There was plenty of brilliant performances from the various hurling encounters over the weekend, with action in the Leinster and Munster Final as well as the Joe McDonagh Cup. Here is our team of the week.
1) Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny)
A nod has to go to Anthony Nash and Donal Tuohy but Eoin Murphy takes the award this week. The Glenmore man was kept busy as he managed to produce off some wonderful saves to keep Cathal Mannion, Conor Whelan and the rest of the Galway forwards quiet.
He also pulled off some of his trademark free taking, emerging with 0-1 to his name.
2) Sean O’Donoghue (Cork)
It was a tough day out for the Cork defenders as the Clare forward pack ran riot in the first half but credit must go to Sean O’Donoghue for his performance. It’s never an easy task to man-mark Podge Collins but the 21-year old did it superbly.
The Inniscarra man now has a Munster medal to his name in his first season with the Cork seniors.
3) Padraig Walsh (Kilkenny)
Probably the hardest decision in this team was the full-back position with Daithi Burke just missing out. Walsh played like a man possessed at full-back yesterday. He was superb under the high ball while he also made a number of key interceptions and earned his side three frees.
His contribution wasn’t enough to earn Kilkenny a victory however, the Cats having to settle for a draw against the All Ireland champions.
4) Kevin McDonald (Carlow)
The Mount Leinster Rangers man was instrumental for Carlow as they won the inaugural Joe McDonagh Cup in Croke Park on Sunday. McDonald scored a point that put Carlow six ahead and out of reach of Westmeath.
He will need to be on top form when Carlow face Limerick in the quarter-final next weekend.
5) Padraic Mannion (Galway)
The only representative from Galway, Padraic Mannion has been outstanding this year, with many believing he is in contention for Hurler of the Year, and brought that form into the Leinster final. Apart from TJ Reid, the Kilkenny half-forward line were kept quiet, unable to maintain possession and Mannion must take much of the credit for that.
6) Cillian Buckley (Kilkenny)
Another man who impressed under the high ball, Cillian Buckley was named the man of the match in the Leinster final. It was an extremely scrappy game in which neither team could gain a foothold but Buckley’s delivery to the forwards helped ensure that Kilkenny kept in touch with Galway.
Kilkenny will be relying on his leadership when they take to Semple Stadium for the replay.
7) Mark Coleman (Cork)
It’s hard to believe this man is only 20 years of age, such has been his contribution at senior level for Cork. Coleman followed up Luke Meade’s goal in the first half with a fantastic sideline cut that gave Cork the foundation upon which they built their comeback.
He also added another point for the highlights reel in the second half.
8) Darragh Fitzgibbon (Cork)
Like Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon is another youngster who is quickly becoming indispensable for the Rebel County. He made numerous runs in the second half of the Munster final that tormented the Clare defence while he also added two points from midfield.
If his form continues, then he is a shoo-in for an All-Star medal come the end of the season.
9) James Maher (Kilkenny)
David Burke was once again impressive for Galway but James Maher shone in the middle field. He showed great vision in his passing, his work rate was exceptional and he also scored a wonderful point to round off his performance.
The St Lachtains man was definitely a contender for man of the match.
10) Peter Duggan (Clare)
Peter Duggan has been in brilliant form for Clare this season and is one of their main leaders. Not only is he their free-taker but he is continuously clinical from play and has the physicality to win his own ball. The Clooney-Quin man finished the game with on 1-7.
Clare will be hugely reliant on him in the quarter-final stage.
11) John Conlon (Clare)
What can you say about John Conlon? He has been exceptional in every game for Clare and is the frontrunner for Hurler of the Year. The 29-year-old was a constant thorn in Cork’s side yesterday with three defenders unable to mark him.
He popped up all over the field, scoring five wonderful points in the process.
12) Billy Ryan (Kilkenny)
It’s never easy to make your debut for Kilkenny, especially in the Leinster final against the All Ireland champions but Billy Ryan handled the pressure with ease. He was lively and energetic and constantly looked threatening when in possession. The Graigue-Ballycallan clubman scored two points and had chances for others.
13) Patrick Horgan (Cork)
Patrick Horgan has been Cork’s Messiah for a number of seasons now and yesterday was no different. When Cork were struggling yesterday, he was the one to keep them in the game. While his scoring ability is well lauded, it was his skill and ability to read the game that really caught the eye in Thurles.
The Cork forwards are beginning to look very formidable and Horgan is leading the charge.
14) Chris Nolan (Carlow)
Our second player from the Joe McDonagh champions, Chris Nolan was fantastic for Carlow yesterday. He led the scoring charge alongside his Mount Leinster Rangers teammate, Denis Murphy with his goal early in the second half coming at a crucial time.
He added another four points in what was a very impressive display.
15) Seamus Harnedy (Cork)
Seamus Harnedy is Cork’s captain and leader in every sense of the word. He was sensational yesterday and a key player in their comeback, all bar one point of his 1-4 tally coming in the second half. As well as his own goal, the St. Ita’s man brilliantly caught a puck out from Anthony Nash before putting Luke Meade through on goal. Just give him the All-Star already.