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It was another thrilling year in the Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Championship culminating in a special and memorable victory for Galway as they claimed their third title in-a-row.
Along the way, we were treated to enthralling encounters, fierce battles and above all else, superb talent. A number of players stood out as future stars and leaders for their respective counties and those players were carefully selected by an esteemed panel of GAA experts to make up the 2019 Electric Ireland Minor Star Awards Hurling Team of the Year.
1. Aidan Tallis (Kilkenny)
Aidan Tallis was very assured and consistent between the sticks for Kilkenny this year. He made a number of crucial saves throughout the championship, particularly against Clare at the quarter-final stage. He exuded calmness at all times and proved a useful leader from the back.
2. Christy Brennan (Galway)
Christy Brennan was a rock at right corner-back for Galway throughout the championship. He shone in their All-Ireland semi-final victory over Wexford when he played a key part in the defence that kept the dangerous AJ Redmond scoreless from play while they held the half-forward trio to just one point.
3. Eoin Lawless (Galway)
Eoin Lawless was the definition of a great team player in all his outings with Galway this summer. He shone in their defeat of Wexford in the penultimate round while he was nominated for Player of the Week following his outstanding performance in the All-Ireland final against Kilkenny.
4. Ronan Lyons (Limerick)
Ronan Lyons was instrumental for Limerick in winning the Munster title this year. The Monaleen man was given the difficult task of man-marking the province’s most potent forwards, a job which he did with ease. Lyons was outstanding in the Munster final as he battled against Clare’s talisman Shane Meehan.
5. Ian McGlynn (Galway)
Ian McGlynn’s year was rounded off in a fitting fashion when he lifted the Irish Press Cup on the steps of the Hogan Stand for Galway. He endured a tough semi-final when he was sent off for an off-the-ball incident, however, he bounced back superbly in the final, keeping Kilkenny’s dangerous forwards under wraps.
6. Cian Galvin (Clare)
As captain, Cian Galvin leadership and work-rate were two key assets to Clare’s play this year. Defensively, the Clarecastle man was very solid but he also scored in all but one game, showing his ability from placed balls, while he also finished a terrific goal against Galway.
7. Peter McDonald (Kilkenny)
Peter McDonald has a bright future for Kilkenny in the half-back line if this year’s performances are anything to go by. Not only was he a brilliant reader of the game in the defence but the Thomastown man also scored a sensational long-range point in the All-Ireland final against Galway.
8. Alex Connaire (Galway)
Alex Connaire consistently caught the eye in the Galway midfield this year. The Sarsfields man was particularly impressive during the All-Ireland semi-final when he ran the show in the middle of the field. He loved to make breaks forward scoring two points that day and almost finishing a goal.
9. Patrick Kirby (Limerick)
Patrick Kirby followed on his family’s tradition by wearing the Limerick jersey with pride this year and he excelled in it. He dominated the midfield area throughout the Munster championship with his work-rate and vision while he also proved his scoring ability with seven points.
10. Greg Thomas (Galway)
Greg Thomas was one of Galway’s most impressive stars from open play. He showed an array of skill throughout but especially in the final when his physicality and tenacity won his side a penalty while he also produced a sublime back-handed pass for Seán McDonagh’s goal.
11. Seán McDonagh (Galway)
The Mountbellew – Moylough player enjoyed a phenomenal championship and was named as the Minor Hurling Player of the Week on three occasions. He was Galway’s main scoring threat with a tally of 4-36 from four games.
12. Cathal O’Neill (Limerick)
Another three-time Player of the Week, Cathal O’Neill was Limerick‘s go-to man for scores, from play and dead ball. O’Neill was a major contributor to their provincial success, scoring 1-43 through the Munster championship. His skill and awareness make him a player to remember for the future.
13. Billy Drennan (Kilkenny)
Billy Drennan won the most Player of the Week awards this year with four, usually after crucial scores like the 1-8 he got in the semi-final win over Limerick. The Galmoy man was deadly accurate from frees while he was also hugely influential from open play.
14. AJ Redmond (Wexford)
Wexford won a first Leinster title since 1985 and they wouldn’t have done it without second-year minor, AJ Redmond, who got 1-11 in the provincial final win over Kilkenny including a sublime solo effort for his goal despite tremendous pressure from Kilkenny’s defence.
15. Shane Meehan (Clare)
Dual star Shane Meehan was one of Clare’s finest players this season and produced a scintillating performance against Galway in their quarter-final defeat. Meehan terrorised the defence, scoring 13 points, while he also set up a goal for Cian Galvin.
Brought to you by Electric Ireland
Minor players are embarking on their adult lives. They have hopes, dreams, pressures, distractions and ambitions, but for this one moment in time, the Electric Ireland Minor Championships is the major thing in their lives.
Follow the conversation using #GAAThisIsMajor or visit https://www.electricireland.ie/gaa-minor-championships to catch up on this season’s action.