Over the past decade, the hurling world has seen a plethora of exceptionally talented players come and go.
There’s been dynamic goalkeepers, rock-solid defenders, exceptional midfielders and clinical forwards. But who’s been the very best in the country in each position?
In the last instalment of our five-part series we look at the results and see who you voted as the decade’s best player in each position.
The Goalkeeper – Brendan Cummins (Tipperary)
With 36% of the vote, the goalkeeper position goes to Tipperary’s Brendan Cummins who pipped Kilkenny stopper Eoin Murphy to the post by just 2%.
“As consistent and reliable as any keeper over the past ten years, Cummins always went about his game without any fuss. His record of five all-stars in the colours of Tipp is a testament to his quality, the last two coming in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
The Ballybacon Grange man was a crucial part of the Premier County’s 2010 All Ireland victory and won four of his five Munster titles between 2008-2012. A true goalkeeping great.”
The Defender – JJ Delaney (Kilkenny)
A landslide victory in the defenders’ poll with Kilkenny legend JJ Delaney romping to victory securing almost 50% of the overall vote, to leave the likes of Padraic Maher and Daithi Burke trailing in his wake.
“JJ Delaney is a player that will go down in the history books as one of the greatest ever to wear the black and amber. Though never the tallest, Delaney was incredibly tenacious and skilful and was unbeatable under the high ball.
He divided his time between wing-back and full-back and was named Hurler Of The Year in just his third season at senior level. The Fenians man is one of hurling’s most decorated players with nine All Ireland medals, eleven Leinster titles, eight National League medals as well as seven All-Star awards.”
The Midfielder – Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny)
Another huge victory for a Kilkenny man, Michael Fennelly’s 51% took him miles ahead of second placed David Burke who only finished with 19% of the vote.
“A career winner and one of the most important figures in hurling over the past 15 years or so, Michael Fennelly was always going to be a contender in this one.
The Kilkenny midfielder won five All-Ireland medals in the last decade and was a pivotal part of The Cats drive-for-five winning the last of his four in a row in 2009. What was also so impressive about Fennelly was the way in which Kilkenny became a much lesser proposition without him, such was the case in 2013.
The 2011 Hurler Of The Year announced his retirement in December 2017 following a glistening career filled with team accolades as well as three individual All-Stars in the last decade. One of the game’s true greats”
The Forward – Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny)
The third and final Kilkenny representative, Henry Shefflin was the stand-out forward in our Hurler of the Decade poll. Shefflin stormed to 47% of the vote with Galway’s Joe Canning finishing second on 24%.
“One of the best hurlers of all-time, if not the best, King Henry is the first name to mind when talking about the greatest forward of the decade. The Ballyhale Shamrocks man has been widely praised by sportspeople all over for his leadership and sportsmanship as well as his astonishing talent on-the-field.
His list of accomplishments is rivalled by no other with 10 All Ireland titles, 13 Leinster titles, six National Leagues and eleven All-Stars and the 39-year-old was also awarded Hurler Of The Year on three occasions. He has also won three All Ireland titles with his club.”
Goalkeeper – Brendan Cummins (Tipperary)
Defender – JJ Delaney (Kilkenny)
Midfielder – Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny)
Forward – Henry Shefflin (Kilkenny)
Centra’s #WeAreHurling campaign celebrates the passion displayed by those in Ireland’s collective hurling community and shines a light on those who devote their lives to the game helping to make the sport a pillar of Irish pride.
For further information on Centra’s #WeAreHurling campaign, check out www.centra.ie.