Sean Cremin is here to look back over the weekend’s hurling action. Here is this week’s PA Hurling ‘Team of the Week’.
1. Mark Fanning – Wexford
The Wexford net minder had a very solid outing against Dublin. He kept a clean sheet and was very assured between the posts. His puck-outs were very good and it was a very good goalkeeping performance despite Wexford’s defeat. He is an underrated goalkeeper and is up there with the best goalkeepers in the country.
2. Liam Ryan – Wexford
Wexford’s side had a youthful look to it and nineteen year old Liam Ryan was very impressive at corner-back. He showed good aggression in defence and gave very little away. His style was very noticeable as he continuously beat his opponent to the ball. He got on an awful lot of ball and looks to be a very good prospect.
3. Paul Schutte – Dublin
Schutte put in an excellent shift for the Dubs at both corner-back and full-back. He played in the corner for the first half before moving to full-back to try and curb the influence of Wexford full-forward, Conor McDonald. He did a very good job in both positions and really showed his worth to the Dublin side.
4. Stephen McDonnell – Cork
This man is possibly Ireland’s most improved player. He looks quite awkward but is really proving to be very capable defender. Two years ago he lost his place but he has come back into the Cork side and is now an important part of the defence. He made Conor McGrath look very average and he further enhanced his own reputation. He was unlucky not to get the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
5. Lorcán McLoughlin – Cork
McLoughlin’s move to the Cork half-back line is paying dividends for what was a problematic area of the Cork team. He has not received huge plaudits but has been very good in Cork’s three games so far. He gets on a lot of possession and his distribution of the ball is very good. Cork now look a lot stronger in the half-back line and are laying a better foundation to their side.
6. Conor Ryan – Clare
This may be feeling the need to put in a Clare player but Ryan was the Banner county’s best player against Cork. He did play a lot of ball at centre-back and was one a very few Clare players who could hold their head up high after the loss to Cork. He looked after the centre of the defence and cleared a lot of ball.
7. Michael Carton – Dublin
Carton was ‘man of the match’ when Dublin faced Wexford in Wexford Park last year and he picked up where he left off. He was excellent against Wexford particularly in the second half. He even found himself on the score sheet when scored two points in a row that helped to give Dublin a bit of breathing space. He had a great season last year and looks set to have another good season this year.
8. Daniel Kearney – Cork
Cork really excelled at midfield as both Daniel Kearney and Aidan Walsh were immense. Clare’s Colm Galvin did perform well but on balance Cork really did dominate this part of the field. Kearney was brilliant and looks to have bounced back from a poor enough game the first day out against Waterford. He was very busy around the field and made a big contribution to the scoreboard.
9. Aidan Walsh – Cork
There was a lot of excitement on Leeside when it was announced that Walsh was going to play hurling with Cork this year and the rest of the country are now seeing what all the hype was about. His athleticism is phenomenal and some of his high catches were great to watch. His hurling seems to be improving with every game as he continues to get to grips with senior intercounty hurling. He looks to the real deal and will have a big say on Corks season.
10. Alan McCrabbe – Dublin
The former All-Star missed last season with Dublin but he is back with a bang this year. He played a big role in their victory over Wexford and brought a lot to the table for Dublin from frees and from play. He hurled a lot of ball and provided nine points overall including three from play. His free taking was very good and Dublin will be hoping his form will contine.
11. Podge Doran – Wexford
The Wexford attacker showed up very well the for the ‘yellow bellies’ and was a constant thorn in Dublin’s side. He finished his goal very well. He showed very good composure and very quick thinking to finish. He also scored a point but he won a lot of ball. He drew frees and provided assists. He gave Liam Rushe, all-star centre-back, plenty of problems and had a very good outing.
12. Conal Keaney – Dublin
Keaney put in a display of real class against Wexford and was Dublin’s match winner. He led the Dublin attack very well and displayed all the qualities of a good forward. His ball winning was excellent as was his link up play and his finishing. He was the stand out player on the pitch and his performance compensated for the loss of Danny Sutcliffe.
13. Alan Cadogan – Cork
He is the frontrunner of Young Hurler of the Year at the moment after a string of very impressive displays. He did very well against Clare and he really is in top form this year. He has performed brilliantly for all teams he has played for and Cork senior hurlers are the current beneficiaries. He is a real livewire and is well able to score. He picked off three good points and won lots of frees for against Clare.
14. Paul Ryan – Dublin
He did not start the game against Wexford but he entered the game early and made a good impact following his introduction. On his day he can be a very good player but consistency is an issue. He scored three very good points from play against Wexford and looked very sharp. He seemed to have a point to prove after being left out of the starting line-up. He certainly put his hand up for a starting berth in the Leinster final.
15. Patrick Horgan – Cork
There was a great irony in Cork’s victory over Clare. Most of the talk all week surrounded Anthony Nash’s frees and the Patrick Horgan goes and scored two goals from frees. He may not have scored from play but any player who can contribute 2-11 is proving their worth to any side. He orchestrated a lot of Cork’s play up-front and is another Cork forward in good form at the moment.
Sean Cremin, Pundit Arena.
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