GAA Betting: Who Is Favourite To Win Hurler Of The Year?

GAA Betting: Who Is Favourite To Win Hurler Of The Year?
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Now that we are down to the business end of the 2022 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, betting sites are already starting to speculate on who will take home the game’s biggest individual honour - the Hurler of the Year award. 

With just three games remaining in the Championship the chances to stake a claim are very limited for the chasing pack and it is generally a market where knowledgeable GAA followers can take advantage of some generous prices. 

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With Clare, Limerick, Galway and Kilkenny all still left in the hunt, the candidates for the top gong remain plentiful. But, there is one clear favourite - who hails from the Banner County - leading the way at the moment. 

Let’s have a look at who is likely to score the Hurler of the Year award, according to the odds.

GAA Hurler Of The Year Odds

Tony Kelly7/4BoyleSports
Barry Nash6/1Paddy Power
Diarmuid Byrnes7/1Paddy Power
Aaron Gillane15/2Betfair
Gearoid Hegarty10/1Betfair
TJ Reid14/1William Hill
Conor Whelan20/1BoyleSports

Tremendous Tony Kelly Leading The Pack 

As long as he is not playing against your county, Tony Kelly is an utter joy for hurling fans to watch play the game. 

He performs with a child-like, reckless abandon that is hard not to love and is generally the best player on the park whenever he steps onto the field. 

His sideline to send this year’s Munster final into extra-time will live long in the memory of those fortunate enough to witness it, and he is Clare’s leading scorer in the Championship to date with a whopping 1-50 to his name. Adding another four-point haul to his name against Wexford in the All-Ireland quarter-final. 

It’s little wonder that the Ballyea man is heading the betting at 7/4 with GAA betting sites, but that price comes with a little warning.

He still needs an above average performance in the upcoming All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny if he is to secure the award. 

If he doesn't live up to expectations in that game and Clare get dumped out of the Championship by the Cats, then the judges may look elsewhere for a winner.  

Limerick Defensive Duo Next On The Hitlist 

Given that Limerick are favourites to take home the All-Ireland, it’s no shock to see a pair of Treaty County players next in the betting. 

Corner-back Barry Nash and wing-back Diarmaid Byrnes can be found at 6/1 and 7/1 respectively with Paddy Power

Nash has been particularly eye-catching in a position where he has often been overshadowed by his county colleague Sean Finn. 

Meanwhile, Byrnes has yet again not only been brilliant in general play, but has also been rock solid when it comes to his added duty of landing long rang frees for John Kiely’s men. Both of them will be hungry to get their hands on Galway's forwards in the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday, July 3

However, it must be pointed out that - once again - their hopes come with a caveat. The Hurler of the Year honour tends to be very forward-biased, and no defender has won the award since Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh did in 2009. 

Flying Forwards In With A Shout 

We have two former award winners amongst the next three positions in the betting when it comes to this year’s prize, in the form of Gearóid Hegarty (2020) and TJ Reid (2015). 

But, both of those top class operators are actually behind Limerick’s Aaron Gillane in the odds - the Patrickswell forward is a 15/2 shot with BoyleSports

The fact Gillane has never won the gong actually stands in his favour, as the judges tend to like to add a new face to the winner’s roster rather than giving it to someone who has previously won it. 

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That trend also extends to back-to-back victors, as no one has won it twice on the spin in the last four decades. 

Thankfully, for Hegarty’s chances his Limerick teammate Cian Lynch is the current holder of the award and that makes his 10/1 odds with Betfair worth consideration. 

As for Reid, he has long carried Kilkenny’s hopes on his shoulders since the great Henry Shefflin retired after the 2014 intercounty season. 

He has scored a whopping total of 2-46 so far in this season’s Championship, and if you fancy Liam MacCarthy to end up outside the Munster boundaries, he could be sneaky value at 14/1 with William Hill

Outside Sniffs 

Given that Galway’s Conor Cooney (100/1) is now the highest scoring player in the Championship (who’s county is still in the running) with 1-55 already in the bag, it’s somewhat surprising to see his namesake and teammate Conor Whelan ahead of him in the betting at 20/1.

However, Whelan put on a brilliant solo display to help the Tribesmen toss Cork out of the Championship in the recent All-Ireland quarter-final. Whelan bagged 1-02 on the day and was a thorn in the side of the Rebels all afternoon in Thurles. 

One suspects, despite all his attacking qualities, that Whelan will still need two massive games from now to bring the award west of the Shannon. But, if he produces a similar display to down the reigning All-Ireland champions Limerick, his odds will be well-and-truly slashed.  

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Elsewhere, Shane O'Donnell of Clare is an interesting shout at 20/1. The Éire Óg, Ennis player already has an All-Ireland in his back pocket, but he has been an utter revelation in an unfamiliar role at wing-forward this season. 

Finally, don’t sleep on the chances of Sean Finn (Limerick) at 20/1, Cathal Mannion (Galway) at 25/1 and Peter Duggan (Clare) at 33/1

While Limerick’s midfield powerhouse William O'Donoghue could yet come into the reckoning at 80/1