Donal Óg Cusack disagreed with The Sunday Game panel's selection for Hurler of the Year 4 months ago

Donal Óg Cusack disagreed with The Sunday Game panel's selection for Hurler of the Year

Kyle Hayes was named as The Sunday Game Hurler of the Year.

The Kildimo Pallaskenry powerhouse had a brilliant season in the Limerick half back line, driving out of the Limerick defence all year, with his customary dynamism and gusto.


Man-of-the-match in the 2018 final, Hayes is a big day performer and in Limerick's 0-30 to 2-15 win over Kilkenny on Sunday, he was again a towering presence.

Along with Cian Lynch, Hayes stood up in a first half that Kilkenny dominated, before thundering into it again after half-time.

Hayes delivered a number of impressive throughout the year and that was why, between them, The Sunday Game panel named him as their 2023 Hurler of the year. Shane Dowling announced that, having shortlisted Huw Lawlor, Aaron Gillane and Kyle Hayes, that it was Hayes who came out on top and speaking afterwards, Jackie Tyrrell agreed with the selection.

"All the way through, he was the dominant man in his position. I don't think Aaron Gillane won his dual today. Kyle Hayes won his dual, every day for the whole year around," said Tyrrell.


That doesn't mean there weren't a few dissenting voices, however, with Donal Óg Cusack clearly over-ruled in the vote.

"I think it's the wrong call alright," began the Cork man.


"Taking nothing away from Kyle Hayes. I think Aaron Gillane was the Hurler of the Year," he said.

"He was phenomenal in the Munster final, he was outstanding in the All-Ireland semi-final. Today, he got two from play, three from frees, having won one himself.

"I would argue that along with himself and Nickie Quaid, they're the two most important players to the way Limerick play the game."

And while Donal Óg often divides opinion, you would suspect that he would have plenty of support on this one.


Coming into the final, along with the brilliant Eoin Cody, Aaron Gillane was, for many, the stand-out hurler in the country. Having scored 1-11 in the Munster final, his 2-6 in the All-Ireland semi-final was just as impressive.

As Donal Óg rightly pointed out, he was hardly anonymous in the final either, having scored 0-5 in a brilliant battle with Huw Lawlor. Indeed, Gillane ended his season with a brilliant 3-15 from play, with all three of his goal's coming at such key points in key games.

Watch our All-Ireland hurling final review show with Davy Fitzgerald right here


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