John Ivory is here to give us the top five players from the weekend’s All Ireland replay that saw Kilkenny crowned champions.
5. Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath – Tipperary
Maher never gave up on Saturday evening. He fulfilled his captain’s role well, putting in a gritty, determined performance against Kilkenny. He did well in open play and sought to do the right thing with the ball. He broke forward late on and took a point very well from range.
McGrath started like a train and had 0-3 to his name by the end of proceedings. Faded in the second half, but gave Tipp a great platform, from which they couldn’t build.
4. Michael and Colin Fennelly – Kilkenny
While the Power household may be grabbing the headlines, the Fennellys are just as deserving of the adulation.
Michael, operating around the middle sector, was constantly mopping up ball, breaking down Tipp attacks and driving Kilkenny forward. He has a Trojan-like work-rate and the hurling skill to go with it, exemplified by his 0-2 from play.
Colin was central to the period when Kilkenny took the lead they would never relinquish – the five minutes after half time as he notched up 0-3.
3. Seamus Callanan – Tipperary
At the start of the year, Callanan had umpteen doubters. Now, after his 2014 campaign, those doubters have surely dissipated. Saturday’s final saw Callanan step up once again and lead the Tipp attack valiantly against the miserly Kilkenny defence.
He caused problem for Delaney all evening, and made intelligent use of the ball when he got it. He took his goals well and kept the scoreboard ticking over with his free taking abilities, finishing with a well-earned 2-5 to his name.
2. Padraig Walsh – Kilkenny
It’s not often the players of the match come from the half back line, but in this instance, you need not look further than Kilkenny’s five, six, and seven. Walsh yet again, had an outstanding game in the replay. His ability under the high ball is simply astounding. Walsh used the ball smartly throughout and capped off a brilliant year with a fantastic point in the closing stages.
Cillian Buckley cannot go unmentioned either, putting in a brave, skilful display also.
1. Kieran Joyce – Kilkenny
With very little Championship hurling under his belt this season, many questioned Brian Cody’s decision to start Joyce. Why would we ever doubt Cody? Joyce was the perfect man to combat Tipp’s most destructive forward, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, and the change worked a treat.
Joyce won the personal duel with Maher hands down. He matched him physically and got Kilkenny going forward on many occasions. A solid anchor for the Kilkenny defence, and a big reason as to why they emerged victorious.
John Ivory, Pundit Arena.
Read More About: all ireland hurling, All-Ireland, brendan maher, Brian Cody, colin fennelly, kieran joyce, Kilkenny, kilkenny hurling, michael fennelly, padraig walsh, Séamus Callanan, shane mcgrath, tipp gaa, tipperary