the 2023 All-Ireland Senior Hurling final.

The battles have been drawn with Limerick looking for four on the trot while Kilkenny aim to stop them emulating their feat from a decade ago and end their eight year famine.

It appears a closer match on paper following an incredible championship campaign but Limerick are one more the favourites for Liam.

While the team prize is the overall accolade most desired, Sunday’s game will also go a long way in determining the Hurler of the Year award, a prize that has gone to Limerick four times in the last five years.

Below we look at the bookies favourites and weigh up their credentials ahead of the biggest game of the year.


Hurler of the Year Odds (Paddy Power)

  • Aaron Gillane (1/2)
  • Eoin Cody (7/2)
  • Darragh O’Donovan (8/1)
  • Kyle Hayes (10/1)
  • Tom Morrissey (16/1)
  • TJ Reid (20/1)
  • Barry Nash (25/1)
  • Diarmaid Byrnes (25/1)
  • Mikey Butler (25/1)
  • Shane O’Donnell (33/1)
  • Eoin Murphy (50/1)
  • Nickie Quaid (66/1)

#1 | Aaron Gillane (Limerick and Patrickswell)

4x All-Ireland titles, 5x Munster Titles, 3x All-Star (2019, ’20 & ’22)

For the second yer running, Aaron Gillane is the front runner for the Hurler of the Year award. But while he was 5/1 in 2022, he comes into the game at 1/2, almost unbackable. It has been a sensational year from the Patrickswell man and if he has a decent outing then he will be the third successive man from the club to win the award.

So far he has plundered 3-42, with 3-13 of that coming from open play.

11 June 2023; Aaron Gillane of Limerick celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the Munster GAA Hurling Championship Final match between Clare and Limerick at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

#2 | Eoin Cody (Kilkenny and Ballyhale Shamrocks)

3x Leinster titles, 2x Young Hurler of the Year (2020 & ’21)

While Gillane is out in front in the betting, if Eoin Cody is the man to lift the Liam MacCarthy, it would be hard to look past him for the award. The Ballyhale Shamrocks man is the championship’s top scorer from play with all of his 4-21 tally coming from open play.

He got the crucial goal against Clare and will beed to be kept quiet if Limerick are to win on Sunday.

#3 | Darragh O’Donovan (Limerick and Doon)

4x All-Ireland titles, 5x Munster Titles, All-Star (2021)

It has been a superbly consistent year for the Doon native who has been a mainstay in the middle third that has undergone plenty of changes so far this year. A second man of the match award in the semi-final has seen his odds drop to 10/1 and another big one in the final could see him pip his teammate.

Guaranteed All-Star regardless.

11 June 2023; Darragh O’Donovan of Limerick celebrates after the Munster GAA Hurling Championship Final match between Clare and Limerick at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by John Sheridan/Sportsfile

#4 | Kyle Hayes (Limerick and Kildimo Pallaskenry)

4x All-Ireland titles, 5x Munster Titles, 3x All-Star (2020, ’21 & ’22), Young Hurler of the Year (2018)

Hayes is a perennial contender for the Hurler of the Year award, finishing behind Cian Lynch two years ago, with three successive All-Star awards for the Kildimo Pallaskenry native. Has been restored to wing back and had his best game of the year against Galway last time out.

An outside shout to claim the top prize.

#5 | Tom Morrissey (Limerick and Ahane)

4x All-Ireland titles, 5x Munster Titles, 2x All-Star (2020 & ’21)

Arguably the most consistent Limerick player during the John Kiely era. Never seems to have a bad game and he found crucial scores when most needed this year. Not the flashiest player which often rules him out of these awards but one of the first names on the team sheet.

If he produces a final like he had in 2020 when he scored 0-5 and laid on as many, then he could shoot up the pecking order.

21 May 2023; Tom Morrissey of Limerick celebrates after scoring a late second half point during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 4 match between Tipperary and Limerick at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

#6 | TJ Reid (Kilkenny and Ballyhale Shamrocks)

7x All-Ireland titles, 11x Leinster Titles, 2015 Hurler of the Year, 6x All-Star (2012, ’14, ’15, ’19, ’20 & ’22)

Another who always seems to be in the hurler of the year mix despite the fact he is reaching the twilight of his career. No doubting that he is Kilkenny’s most valuable player and everything seems to revolve around the Ballyhale man.

Needs just five points to win a third scoring title where he is already the overall record holder. A hurler of the year award may just be out of reach but Reid will only care for ending an eight-year wait for a Liam MacCarthy title.

= #7 | Barry Nash (Limerick and South Liberties)

4x All-Ireland titles, 5x Munster Championship Titles, 2x All-Star (2021 & ’22)

A runner up in 2022, Nash has gone under the radar somewhat this year with his defensive qualities needed more than his attacking prowess. The converted full back has done admirably given his opposite man Sean Finn saw his season ended prematurely.

A crucial outlet for Limerick and his value could sky rocket with a big final.

= #7 | Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick and Patrickswell)

4x All-Ireland titles, 5x Munster Titles, 2022 Hurler of the Year, 3x All-Star (2020, ’21 & ’22)

Not out of the running to become the first man to retain his HOTY award but Byrnes is definitely an outside bet. Still it has been another stellar campaign for the Patrickswell man who became the highest scoring defender of all-time in the win over Cork.

At 25/1 he could be a sneaky shout given he had longish odds (9/2) this time last year.

28 May 2023; Diarmaid Byrnes of Limerick celebrates after the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 5 match between Limerick and Cork at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

#9 | Mikey Butler (Kilkenny and O’Loughlin Gaels)

2x Leinster titles, Young Hurler of the Year (2022)

The reigning Young Hurel of the Year has continued in 2023 where he left off in his maiden campaign as a key part of Derek Lyng’s side. For the second year running he put the shackles on Tony Kelly in Croke Park in helping the Cats past the Banner.

Looks to be out of the running for the HOTY award but that will mean little to him as he bids for a first All-Ireland title.

#10 | Shane O’Donnell (Clare and Eire Og)

1x All-Ireland title, 1x All-Star (2022)

The only man in the top ten that has seen his season come to an end, Shane O’Donnell’s chances at winning the award finish after Clare’s loss to Kilkenny. The fact he remains so high is a testament to an incredible season for the Eire Og man. Had Clare reached the decider, he would arguably be just behind Gillane in the pecking order.


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