The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship has come and gone for another year. After all the highs and lows that we witnessed this summer, it has us in a bit of a reflective mood.
Every year, there is a bright young spark that rips up the hurling field. We take a look at some the young players who have shone throughout the Championship.
Kyle Hayes – Limerick
The average age of John Kiely‘s All-Ireland winning team is 23, and Kyle Hayes is one of the youngest on the panel. At the tender age of 20, the Kildimo/Pallaskenry club man has already achieved so much.
As well as pocketing an All-Ireland medal, he has played in minor, U21 and senior All-Ireland finals since 2016. For such a young age, he has already collected valuable experience. To top off a fantastic year, he received an All-Star nomination for Young Hurler of the Year. The best is certainly yet to come from this young hurler.
Rory O’Connor – Wexford
O’Connor made his debut for Wexford last year, and already his future looks extremely bright. He is only 20 and Davy Fitzgerald awarded him the responsibility of being the Yellow-Bellies free-taker. He hit a massive 10 points in their Quarter Final loss to Clare.
Richie Leahy – Kilkenny
After being brought on during Kilkenny’s Quarter Final loss to Limerick, he tallied up 0-4 for himself.
Darragh Fitzgibbon – Cork
Fitzgibbon received the nod for a Young Hurler of the Year All-Star after a stellar performance with Cork this year. He whacked two points from the midfield mark during the Munster Final as the Rebels retained their provincial crown.
As well as lining out for the senior team this year, he was part of the U-21 panel that made it to the All-Ireland Final, which the Rebels, unfortunately, lost out to Tipperary.
Billy McCarthy – Tipperary
While Tipperary had a somewhat unsuccessful campaign this summer, their young player Billy McCarthy shone. After only making his debut this May against Limerick, he earned himself a starting spot for all of the round-robin games and scored a goal for the Premier County against Clare.
We will seem he sidelined over the winter and possibly into the league, as he, unfortunately, suffered a serious knee injury whilst playing for his club in July. We are wishing him a speedy recovery.
Conor Whelan – Galway
It is hard to believe that Galway’s full forward Conor Whelan is only 21. He has been around for quite some time now after the Galway senior panel at just 18.
Whelan is now known as one of the most skillful forwards in the country. He played a fantastic match in the semi-final game against Clare and hit a late goal against Limerick in the All-Ireland Final.
Ian Galvin – Clare
The most notable impact was his crucial goal for the Banner this summer against Tipperary, which was one of the standout #StyleOfPlay moments of the Championship.
After being brought on from the bench in both semi-final against Galway, he made his mark, hitting two points in both games. You can be guaranteed that we will see plenty more from Galvin next summer.
Who do you think stood out the most this summer?