The greatest game of hurling ever witnessed took place in Croke Park on Sunday between Kilkenny and Tipperary. The two teams could not be separated and will go to battle at HQ all over again. Here are the top performers form the All Ireland Final.
5. Cathal Barrett – Tipperary
The youngest man on the field put in arguably, the best performance of the day. He completely nullified the threat of Walter Walsh in the opening thirty-five minutes. His reading of the play was exceptional, picking up numerous breaks and finding a pass.
The highest compliment that can be paid to a corner back, is that he is ‘tidy’, and Barrett was near spotless on Sunday, never putting a foot wrong.
4. Seamus Callanan – Tipperary
Callanan had another good day at the office, this time, on the biggest stage. He proved he doesn’t shy away from the limelight with his 0-7, with 0-2 from placed balls. He stayed calm when on the ball and assisted a few scores for the Premier men also.
Along with Mr Consistency, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, Callanan caused Kilkenny a huge amount of problems, and on another day, they’ll take more of their goal chances.
3. TJ Reid – Kilkenny
Reid continued his superb scoring form, contributing 1-8 to the Kilkenny cause. From the opening whistle, Reid caused problems for James Barry on the edge of the square, competing well for high balls, either winning, or breaking most.
His goal was jaw-dropping. You saw him swing, then, the net ripple. He was solid from placed balls and led the attack very well. Richie Power’s 2-1 was another telling contribution and Kilkenny will need more of the same on September 27th.
2. John O’Dwyer – Tipperary
‘Bubbles’ burst into the game in the opening moments and finished up with 0-7, 0-5 from play. His general play was very good, making a couple of good passes to better placed teammates.
Any half chance that came his way in open play was slotted over the bar before the commentators would’ve had a chance to say his name. Agonisingly close with last puck of the game, but great day overall.
1. Richie Hogan – Kilkenny
Hogan has been a revelation at midfield this year for Kilkenny, and yesterday, he cemented his place as one of the best hurlers in the country. Tipp started strong, but Hogan did crucial, unspectacular little jobs around the middle, to break up play and set Kilkenny on the attack.
After half time, he simply took over. Every time he got the ball it was a point (0-6), or a pass for a score. He was simply sublime.
John Ivory, Pundit Arena.