Four potential match winners to watch in the All-Ireland club hurling final 6 years ago

Four potential match winners to watch in the All-Ireland club hurling final

The time for heroes is now.

Na Piarsaigh and Cushendall know that whatever they do for the rest of their lives, there can be no regrets coming off the field in Croke Park tomorrow afternoon.

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Often on March 17th, heroes emerge from the most unexpected of places, and so we've looked at four players who could be the difference between the sides in tomorrow's All-Ireland club hurling final.

David Dempsey - Na Piarsaigh

AIB Munster Club Senior Hurling Championship Final, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Tipperary 22/11/2015 Ballygunner vs Na Piarsaigh David Dempsey of Na Piarsaigh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

While the key attention may be focused on Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling, there's little doubt the Limerick champions would not have reached this stage without their inspirational leader in attack.

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He grabbed the opening goal in the Munster triumph over Ballygunner, and when things got sticky against Oulart-The Ballagh last month; Dempsey slotted 0-4 to keep his side in contention.

Hard work often beats talent on March 17th but Dempsey has both in spades.

Kieran Breen - Na Piarsaigh

AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Quarter-Final, Sixmilebridge, Clare 25/10/2015 Sixmilebridge vs Na Piarsaigh Kieran Breen of Na Piarsaigh Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

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The Limerick outfit is backboned by a strong defence and the cornerstone at number two has been Kieran Breen.

Croke Park can often appear more daunting and open on days when it's not a full house, but this won't effect Breen or his focus

He could be handed a man-marking job on Neil McManus further away from the edge of the square, or alternatively could look to shackle Cathal McNaughton in the corner.

Either way expect his direct opponent to be in for a very tough afternoon.

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Ryan McCambridge - Cushendall

AIB GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Club Championship Semi-Final, Pairc Tailteann, Navan, Co. Meath 6/2/2016 Sarsfields vs Cushendall Sarsfields Kevin Cooney is blocked by Ryan McCambridge of Cushendall Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Colm O'Neill

Defence wins championships and the Antrim and Ulster kings have won of the stingiest.

It takes a hell of an effort to limit the Galway champions Sarsfields to 1-6 in an All-Ireland semi-final but Cushendall have been running a tight operation all season.

Ryan McCambridge has had an outstanding season for his club, and tomorrow could be his crowning glory.

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His efforts limited Sarsfields to a single point from play and he is one of those rare players who was born to play in Croke Park.

Karl McKeegan - Cushendall

AIB GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Club Championship Semi-Final, Pairc Tailteann, Navan, Co. Meath 6/2/2016 Sarsfields vs Cushendall Cushendall's Karl McKeegan celebrates a goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Colm O'Neill

The Antrim veteran is unlikely to be a starter, but when he does come into the fray, wait for Croke Park to erupt.

He has probably forgotten more about hurling than most of his team-mates will ever learn, but the forward still retains a keen eye for mischief, as well as goals.

A goal in the win over Sarsfields showed he still has the appetite for top class hurling while he also played a key role in the Ulster final success over Slaughtneil with two long range monster points. Potentially his last trip to Croke Park, it could be a memorable one.

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