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Best 15 hurlers you saw in the flesh



  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭✭ Jade Rotten Fluff

    Tommy Walsh is the best player to pick up a hurley.

    An all-star in all areas of the field. Would have won one in goal too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,875 ✭✭✭Rosita

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,787 ✭✭✭randd1

    While I started going to and seeing hurling in the 80's, and while there are plenty of great players from then to until now, I think over the past 20 years the speed of the game has moved on to the point that the players operating today may be more skilful but operate under much higher game pace and so stand out more in my lifetime.

    The best I've seen in the flesh, in order,

    (1) Joe Canning (2) Pauric Maher (3) Eoin Kelly (4) Tony Kelly (5) Ben O'Connor

    Outside of Kilkenny players, Canning is the best for me, had it all, pure artist. Maher was a colossus in all forms, and I think the big clearances and heavy hits covered over that he had outrageous skill and vision. Eoin Kelly carried Tipp for years, and was a magician to watch. Ditto Tony Kelly, a joy watch in the flesh, his first touch is supreme and may be the best point taker I've ever seen. Ben O'Connor was for me the jewel in the crown of a great Cork team, but unlike the way the team faded quickly, he remained their best player for a long time afterwards, and you didn't know what he would when he got the ball.

    But if we were allowed to pick from our own county, I'd have to change it to;

    (1) TJ Reid (2) JJ Delaney (3) Henry Shefflin (4) Joe Canning (5) Tommy Walsh

    For me, at their peak, Reid is the best player full stop, with Delaney just behind as the best defender to have played the game in terms of quality and skill. Shefflin was truly brilliant and ridiculously consistent, Canning edges out Walsh for skill but Walsh definitely top 5 for his all-round ability.

  • Registered Users Posts: 963 ✭✭✭PeggyShippen

    The likes of Joe Canning was a pure artist allright and Kelly. But neither were able to deliver in finals like Hegarty can. He's on a level on his own for his ability to perform massively on the biggest day consistently. Like Joe's scoring record in finals from play is poor enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,875 ✭✭✭Rosita

    Hegarty is different alright. When TJ Reid catches a high one (usually fouling in the process) he's often struggling to offload or gets closed down, with occasionally good scores. When Hegarty catches a high one he is devastating. Far more difficult to tie down than Reid or Canning.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,363 ✭✭✭MfMan

    Hegarty's scoring record from play in AI finals is more impressive than Canning's certainly, but doesn't take into account free-taking or sidelines (0-2 for Canning), or take into account clutch scores such as the late free he blasted to the net in 2018 or the free to send 2012 to a replay etc. The finals Canning played in were against better opposition (or maybe the teams were more evenly matched) than Limericks (and Hegarty didn't score in the 2018 final). Canning's record in Leinster finals is decent enough and he scored the last 5 points in Galway's 1-point victory over Tipp in the 2017 semi-final, including 3 superb ones from play, in what was Galway's tightest game that year.

    My point being that scores from play in an AI final isn't the only metric, it's more scores at times when scoring is difficult and at a premium that is important also.

  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭Mad about baa baas

    You really can't help the Kilkenny hatred can you..probably the only reason you haven't named a team is you might have to admit we had 2 good hurlers

    On tj vs hegarty..the ball that tj wins is completely different usually high long and coming down on 4/5 people..more often than not he cant get away due to being fouled himself and then converts the free ..hegarty gets himself into one on one and gets excellent supply ..

    Hegarty is an excellent hurler but him and tj have different roles and comparing them is difficult..once you look past the stripes on the Jersey

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,875 ✭✭✭Rosita

    Indeed. Everything IS about Kilkenny. Well spotted. I could mention Canning all day and "hatred" would not have to be mentioned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭Mad about baa baas are consistent if nothing else..that is the first negative comment you had about kilkenny..I'm raving

    De nile isn't only a river in Egypt


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,027 ✭✭✭evolvingtipperary101

    This thread was started to stop tension and yet here we are. It's supposed to be a thread about picking a team with only two players from any county and none from your own...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭Mad about baa baas

    You are 100pc correct..consider me tension free and back on track..

  • Registered Users Posts: 788 ✭✭✭lim4ev

    I think gearoid would be thrilled to be mentioned in the same sentence as tj, he really has deserved to be talked up lately considering his performances. remember though tj is 35 gearoid is 28 so he has a few more yrs of doing it yr in yr out like tj has for god knows how long

  • Registered Users Posts: 332 ✭✭Exiled1

    Mick Burns RIP Eire Óg Nenagh and Tipp. Now there was a class wing back who could play on any all time great team and wouldn't look out of place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,004 ✭✭✭cosatron

    here my go.

    1. fitzhenry, wexford
    2. Frank Lohan, clare
    3. JJ Delaney, kk
    4. Noel Connors, waterford
    5. D Byrnes lim
    6. Seanie McMahon clare
    7. John Gardiner cork
    8. Colin Lynch, clare
    9. Larry O'Gorman wexford
    10. Dan Shanahan, waterford
    11. Tj Ried, kk
    12. Geraroid Hegarty lim
    13. Joe Deane Cork
    14. John Leahy tipp
    15. Eoin Kelly tipp

  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭Ragwort and Stones

    I'm not going to name position wise. Just the best 15. Just to say John Mullane is highly rated by most but I found his striking off his left hand side a bit weak.

