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20th Dec 2018

The All-Time 15 of left handed hurlers

Niall McIntyre

Long live the citeogs.

You can call it unorthadox, you can call it awkward but there’s absolutely no denying its effect.

The traditional hurler holds his stick with his right hand over his left and catches the ball in his left hand. The majority of teams will have two or three, if not more, lads who go about it the other way around, however.

These are the citeogs. Many deem their ways unattractive but it’s not right to say that when some of the game’s most gifted, aesthetically pleasing artists have played left over right.

There’s an added dimension, an added spice to the left hander and it is indeed sometimes right.

This was one of the toughest teams we’ve had to assemble. Eoin Larkin, Pauric Mahony, Conor Whelan, Terrance ‘Sambo’ McNaughton, Brian Hogan, Johnny Flaherty and more were all disgracefully omitted but that just goes to show the strength of the hand we were dealt.

Here’s how we’d line them up.

1. Brendan Cummins (Tipperary)

The Ballybacon Grange club man has been one of hurling’s most reliable net minders in recent times. He was hard pushed here by the first ever goalkeeping All-Star, in Offaly’s Damien Martin, but Cummins’ longevity, his capacity for an astonishing save, his consistency earned him the number one spot.

2. Paudie Maher (Tipperary)

The most consistent hurler in the country right now. You know what you’re going to get from the Thurles Sarsfields club man. Stronger than every opponent he faces, his fetching, his touch, his long range point-taking, his power, it’s all different level.

We know he shouldn’t be confined to corner back, but that’s how competitive it was.

3. JJ Delaney (Kilkenny)

The quintessential back man. Kilkenny’s steely defender may not have been imposing in stature, but God he was big in heart. Attacked every ball with such venom and aggression that forwards rarely stood a chance.

Amazing under a high ball. Delaney’s career was perhaps best summed up by that famous hook on Seamus Callanan in the 2014 All-Ireland final.

4. Martin Hanamy (Offaly)

Teak tough, tidy and assured, St Rynagh’s man Hanamy won two All-Irelands, three All-Stars and five Leinster titles during a glorious era for the Faithful County.

Their left sided corner back was a mainstay.

5. Kevin Moran (Waterford)

Kevin Moran is out on his own.

Is he a wing forward? A midfielder? Is he a half back?

Truth told the De La Salle man is one of those lads who you could give a jersey from 1-15 and it wouldn’t matter to him. He’s just there to hurl.

6. Brian Hogan (Kilkenny)

A giant presence in the spine of that Kilkenny team for years. One of Brian Cody’s most trusted lieutenants, there was no better man to hold the most important position on the field.

7. Gerry McInerney (Galway)

The two time All-Ireland winner with the Tribesmen just pipped his son Gearóid for this spot. Distinctive in his looks, he wore white boots at a time when hurlers didn’t even know what helmets were but he backed up the swagger with the hurling.

8. Frank Cummins (Kilkenny)

A black and amber hero for a 20 year long, success-laden career. Strong as an ox, the midfielder won four All-Stars and eight All-Irelands.

9. Joe Cooney (Galway)

The face of Galway hurling for nigh on 20 years. Could burst through a tackle like it was made of paper.

Won five All-Stars and a Hurler of the Year.

10. Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher (Tipperary)

There were many hairs pulled out deciding between the Lorrha club man and Kilkenny’s Eoin Larkin. Bonner got the nod.

11. Joe Dooley (Offaly)

One of the greatest of a great generation of Offaly hurlers.

12. Jimmy Doyle (Tipperary)

Played county minor at 14 but still lived up to that hype. Enough said.

The boy wonder of hurling.

13. Joe Deane (Cork)

Graceful. Elegance. Style.

Cork’s little man in the top corner is the reason the phrase ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog’ exists.

And that’s saying something because there’s not many lads who can combine that style with that aggression. Joe Deane could.

14. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)

Has achieved a lot up to now but the best is yet to come.

Reid is the deadliest attacker in hurling right now, and he has been for the last number of years. A ruthless efficiency in front of goal that few other forwards possess.

Ghosts around the pitch, scanning for openings, he picks his moment and he’s gone.

15. Lar Corbett (Tipperary)

He was a joy to watch in full flight. That dazzling movement was second nature to Larry, it left defenders in a heap behind him. Such a distinctive style, he always held the hurl out far in front of him in that left hand when he was soloing the ball, and that, combined with his blinding pace meant that once he got on the ball, defenders were screwed.

Such a beautiful striker of the ball too. Whether pinging long rangers or stitching missiles to the roof, it all just seemed so perfect.



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