There were some impressive individual and team performances over the second weekend of the National Hurling League. We learned that Kilkenny are not invincible while the likes of Cork and Tipperary bounced back from poor opening day performances.
Here is the Pundit Arena GAA, Team of the Week.
- Patrick Kelly – Clare
Clare may have been comprehensively beaten by Cork in the end but Kelly was in great form in the Clare goal. He helped to keep Clare in the game in the first half and in the end he made the scoreboard look more respectable. He pulled two great saves from Patrick Horgan in the first half, and made further saves in the second half.
- Cathal Barrett – Tipperary
Last year’s Young Hurler of the Year maintained his good form as Tipperary produced a good performance to beat Galway at Semple Stadium. He showed everything that made him stand out last season. He was first to every ball and his sublime skill levels allowed him to hurl plenty of ball at a very high quality.
- Christopher Joyce – Cork
Full-back has been a problem position for Cork for a number of years and Joyce showed against Clare that he may be the man to fill the number three shirt. He gave very little away to Shane O’Donnell. He may have been second to the ball on a number of occasions but his tackling was outstanding as he shackled his direct opponent.
- Conor O’Brien – Tipperary
O’Brien is one of the Premier men who will be looking to make an impression in this year’s league and he put in a fine display against Galway. He has not been a regular starter for a while now and he took his opportunity well. He was prominent in the game and made a great late catch as Galway bombarded the Tipp goal.
- Chris Crummey – Dublin
Everybody has been impressed with the Dubs in their opening two games and newcomer Chris Crummey has been one player who has stood out in both games. The wing-back has been very good so far. He is a very big presence in the half-back line and has been heavily involved in both games he has played. His use of the ball has been excellent.
- Peter Kelly – Dublin
Kelly’s move to centre-back has been one of a number of reshuffles by new Dublin manager, Ger Cunningham. So far, it looks to be a very good move as Kelly has excelled in his new position. He was very good at full-back but people forget he was a converted half-back. He outscored Walter Walsh with two points from play from centre-back and played a good deep role in the second-half.
- Cormac Murphy – Cork
The Cork half-back line has come under much scrutiny since the end of 2013. The trio of John Gardiner, Ronan Curran and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín were all gone from the panel and the new players were not of a similar standard. Cormac Murphy has come into the half-back line this year and has been outstanding. He put in a fine performance against Clare and helped to build a good platform.
- Kieran Bergin – Tipperary
He was very much one of the underrated members of the Tipperary side in 2014. He moved from wing-back to midfield for their clash with Galway and put in a very good seventy minutes.
He was outstanding in the first-half of the game when he scored three points from play. He worked tirelessly for the remainder of the game as part of an all-round good performance.
- Daniel Kearney – Cork
Kearney has been one of Cork’s most consistent players for the last two seasons and probably deserves more recognition than what he generally receives. His good form continued on Saturday night against Clare.
He was excellent at a time when the game was very much in the balance. He scored an inspirational point that settled Cork as they went onto win comfortably in the end.
- Conor Lehane – Cork
It was another typical Conor Lehane performance. For parts, he was not in the game and people wondered if he was even playing. Then almost out of nowhere, four absolute moments of brilliance saw Lehane fire four points over the bar to lift the Cork team and the Cork crowd.
When Lehane brings something to a game, it is often spectacular and some of his scores against Clare were out of the top drawer.
- Pauric Mahony – Waterford
The Waterford man continued his impressive scoring tallies for 2015 with a 1-14 haul against Laois. This is on top of the 1-18 he struck in the Fitzgibbon Cup a few weeks previously. He is deadly from placed balls but also helped himself to 1-5 from play in the Déise comprehensive victory over Laois.
He will be a big player for Waterford this year who need new leaders in attack.
- Danny Sutcliffe – Dublin
Sutcliffe is a class act and looks to be improving all the time in the Dublin jersey. It is easy to forget that he will only turn 23 this year, which is remarkable given how highly he is regarded already.
He was outstanding against Kilkenny, showing the ball-winning, running and scoring ability that are invaluable for any player. Not even a last minute dismissal took the gloss off the quality of his game.
- Luke O’Farrell – Cork
The number 13 shirt was a straight competition between the three Cork inside forwards. We went for Luke O’Farrell as he was a player who came into the side after a long time out and laid down a marker.
He finished a fine first half goal when other Cork players had butchered previous goal chances. His work-rate was phenomenal as he led the first line of defence from full-forward.
- Seamus Callanan – Tipperary
Callanan was almost back to his classy best against Galway and provided the couple of moments of magic that proved to be enough to see Tipperary over the line. His first half point was probably the score of the weekend where he showed exceptional stick-work.
His second-half goal was another classy finish and it helped to give Tipp some breathing space.
- David Treacy – Dublin
The last place in the Team of the Week goes to Dublin’s David Treacy. Along with the rest of the Dubs, he was outstanding against Kilkenny and provided plenty of scores from frees and from play.
He finished the game with 0-13, four free, three 65’s and four points from play. Now Dublin will need him to carry these figures through to the summer.
Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.