    1. Brian Whelehan
    2. Tommy Walsh
    3. JJ Delaney
    4. Brian Corcoran
    5. Nicky English
    6. John Fenton
    7. Henry Shefflin
    8. Brian Lohan
    9. DJ Carey
    10. Joe Canning
    11. John Troy
    12. Ken McGrath
    13. TJ Reid
    14. Joe Cooney
    15. Tony Keady

    A few honourable mentions.

    1. Eddie Keher (1975 and I was young, otherwise be in the 15)
    2. Tony Kelly
    3. Gearoid Hegarty
    4. Cian Lynch
    5. Ciaran Carey
    6. Martin Storey
    7. Damien Fitzhenry
    8. Eoin Murphy
    9. John Taylor (Laois)
    10. Joe Deane
    11. John Leahy

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,004 ✭✭✭cosatron

    but have you seen all these in the flesh. as the title of the thread states, ive no offaly player in my team as for some reason, i never seen the good offaly team, all the rest i remember going home from galway games, thinking he had some game.

  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭Ragwort and Stones

    Well bar being in the showers with them!! Reminds me of the Joe Lynch joke, if he caught his missus in bed with Christy Ring he'd go downstairs and make tae for him!

    It's going to inter county matches since 1975. There are a lot of people 80 year of age plus who have seen all the top hurlers from the late 40s up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,142 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    I remember seeing the 1972 railway cup final and the replay. Mick O Connell kicked a massive long range free to draw the first game. Munster won the replay easily.

    Admittedly some of the players I have seen only on TV playing. However I remember seeing John Fenton's wonder goal. When he hit a ball on the ground and scored from 50 yards out

    Jimmy Barry Murphy goal where he doubled on an overhead ball to score a goal against Galway saw it live on TV and it was Fenton who delivered in the ball

    Slava Ukrainii

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,044 ✭✭✭✭The_Kew_Tour

    Cork, Brian Corcoran and Ben O Connor

    Tipp, Eoin Kelly and Seanus Callanan

    Kilkenny Eddie Brennan and Tommy Walsh

    Limerick Ciaran Carey and Mark Foley

    Galway Joe Canning and Gerry Mcinernay

    Clare Brian Lohan

    Waterford Tony Browne

    Antrim Sambo

    Wexford Fitzhenry

    Offaly Johonny Pilkington

  • Registered Users Posts: 197 ✭✭shocs07

    Seriously don't know how John Troy is above the likes of Lynch, Hegarty or Kelly. 3 hurlers, one twice hurler of the year. Makes absolutely no sense

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  • Registered Users Posts: 593 ✭✭✭supernova5

    you surely have to mean Mullane's striking off his right? Jesus didn't he get at least 85% of his scores off his left

  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭Ragwort and Stones

    He did but he scudded more shot off his left side. I saw him play countless matches and speed meant he was on a lot of ball and got a lot of scores. But he was nowhere near the skill levels of Paul Flynn or Ken McGrath.

    I think the whole love me county stuff, the tears and the flamboyancy fooled a lot of people regarding his place at the very top table of hurlers. In my opinion. He doesn't belong in the same league as Eoin Kelly Tipp or hurlers with skill levels like that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭Ragwort and Stones

    John Troy was a genius in the 90s, ahead of his time in terms of skills. He wasn't beefed up to the hilt, some of the time he had a belly on him! But that's why I like him, everything he had was natural. Take away what modern training has done for certain hurlers and they wouldn't be too far ahead of Troy on the basics. Considering in the 90s you had a lot of hurlers who were cumbersome by today's standards.

    My 10 honourable mentions are pretty interchangeable with my top 15. My finishers if you like. Even at that great hurlers like Seanie McMahon, Liam Dunne etc have been left out. You could pick 4 or 5 great teams. I love Lynch, Hegarty and Kelly. Though think Kelly's free taking is lacking in comparison with Reid especially.

  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭Mad about baa baas

    In the all Ireland of 2008 when Waterford never got going. Mullane still got his 4/5 points from play

  • Registered Users Posts: 995 ✭✭✭Ragwort and Stones

    He got 3 points. Which was a good return. Just a personal thing with me, very good hurler but not in the real top tier.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,542 ✭✭✭billyhead

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,475 ✭✭✭flasher0030

    Based on that first 15, you are saying that nobody under the age of 35 currently playing the game is as good as those that have since retired. That doesn't make any sense, considering the achievements of Limerick and the outstanding performers on that team.

  • Registered Users Posts: 723 ✭✭✭MattressRick

    By today's standards 3 points is nearly expected in the first half from a forward but 15 years ago it was nearly man of the match stuff.

    I always thought mullane was one of the greats of the last 40 years. Seemed impossible to hold scoreless.

  • Registered Users Posts: 723 ✭✭✭MattressRick

    My own tuppence on that is that hurling has gotten much looser in the last few years. Players roam everywhere and a few of Hegartys scores in last year's final were in open country in his own half with the nearest man about a mile away. He obviously had thr accuracy to score them but when it's man to man he doesn't get those big returns. Fintan Burke went very tight and physical on him in last year's semi final and kept him scoreless.

    A great player Hegarty, no doubt. I think he'd have scored in finals in the last 15 years but I don't think he'd have scored much either with a Tommy Walsh up his hole all day.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,142 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    You also have to allow the change in ball technology. The ball nowadays is a faster lighter ball. It makes long range scores easier.

    People need to realize you can only pick a maximum of two per county. You also have to factor in there is only really a core of ten hurling teams and two of them Cork and Kilkenny have won over half the AI during the last fifty years and you can only pick four players from those two counties

    Slava Ukrainii