For hurling fans, it is great to see that competitive matches are well and truly back underway. Each year, the Allianz Hurling League proves a terrific platform for managers to test their upcoming players, and it is no difference this year. Here, we look at six players who could make a difference this weekend.
Shane Kingston (Cork)
After his terrific display against Clare last week, the name Shane Kingston has been splashed across the media of late. The son of the current Cork senior hurling manager, Kieran Kingston, justified his start against Clare.
His speed, skill and power would prove a dynamic threat in attack to any opposition. For some time now the Rebels and Douglas GAA club have been aware of Kingston’s talent, and they will be hoping for him to continue his impressive form for his county.
Brian Molloy (Galway)
In recent years, Galway natives often heard of the name of the underage star, Molloy, when discussions of future talent arose.
Molloy is considered a small nippy corner-forward, but also as a player that possesses a strong hurling brain. He came to prominence as a fifteen-year-old, when he was called upon by the Galway minor hurling team to join their set-up. In 2013, he was a member of the runner-up All-Ireland Minor hurling team that lost out to an extremely strong Waterford side.
This was similar to the fate occurred in 2016 during the u21 hurling championship final, after he captained the team to a place in the All-Ireland final, scoring six points on the big day, but missing out on the silverware.
Liam Blanchfield (Kilkenny)
The powerful full-forward is another young attacker into whom Brian Cody has put his faith. The Cats faithful native will be hoping that Blanchfield will reach similar heights to those who preceded him.
The Bennettsbridge star is a two-time winner of the Croke Cup with St Kieran’s College. After Waterford laying down a marker against the Cats last weekend, Blanchfield and his Kilkenny team-mates will be hoping for a big performance in this weekend’s game against Clare.
Peter Casey (Limerick)
Along with his brother Michael, the Na Piarsaigh club-man was one of the five Limerick players to make their debut against Wexford in last week’s big game.
Playing as a corner-forward, he proved a thorn in the Wexford defence with his speed, vision and accuracy. Although his Limerick team lost the match, Casey finished the game with a personal tally of six points.
Conor McDonald (Wexford)
Even though many might know this name already, McDonald is still only 21. In recent times, the Naomh Eanna man has been considered as Wexford’s go-to player.
The full forward possesses a hand of star quality and with his strength and ability in the inside forward line, the Yellow Bellies will be hoping that they continue their winning ways. In Wexford’s last match against Limerick, Mc Donald finished the game with a personal of 1-08.
Cillian Kiely (Offaly)
Although he’s famed throughout the Faithful county, Kiely is not as well known on a national level as those mentioned above.
Kiely has been on the Offaly senior hurling panel for the past number of years, while he has lately cemented his name onto the team-sheet.
The 20-year-old played midfield against Galway last week scoring two points in the process. The Faithful will be hoping that Kiely and his Offaly team-mates will raise their game for this weekend’s clash against Laois, after their thrashing to Galway in O’Connor Park.
Jason Redmond, Pundit Arena.