Date: Sun 19th Aug
With just days until the All Ireland Final clash between Limerick and Galway, we have picked a lethal combined XV from the top two teams in the country.
1 Nicky Quaid (Limerick)
Nicky Quaid has been in flying form this summer, conceding just seven goals in seven matches. His puck out strategy is a key element of Limerick’s play and let’s not forget the sublime interception he produced to deny Seamus Harnedy a certain goal in the All Ireland semi-final.
2 Seán Finn (Limerick)
Seán Finn has hardly put a foot wrong all summer in the corner-back position. Picked up an injury early on in the Clare game but made vital contributions in the subsequent games. Could well be on the way to his first All-Star later this year.
3 Daithi Burke (Galway)
Ever the rock in the Galway defence, Burke has been phenomenal again during this championship. When he is on form, nothing can get past him. He is so impressive under the high ball and is such a physical presence. Was supposedly injured in the run up to the semi-final but still had a great game.
4 Richie English (Limerick)
Like Finn, English has been exceptional at corner-back and often does not get the recognition he deserves. His distribution is immense as is his ability to read the game and he never panics when under pressure. Links up brilliantly with the rest of the full-back line.
5 Padraic Mannion (Galway)
Unless something drastic happens in the final, Padraic Mannion is top of the list for Hurler of the Year. He has played with such ease and confidence this summer and has been a nightmare to mark. Has brought an extra attacking element to his play his summer to make him a fully rounded player.
6 Gearóid McInerney (Galway)
When he is at the top of his game, there is no stopping McInerney and he just dominates proceedings. Such is his talent and importance to Galway that even if he is not fully fit on Sunday, he must start. They need his physicality and leadership against a young and creative half-forward line.
7 Dan Morrissey (Limerick)
The most impressive section of Limerick’s team this season has been their half-back line and Morrissey has enjoyed his best season yet. He really came into his own against Kilkenny, mopping up endless ball and displaying his wonderful vision in his distribution. Will be a key man on Sunday.
8 David Burke (Galway)
The Galway captain is back to his best form. The St Thomas’ man has been dominating the midfield in every game, assisting in so much attacking play while also scoring from distance with unrivalled ease. Galway will look to him to lead them to back-to-back All Ireland titles.
9 Cian Lynch (Limerick)
Since stepping back into a play-maker, assisting role in midfield, Cian Lynch has come into his own. His work rate and skill level are phenomenal while he has a wonderful ability to predict the play and get where he needs to be. Also contributed a vital goal in the semi-final.
10 Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick)
This young and dynamic Limerick half-forward line have impressed on every occasion this summer and Hegarty has grown in confidence with every passing game. He is very clever on the ball and of late is at ease taking his own scores. Uses his height to great advantage.
11 Joe Canning (Galway)
There always seems to be so much pressure on the shoulders of Joe Canning but he has yet to disappoint this summer. When Galway need a leader, he is always ready to step up and on numerous times has saved them. His battle with Declan Hannon will be particularly intriguing.
12 Tom Morrissey (Limerick)
The younger Morrissey brother has also been very impressive during this championship. The All Ireland U21 winning captain showed his composure in the Kilkenny game with two vital scores after the Cat’s goal. Always stands up when needed and much will be expected of him on Sunday.
13 Cathal Mannion (Galway)
Cathal Mannion’s name has also been whispered for Hurler of the Year alongside his brother, such has been his form this summer. He was exceptional in the Leinster final replay against Kilkenny, scoring six points from play and carried that form into the All Ireland series.
14 Aaron Gillane (Limerick)
Aaron Gillane has burst onto the scene this summer and has made an immediate impact. Assumed the responsibility of free taker with no qualms and is a serious threat when he gets proper delivery. He is quick, smart and brilliant under the high ball making him near-impossible to mark.
15 Conor Whelan (Galway)
It’s almost a given at this stage that Conor Whelan will give a top performance when Galway need him. This player doesn’t have average days. His scoring ability is well known but in open play, he is a joy to watch. Could well be adding another All Star to his collection this year.