Sports Person of the Year 2016: Why Seamus Callanan deserves his place on the shortlist
THE SHORTLIST FOR RTÉ Sports Person of the Year is packed with worthy contenders. Today, Kevin O’Brien argues in favour of All-Ireland hurling winner, Seamus Callanan…
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
2016 was undoubtedly a great sporting year for Ireland, as we enjoyed success in soccer, rugby, MMA, rowing and sailing on the international stage.
When we look inward to our national sport, nobody exploded into life on the big day quite like Seamus Callanan. He, of course, wasn’t the only athlete to save his best performance until last, but Callanan finally crowned his body of work over the past three seasons with the holy grail.
A bit-part player when Tipperary last lifted the Liam MacCarthy in 2010, Callanan’s temperament for the big occasion was questioned inside his own county.
The Drom-Inch forward morphed into the Premier’s go-to attacker in the years since.
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This year Callanan was forced to adapt his game, as opponents focused on cutting out his goal-scoring threat. So Callanan was happy to rely on his point-scoring ability and he flourished, particularly when the right ball was played in.
His 13-point salvo in the final win over Kilkenny, including nine from play, was the finest free-scoring display by any GAA player this season and one of the greatest ever by any player in an All-Ireland final.
Only three players in the history have scored more in a hurling decider (Eddie Keher, Nicky English and Mick Ahern), and the last man to do so was English in 1989.
After being overlooked for Hurler of the Year for a third year running, Callanan deserves his place on this shortlist.
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