Gillane finished the year as Limerick’s top scorer, and popped up with crucial scores at various points in the championship, notably his goals against Galway, and leveller against Kilkenny.
Former Limerick hurler Donie Ryan has described Hurler of the Year elect Aaron Gillane as the “dream corner-forward” as the Patrickswell native was crucial in securing a fourth successive All-Ireland title.
Gillane moved into the top ten of the overall scoring charts in the history of the hurling championship and is the heavy favourite to claim the hurler of the year award and adding to his three All-Stars.
Gillane finished the year as Limerick’s top scorer, and popped up with crucial scores at various points in the championship, notably his goals against Galway, and his leveller against Kilkenny.
Speaking on the latest episode of Treaty Talk, Garryspillane native Ryan spoke in awe of Gillane who was instrumental for Limerick in key moments during the four in a row.
“As a corner-forward, he can win any kind of a ball, high or low, his shooting accuracy is off the scale, he’s probably the dream corner-forward, Aaron has taken physicality to a new level altogether.
“I had Kyle Hayes backed to be Hurler of the Year, to be fair to Aaron Gillane, when the match was in the melting pot, Aaron Gillane was absolutely outstanding.”
Ryan played for Limerick for years, and came up against the great Kilkenny side of the 00s, who have drawn parallels to the current Treaty side. Ryan and co met the Cats in the 2007 final where they made it two on the bounce in the midst of their own four in a row.
Many believe John Kiely’s current crop is the greatest side of all time, but that Kilkenny team comes very close, with both reaching the history four in a row and Ryan explained the similarities between the teams.
“Everything Limerick have at the moment, Kilkenny had that time. They had class hurlers, big men, very physical, and they had a quality. But they had five or six players who were the best players in Ireland. Limerick have five or six at the moment who would be on any team in any generation.
“The boys that don’t get the publicity, Dan Morrissey, Mike Casey, William O’Donoghue, outstanding. You’re facing a collective of powerhouse hurling.”
One notable difference between that Kilkenny team, and this Limerick one, is the age profile of the sides.
Majority of Limerick’s side are facing into their prime years, and there isn’t many who are coming near the end.
Nickie Quaid and Graeme Mulcahy are into the twilight of their careers but plenty of the team have years on their side with starters Mike Casey, Barry Nash, Diarmaid Byrnes, Kyle Hayes, Darragh O’Donovan, William O’Donoghue, Gearoid Hegarty, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey and Gillane all yet to reach 30.
This is one aspect that could sway the debate in Limerick’s favour as we look forward to a potential five in a row next year says Ryan.
“The age profile of the Limerick four-in-a-row must surely be back a few years from the Kilkenny team of four-in-a-row. Kyle Hayes is 25 like! The man has to face into his prime yet, I don’t even know what way you could go about challenging this fella!”
After decades in the doldrums, Limerick have well and truly entered into a golden age, and Kiely will be keen for his troops to continue their dominance.
No team has ever gotten over the line for a five-in-a-row, but this Limerick team are certainly capable of it, and are the bookies favourites to win Liam MacCarthy next year.
Watch the full podcast with Ryan
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