It's been about a month since Kilkenny did what Kilkenny do, and we're still trying to fill the void in our lives. The All-Stars will be distributed tonight after the consumption of steak and spuds in the bright building where the Queen played, but it's obvious to us that the All-Stars are insufficient as the sole means to commemorate the incredible variety of a summer of GAA. So without further ado, we give you the 2012 GAA Balls-Stars, honouring the best, the brightest and the weirdest from the season that was:
Paul Durcan (Donegal) and Paul Fitzgerald (Tipp) (tie): Two big fellas between the sticks. You could say they're redefining the position.
Seanie Johnston (Kildare): dual star, media pariah, slayer of the game, and ineffective sub. It would be a shame if he wasn't starting next season.
Peter Darragh Quinn: keeping Fermanagh club football on the nation's front pages.
Paul Galvin: Strong men also cry. Strong men also cry. Pretty decent season as well, all things considered.
Lee Chin: Chinese-Irishman established himself in the Wexford senior team. Weathered racist abuse. Kept playing. Seems like he should be bigger deal.
Mark McHugh: it's cool to love your dad.
Galway hurlers: for doing what the Tipp hurlers once did by filling us with wild hope that Kilkenny could be levelled and once and for all proven to be a mortal entity, not the indomitable, indefatigable force they actually are.
James Horan: We learned from Connacht final the man can chest-bump like it's nobody's business. Loves a baseball cap.
Full-kit female Waterford supporters: I noticed the fascinating trend of full-kit Waterford supporters when I saw them play Clare in Thurles in June. Long before full-kit wankers became a derogatory thing to be, there were loads of young Waterford women decked out in the blue and white kit from head to toe.
Banty: For being Banty. Every minute. Every day. It should not be a sackable offence.
TJ Reid: For being awesome at hurling.
Conor Mortimer: Use the force, Mort.
Joe Canning: I was in the Davin Stand about 8 rows from the posts. I saw his goal firsthand and what felt like pitch level. It remains one of the most memorable things I've ever witnessed in my life. It was perfectly obvious from the second he took that pass from Regan that he was going to score a goal yet the whole event of dodging and sidestepping the Kilkenny defence seemed to take about 30 seconds in real time. The pandemonium right afterwards was insane.
As for next summer? To quote the poet Bart Scott: 'Can't wait.'