Since the format of the 2020 All-Ireland Hurling and Gaelic Football Championships were confirmed, GAA fans have been eagerly awaiting the competitions.
A return to straight knockout in football with two rounds of ‘back-door’ games in hurling has added to the excitement while the short October to December window means that teams will have to take full advantage of their squads.
With that in mind, a number of young players in both hurling and football will be hopeful of cementing their places in match-day squads in the 2020 championship.
We take a look at some of the players who could find themselves making significant contributions to their respective counties this winter.
Conor Turbitt (Armagh)
Conor Turbitt has been the name on the lips of all GAA fans in Armagh since scoring 2-2 on his senior debut in the 2019 preseason Dr McKenna Cup. He followed that up with an impressive 1-6 on his National League debut against Cavan and started every game for Kieran McGeeney’s side.
The Clann Eireann youngster has settled into life at corner-forward for Armagh alongside the likes of Rian O’Neill and Stefan Campbell and should his form continue, he can look forward to a championship debut in 2020.
Jake Morris (Tipperary)
U20 All-Ireland champion Jake Morris is entering his third year on the senior stage for the Tipperary hurlers but has struggled to nail down a spot in their starting XV which is unsurprising given their strengths in the forwards.
However, Morris’ performances from the bench in the All-Ireland semi-final and final proves that he has matured and grown in confidence as he scored crucial scores for Liam Sheedy’s side. Should the manager choose to integrate more of his young players, Morris will be top of the pile.
Conor McHugh (Dublin)
A U21 medallist in 2014, scoring 1-6 in the final while playing alongside the likes of Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey, and Cormac Costello, Conor McHugh is considered one of the best club footballers in Dublin at the moment.
At 26, McHugh isn’t as young as some of the players on this list but given the depths of talent that exists in the Dublin squad, he struggled to find game time under Jim Gavin. However, McHugh shone for Na Fianna under current Dublin boss Dessie Farrell and scored six points against Ballyboden in the quarter-final of the Dublin championship before being controversially sent off on a second yellow.
Aaron Costello (Limerick)
Aaron Costello took full advantage of the opportunities he was given by John Kiely during this year’s National League and flourished in the full-back line in the absence of Richie English due to a cruciate ligament injury.
Given the seriousness of English’s injury, Costello is expected to retain his spot and having earned a Munster medal as a non-used substitute in 2019, the Kilmallock man will be eager to prove himself on the big stage this year.
David Garland (Monaghan)
Monaghan’s David Garland shone for DCU during the 2020 Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup with his impressive performances resulting in him being named the Higher Education GAA Rising Stars Football Player of the Year.
The 22-year-old made a few appearances for Monaghan during the 2018 National League but given his consistently high performances for the Sigerson champions, he is expected to move up the pecking order in 2020.