"He'll follow you to the end of the earth, he's a nightmare to mark" 8 months ago

"He'll follow you to the end of the earth, he's a nightmare to mark"

Conor Whelan wasn't always a bull-dozer.

Back in his secondary school days playing with Gort, the Kinvara youngster was always the sharpest forward of the bunch but he was far from the biggest.

With a game based on speed, both of foot and of touch, Whelan was pure dynamite and regularly racked up big tallies from the wing or corner forward position. Fast forward a couple of years and Whelan as predicted, has developed into one of the most dangerous forwards in the land.

The transition has taken a few changes though.

Still a livewire with pace to burn and with every touch and trick in the book, Whelan has been able to add raw power and pure strength to his game without sacrificing any of the skills.

And now the 22-year-old former Young Hurler of the Year has the full package. Just ask Paul Murphy.

With the knack to knock ball down to himself and to burst onto it with pace, he has no problems winning his own ball. Then he is rarely if ever dispossessed due to his ability to horse corner backs out of it. Sunday in Kilkenny and the man was on fire and legendary defender JJ Delaney dubs the Galway man a 'nightmare to mark.'

"Conor's so strong that he'll take everyone on," said JJ on Monday's GAA Hour Show.

"He'll back himself all day long, he's just a nightmare to mark, he'll follow you to the end of the earth, He's just so strong, so skilful and he's just bringing a lot of accuracy back to his play as well

"He has hit form, in the last two games, he has been the main man up front for Galway so that's a huge thing for them..."

This work-rate and ability to make a defender's life hard was best summed up in the 40th minute when Whelan's persistence resulted in a free and a yellow card for Murphy.

The Danesfort defender was first out to the ball, but Whelan pushed him off it and crouched down so that there was no way he was going to lose it.

Another hard-working Galway forward who came in for praise was Adrian Tuohey. Best known as a corner back in maroon, the Beagh club man regularly lines out in the forwards for his club and he fared well in Nowlan Park, hitting two points in an industrious performance.

The lads reckon he has done enough to keep his place.

"When I seen the team named, I was convinced Adrian Tuohey and Joseph Cooney would swap back, but it's the sign of a modern half forward that it's about hard work and dropping back and helping out in your defence and trying to support your midfield as well. You can go route one with him as well because he's very strong in the air, a left hander, he's very hard to handle in the air," said Brian Carroll.

"It's definitely worth another look. He has legs, he's very quick to get around the field. He did enough to get a start the next day and it will be up to him whether he holds on to it," added JJ.


You can listen to this Whelan' discussion and much more from The GAA Hour Hurling Show.