As the decade comes to a close, we reflect on what has been a defining era of hurling.
Over the past 10 years, five counties have lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup during a period of structure changes, transitioning squads and ever-increasing competition. We have seen outrageous levels of skill and talent across the board from established and emerging players.
Here at Pundit Arena, we have attempted to pick the 15 most consistent and influential players in their position since 2010 to be part of our Hurling Team of the Decade. Five counties are represented with five players from Kilkenny, four from Tipperary, three Galway men, two players from Waterford and one representative from the Rebel County.
Pundit Arena Hurling Team of the Decade
1. Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny)
Eoin Murphy has earned four All-Ireland medals this decade while his two All-Star awards came in years when Kilkenny didn’t lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Along with TJ Reid, Murphy has arguably been the Cats most consistent performer since making his debut in 2011. There is still plenty to come from the Glenmore man.
2. Paul Murphy (Kilkenny)
At 30 years of age, Paul Murphy remains one of the first names on the Kilkenny team sheet and one of the leading corner-backs in the country. Since breaking into the panel in 2011, Murphy has claimed four All-Ireland medals and four All-Star awards.
3. Daithi Burke (Galway)
One of the first names on his team considering how solid Daithi Burke has been at full-back this decade. Since making his debut in 2014, Burke has racked up four All-Star medals and was a pivotal part of the team that claimed the All-Ireland title in 2017.
4. Noel Connors (Waterford)
Liam Cahill’s decision to drop Noel Connors from the Waterford panel for the coming season sent shockwaves through the county such has been his contribution to the Deise since making his debut in 2009. A versatile defender who led by example, Connors is a three-time All-Star winner and was a key member of the side who won Munster in 2010.
5. Brendan Maher (Tipperary)
Brendan Maher has won it all with Tipperary this decade from an U21 All-Ireland title to lifting the Liam MacCarthy as captain in 2016. However, 2019 topped it all as he won another All-Ireland title, his third All-Star, before claiming a Tipperary and Munster championship with Borrisoleigh. All following his return from an ACL injury.
6. Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh (Waterford)
Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh finally hung up his boots earlier this year at the age of 36 having completed 17 seasons with Waterford’s senior team. In 2018, the prolific defender set a new all-time championship appearance record when he lined out in his 74th championship game. During his time, he won three Munster titles and two National league medals as well as four All-Star awards.
7. Padraic Maher (Tipperary)
Padraic Maher has been Tipperary’s most consistent defender since making his debut in 2009. Tested at full-back, centre-back and wing-back through the years, Maher has repeatedly proven himself against the best forwards in the country. Currently has three All-Irelands and six All-Star awards under his belt.
8. Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny)
Michael Fennelly confirmed his retirement in late 2017 but he remains one of the best hurlers to line out in midfield. During his time, Kilkenny claimed eight All-Ireland titles, four of which came this decade, while he won three All-Stars in 2010, 2015 and 2017. Fennelly captained the Cats to his final All-Ireland title in 2015.
9. David Burke (Galway)
On so many occasions this decade, David Burke has been the link that makes Galway’s play sparkle. He was the deserved captain to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2017, winning his fourth All-Star award the same year. It has also been a memorable decade on the club front with four Galway championships and one All-Ireland title under his belt.
10. Richie Hogan (Kilkenny)
Richie Hogan has been an inspirational character for Kilkenny on many occasions across this decade. The Danesfort man was the Hurler of the Year in 2014 and was nominated again the following year after another stellar season in which he drove the Cats to his seventh All-Ireland title. The 31-year-old also has four All-Star medals under his belt.
11. Noel McGrath (Tipperary)
It has been an incredible decade for Noel McGrath since he won his first senior All-Ireland medal at the age of 19 in 2010. He has since lifted the Liam MacCarthy on two more occasions and has three All-Star medals to his name. More importantly than that, his return in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway in 2015, just four months after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, was one of the top sporting moments of the decade.
12.TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
TJ Reid racked up an impressive haul of medals this decade, three club titles with Ballyhale Shamrocks, four senior All-Irelands, four All-Stars awards while he was also crowned Hurler of the Year in 2015. Reid has been one of the leading forwards in the country while he has also been Kilkenny’s go-to man, captaining the side in 2010 and 2019.
13. Seamus Callanan (Tipperary)
Callanan has been nominated for the Hurler of the Year award four times this decade, finally picking up the gong this year after scoring a goal in every game on his way to captaining Tipperary to his third All-Ireland title. Need we say more?
14. Joe Canning (Galway)
The 2017 Hurler of the Year has been Galway’s talisman and saviour throughout the decade. From his pointed free with the last puck of the ball in the drawn 2012 All-Ireland final, to his stunning sideline point to send Galway through to the All-Ireland final in 2017, Canning has been the standout player in maroon for a number of years.
15. Patrick Horgan (Cork)
Patrick Horgan has broken many records this decade. In 2017, he surpassed Christy Ring to become Cork’s all-time top championship scorer, while this year, Horgan became only the fifth player ever to score a cumulative total of 400 points in the championship. Four All-Star awards since 2013 but he remains without that elusive All-Ireland medal.