We take a look at the two keepers, both at the top of their game but very differing in their approach to goalkeeping.
As the championship draws to a fascinating finish, the 2023 All-Star team is beginning to take shape, with a number of certainties popping up for spots in the side.
With the final approaching, Aaron Gillane and Eoin Cody are in a battle for the Hurler of the Year award at other ends of the field with both in goalscoring form in their respective semi-finals.
Last year Diarmaid Byrnes’ utter consistency saw him take the top prize with no fewer than four past HOTY winners to take to the field on Sunday.
However, one All-Star position that is still very much in the balance is goalkeeper, where Limerick’s Nickie Quaid and Kilkenny’s Eoin Murphy are the top candidates.
Between them, they’ve won four of the past five number one awards and that trend looks set to continue this year.
It is near impossible to split the pair this year, and most likely whoever wins the All-Ireland will be awarded the All-Star.
With both so crucial to their sides chances in Croke Park, we take a look at the two keepers, how they differ, and what makes both so good.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Nickie Quaid – Eoin Murphy
Age: 34 – 32
Height: 6’0″ – 5’11”
Club: Effin – Glenmore
Provincial titles: 6 – 8
All-Irelands: 4 – 4
All-Stars: 2 – 3
Speaking on the latest episode of Treaty Talk, former Limerick goalkeeper Barry Hennessy was full of praise for both Murphy and Quaid, agreeing that the pair are fair ahead as the “two best goalkeepers in the country.”
Hennessy described the pair as “two very different goalkeepers,” admitting he would have a preference for Quaid due to obvious reasons.
The former Limerick keeper says Murphy plays with more flair, and has an eye for the spectacular, while Quaid is so good at the “basics,” and his intelligence allows him to get into position to make what looks an easy save.
With both frequently making spectacular saves, Murphy pulling out an all-timer as recently as last week, the duo are fairly close with regards honours, sharing the same number of All-Irelands, although Quaid does have one less All-Star than his Kilkenny counterpart.
One could argue that the Effin man was arguably more deserving in 2018 with Murphy’s performance against Limerick alone that year swing it in his favour. Similarly, Quaid was very unlucky to miss out in 2021 and while personal accolades will be far from his mid, there’s no doubting the Limerick public would love to see their number one even that up this year.
In the modern game, the role of the goalkeepers has become even more pronounced with the net minders generally having the most number of touches per game when you include puck outs. And both teams are very reliant on winning primary possession an aspect directly relating to the role of the keeper.
So often, Quaid and Murphy have kept their best for Croke Park and both managers will be hoping their keepers can once again come up with a game-winning performance.
Whoever does will almost certainly secure their place as the 2023 All-Star goalkeeper.
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