Picking the 2023 Hurling Team of the Year

With the dust settled on the hurling season, Jack Neville and Darragh Moloney pick their respective XV of the season.

The hurling season has drawn to a close with Limerick claiming a historic fourth successive All-Ireland title.

John Kiely’s men left their best for the final half and dominated Kilkenny for the second year running to further etch their name into the history books.

The final performance also ensured a number of players another All-Stars with a couple of more putting their hand up for the individual award.

With the dust settled on the hurling season, Jack Neville and Darragh Moloney pick their respective XV of the season. Interestingly, both teams are identical.

Prior to the final, the pair picked their teams with agreement on eleven of the players. However, the most important game of the year has led to a number of changes as we look at our final Team of the Year for 2023.

Certainties

Although both teams are the same, there are a number of contentious decisions. However, for plenty of the team, the All-Star Award can be guaranteed. Those include full back pairing Dan Morrissey and Huw Lawlor who were the standout #3s in the game this Summer.

As was the case prior to the final, the half back line remains the same with the formidable trio of Diarmaid Byrnes, John Conlon and Kyle Hayes.

23 July 2023; Kyle Hayes of Limerick celebrates after his side’s victory in the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Darragh O’Donovan was the standout midfielder in the county in 2023 and is assured of a second All-Star. So is William O’Donoghue but his Croke Park performances could see him named at #6.

The full forward line picks itself with no disputing Hurler of the Year elect Aaron Gillane alongside Eoin Cody and Conor Whelan.

The half forward line is more controversial but Tom Morrissey did enough during Munster while Shane O’Donnell was outstanding throughout and is thoroughly deserving.

Debatable Picks

One of the main stories coming into the final was the battle of Nickie Quaid and Eoin Murphy. Many argued that the winner of the game would be rewarded with the All-Star and that is reflective in our teams. Many will go with Murphy on the basis of his save against Clare to stave off the Banner in the semi-final but over the course of the year, Quaid is deserving of a third award.

“Limerick’s All-Ireland win was the deciding factor, with Quaid edging Murphy for the #1 slot.”

Darragh Moloney
23 July 2023; Limerick players William O’Donoghue, left, and Nickie Quaid celebrate after the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

In front of them, Barry Nash has leapfrogged Mikey Butler to the corner back slot. While Butler was impressive in the Leinster final and shutting down Tony Kelly, Nash’s importance in the overall Limerick set up gets him the nod.

“Although his contribution wasn’t as obvious as it was in 2022 where he was a Hurler of the Year nominee, Barry Nash was no less crucial to Limerick, especially in a line where the Shannonsiders lost their best out and out defender.”

Jack Neville

John Conlon being named at #6 is one that is questionable but Will O’Donoghue played five games at midfield compared to just two at centre back. If the Na Piarsaigh man is chosen at #6 then Conlon’s teammate David Fitzgerlad is the obvious pick to partner O’Donovan.

Further up the field, TJ Reid gets the nod at centre forward despite a quiet final. For the second year running, he was kept scoreless from play in the decider but his contribution wasn’t akin to that in 2022. Cian Lynch would have been in the running had he another game or two after struggling with injury in the Munster championship. Tony Kelly‘s semi-final display rules him out.

Jack Neville’s 2023 All-Star Team

  1. Nickie Quaid (Limerick)
  2. Huw Lawlor (Kilkenny)
  3. Dan Morrissey (Limerick)
  4. Barry Nash (Limerick)
  5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick)
  6. John Conlon (Clare)
  7. Kyle Hayes (Limerick)
  8. William O’Donoghue (Limerick)
  9. Darragh O’Donovan (Limerick)
  10. Tom Morrissey (Limerick)
  11. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
  12. Shane O’Donnell (Clare)
  13. Aaron Gillane (Limerick)
  14. Conor Whelan (Galway)
  15. Eoin Cody (Kilkenny)

9 Limerick, 3 Kilkenny, 2 Clare, 1 Galway

Darragh Moloney’s 2023 All-Star Team

  1. Nickie Quaid (Limerick)
  2. Huw Lawlor (Kilkenny)
  3. Dan Morrissey (Limerick)
  4. Barry Nash (Limerick)
  5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick)
  6. John Conlon (Clare)
  7. Kyle Hayes (Limerick)
  8. William O’Donoghue (Limerick)
  9. Darragh O’Donovan (Limerick)
  10. Tom Morrissey (Limerick)
  11. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
  12. Shane O’Donnell (Clare)
  13. Aaron Gillane (Limerick)
  14. Conor Whelan (Galway)
  15. Eoin Cody (Kilkenny)

9 Limerick, 3 Kilkenny, 2 Clare, 1 Galway

Who would make your team?


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