Baller All-Star Hurling Team

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Waterford)

Nickie Quaid is unlucky to lose out here but his performance in the final swung it in O’Keeffe’s favour. The Ballygunner shot-stopper has had a brilliant season. His double-save in the first half of the All-Ireland final was remarkable. But that was not a one-off; he brilliantly denied Aaron Cunningham late in the win over Clare. Overall his puck-outs were fantastic, and he edges it ahead of Quaid

2. Sean Finn (Limerick)

The best corner back in the game,he picks up the oppositions main man in every match and locks him down. He is comfortable on the ball, and is John Kiely’s go to man in defence. A consistently excellent defender, he is one of the first names on the Limerick team-sheet. An automatic All-Star.

3. Dan Morrissey (Limerick)

Conor Prunty had a brilliant year. But he got a tough time off Aron Shanagher and Aaron Gillane Dan Morrissey could not have done much more across the season. There were question-marks about the Limerick full-back line after losing Mike Casey and Richie English, but Morrissey filled that void. They only conceded three goals across five championship games. Morrissey played in what is a specialist position as if he has hurled there all his life. He was outstanding.

4. Daithi Burke (Galway)

Daithi Burke came back from injury this year like he never left he  delivered big performances when Galway needed them. He was one of the reasons Galway got so close to Limerick,a rock at the back.

5. Calum Lyons (WateLyons did not have a vintage final. But his defiance across the season was something to behold. He led the Déise charge from the off, scoring 1-2 against Cork in the Munster semi-final.

5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick)

Byrnes had to be in this team,the Patrickswell player was man of the match in the All-Ireland semi-final and he scored 0-12 across the championship,he had real consistency right across the season.

6.Tadgh De Burca (Waterford)

Arguably the best no.6 in the game right now,he suffered a cruel injury after 20 minutes in the final but his performances in getting Waterford so far were outstanding always available for the ball and distributing it superbly along with protecting his full backline he deserves his place at centre back.

7. Kyle Hayes (Limerick)

The 2018 Young Hurler of the Year and man of the match in the All-Ireland final two years ago at centre forward,this year he was equally as impressive from wing-back his physicality and athleticism are second to none he was utterly dominant this year and will only get better.

8. Tony Kelly (Clare)

In the absence of John Conlon, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin and Podge Collins, Clare were always going to be up against it. They needed someone to step up, and boy did Tony Kelly.the Wexford performance was perhaps the standout. He got a few scores that day that were beyond outrageous.The Ballyea man was unmarkable for the first three games. His injury was a massive blow against Waterford, but he soldiered on. He was hobbling around in a boot for a week afterwards. But he still got a few eye-catching scores, and worked hard for the team that day in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.He is a certainty to be included on this team.

9. Cian Lynch (Limerick)

. Michael Breen was impressive for Tipperary, while Jamie Barron put in big displays against Clare and Kilkenny.But Lynch edges it.The Patrickswell man was brilliant the first day against Clare, but upped his levels against Tipperary. It was a genius move by Kiely to move him into centre-forward; a curve-ball which Liam Sheedy never saw coming.

10. Gearoid Hegarty (Limerick)

Hegarty is the Hurler of the Year-elect, and there won’t be much debate about that. He was favourite for the award going into the final, and scored 0-7 from play against the Déise to seal it.There’s been so much talk about his work-rate, physicality and ball-winning ability. But his stick-manship is something else. The ease at which he operates, strolling around Croke Park as if he has all the time in the world, doesn’t happen by accident.He had a great year. Hats off.

11. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)

The Ballyhale marksman was brilliant in Kilkenny’s three matches, scoring 3-34, 3-6 of which came from play.He turned the Leinster final on its head, and stood up against Waterford and kept the Cats in the match.If a team gets to an All-Ireland semi-final, someone has delivered the goods along the way. From a Kilkenny perspective, that was TJ Reid.

12. Tom Morrissey (Limerick)

He probably doesn’t get credit for the little things he does, small passes that knit everything together. He scored five points from play in the decider, but that was only the top-line stat for his performance. His off-the-ball contributions are up there with the best. He’s not afraid to roll his sleeves up and get his hands dirty.When things weren’t going well against Galway in the early stages, he was a player who put his hand up and got the scores at the right time to keep it moving in the right direction.

13. Aaron Gillane (Limerick)

So important to the way Limerick play he leads the line perfectly his quality of movement is top class,an injury doubt coming into the final but he shrugged it off to score 0-4 from play and 0-10 in total,the third Patrickswell man on the team.

14. Stephen Bennett (Waterford)

Another automatic selection. With Pauric Mahony ruled out for the year, it was questioned if Waterford had the fire-power to survive in this championship,but Bennett showed real leadership.he took the fight to Kilkenny, and was excellent in the Munster final.Things didn’t go as well for him against Limerick on the second time of asking, but he never gave up. He can hold his head up high after a stellar season.He will probably be nominated for Hurler of the Year, and rightly so.

15. Dessie Hutchinson (Waterford)

The former Brighton soccer player we seen what he could do when he came onto the scene with Ballygunner and he carried that into county level this year his performance against clare was outstanding,a deserving all-star.

Published by cianj13

ferbane and offaly footballer sports journalist email - cianjohnson1300@gmail.com

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