Opinion: 2019 Hurling Team of the Year

And just like that, the 2019 All-Ireland Hurling Championship has come to an end. Tipperary ran out deserving winners after blitzing 14-man Kilkenny in the final, winning out 3-25 to 0-20.

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 18/8/2019 Kilkenny vs Tipperary Tipperary’s Séamus Callanan kisses the Liam MacCarthy cup Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

2019 will be remembered for Sheedy’s triumphant return, Cody’s quarter & semi-final masterclasses, Limerick & Wexford’s provincial victories, Pat Horgan’s 3-10, TJ’s masterclass, Callanan’s goal-a-game among so many others.

After such an eventful year, I Select my team of the Year below.

Eoin Murphy: Number one goalkeeper in the country by some distance. Brian Hogan deserves a mention after an exceptional year also.

Sean Finn: Will pick up a second consecutive All-Star. Best man marker in the game.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 24/2/2019 Limerick vs Cork Limerick’s Sean Finn and Patrick Horgan of Cork Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Ronan Maher: Although he was rarely named at full-back, spent considerable time there and was dominant against the Kilkenny aerial bombardment in the final.

Cathal Barrett: After falling out of favour in previous year, Barrett’s return to the team has coincided with an All-Ireland victory. Coincidence?

Brendan Maher: A year removed from tearing his ACL, three-time All-Ireland winner Maher put in his best year in a Tipp shirt. Whether in the half-back or full-back lines, Maher was imperious.

Padraig Walsh: Originally started the season at full-back, Padraig was instrumental in Kilkenny’s win over Limerick, cutting off suppy to Limerick’s dangerous forwards.

Paudie Maher: A five-time All-Star, three-time All-Ireland winner Maher will go down as one of Tipperary’s greats.

GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 4/9/2016 Kilkenny vs Tipperary Tipperary’s Noel McGrath, Brendan Maher and Padraic Maher celebrates Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Noel McGrath: His captain will feel hard done by but McGrath was the Hurler of the Year. A spectators dream with his move to midfield a masterstroke

Diarmuid O’Keefe: A driving force in the Wexford midfield that won a first Leinster title since 2004. Always chips in with a couple of scores.

Conor McDonald: Lee Chin will take most of the plaudits in terms of scoring for Wexford, but McDonald really came of age this summer. Hit 2-5 from play in the Leinster final and All-Ireland semi-final.

TJ Reid: The best hurler in the country. Can do anything with the ball. Would be HOTY had Kilkenny had won Sunday.

Adrian Mullen: Young Hurler of the Year. A huge future ahead for the Ballyhale Shamrocks man.

Aaron Gillane: The focal point of the Limerick attack. Added a goalscoring touch to his game this summer.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 5, Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary 16/6/2019 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Aaron Gillane in action against Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Seamus Callanan: Guaranteed a goal a game. Captain of the All-Ireland winning team.

Patrick Horgan: Exceptional all year but his performance against Kilkenny deserves an All-Star alone. 3-10.

Munster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Round 2, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick 19/5/2019 Limerick vs Cork Cork’s Patrick Horgan celebrates scoring his sides first goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

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