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12th Aug 2023

A team of hurling legends who didn’t make their county minor teams

Niall McIntyre

Jimmy Doyle was one of the greatest players ever to pick up a hurl.

The Thurles Sarsfields legend was only 15-years of age when he made his debut for the Tipperary minors. He would go onto win four Munster minor medals and three All-Irelands at the under-18 grade.

And he wouldn’t let it get to his head either.

In fact, the dynamite half forward made his Tipperary senior debut when he was still a minor, before going onto win six Celtic Crosses and nine Munster senior championship medals during which time he would nail a spot at number 11 on the Team of the Millenium.

That’s one way of going about it. There are other ways of reaching the top too though.

For many lads, the path to greatness isn’t as straight forward as the smooth transition from underage sensation to senior star. Often, it’s more a case of swings and roundabouts via GAA politics, late blooming or a combination of the two.

It says a lot about a lad who comes out on the other side of all of those restraints even better and here are fifteen of the very best.

Here’s a team of 15 players who didn’t make their county minor hurling teams, but went onto become some of the finest hurlers this island has ever produced.

Leading them out is Kilkenny legend James McGarry – the Bennettsbridge goalie didn’t make Kilkenny minor or under-21 teams, but he worked his way up through the junior ranks to win six Celtic Crosses.

Clare’s Seanie McMahon is widely regarded as one of the greatest number sixes ever to hurl yet the St Joseph’s Doora Barefield behemoth was no underage prodigy.

Then up top, you’ve a lightning full forward line of Lar Corbett, Niall Gilligan and Eddie Brennan – three of the most deadly inside forwards the game has ever seen.

There’s always hope for you if you have a good attitude.

Thanks to all the respondents to the GAA JOE Twitter account for contributing to this.

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