It’s an unfortunate fact of sport that some of the best players to ever grace a game can retire without ever tasting full success due to circumstances outside of their control.
Hurling is no different. Legendary players such as Ollie Canning, Ciarán Carey and Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton all moved on without ever lifting the Liam MacCarthy and have become well known with being one of the best players never to win an All-Ireland.
We decided to update this list with the only stipulation being that the player must have made an appearance during the last decade, ie. between 2010 and 2019.
Can you think of anyone we left out? Let us know in the comments.
John Mullane (Waterford)
Known for his passionate and emotive approach to hurling, the Waterford legend’s career spanned 12 years from 2001 to 2013. During that time, he won four Munster Senior Hurling Championship medals and one National League title. Though Waterford were competitive at provincial level, they made just one All-Ireland final appearance during Mullane’s time and that was in the 2008 defeat to Kilkenny.
Mullane retired having accumulated a championship return of 15-134 from his corner-forward position which earned him five All-Star awards in 2003, ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’12.
Patrick Horgan (Cork)
The former Hurler of the Year nominee in Cork’s all-time leading scorer in championship hurling, overtaking the title from the legendary Christy Ring in 2017. Horgan is often touted as one of the best forwards in the game presently with his coolness and skill saving the Rebel County on many occasions.
The Cork captain made his senior debut in 2008 and since then he has collected four Munster medals and four All-Star awards. The last decade was the first in history in which Cork did not win an All-Ireland medal but it was through no fault of the Glen Rovers man having contributed 21-403 since his debut.
Ken McGrath (Waterford)
One of Waterford’s greatest ever players narrowly sneaks onto this list having retired in 2011. Ken McGrath was a fearless, shrewd and tough leader for the Deise from his centre-back position from the moment he made his debut in 1996. During his 15-year career, he collected four Munster titles, one National League medal and three All-Star awards, though, like Mullane, his only All-Ireland final appearance came in 2008.
Just days after facing Cork in the National League, McGrath called time on his career in 2011 following a spate of injuries that hampered his final years.
Damien Hayes (Galway)
Damien Hayes was one of Galway’s most prolific and reliable forwards during his senior career which spanned from 2001 to 2015. During his time in the maroon jersey, Hayes earned two National League medals, three All-Star awards and a historic Leinster title in 2012.
While at club level with Portumna, Hayes has four All-Ireland medals, he never managed to win an inter-county medal though he was part of the panel in 2001, 2005 and 2012. Known best for his speed and skill, Hayes made 52 championship appearances for the Tribesmen and scored 25 goals in the process.
Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh (Waterford)
The third Waterford native on this list and one of the most prolific hurlers in modern times, ‘Brick’ Walsh told the title for the most championship appearances in hurling. He began his senior career in 2003 and won three Munster titles, four All-Star awards and two National League medals before calling time on his career at the end of last season. His last All-Star came in 2017 when he was 34 years old.