Tony Kelly the unluckiest absentee as AIB Club hurling and football teams of the year named
The Ballyea senior hurlers were down a number of men going into the 2018 Clare senior hurling championship.
Tony Kelly tells the story well.
"From the All-Ireland final team that started (2016), we're down seven," said Kelly on TG4.
"I think six of them are all under-25 which is a massive problem for us this year. They're off enjoying themselves in Australia and a few in San Francisco," he added.
Now Ballyea is a tiny little village just south of Ennis. Numbers aren't great there and the loss of one hurler in their prime hits hard, never mind half the team.
But while they mightn't be flush with numbers in Ballyea, there's plenty of spirit and there are plenty of hurlers there and that's what brought them to the promised land in Clare this year, for the second time in their history.
As well as the small little matter of having Tony Kelly on their team.
He's the most graceful hurler of a generation and he was on fire in the Clare championship from start to finish this year. First, in the group stages, he hit a barely believable 1-11 from play against Cratloe.
He followed it up with a man-of-the-match performance against Inagh Kilnamona in the semi-final, before hitting 1-9 from play against O'Callaghan's Mills in the semi-final.
He went on to play a crucial role in the final win over Cratloe, where he scored 0-2 from play before hitting one of the points of the year, and two others in their narrow extra-time loss to Ballygunner.
Tony Kelly with a lovely bit of skill and point for Ballyea! pic.twitter.com/nmQ2VTVVYI
— The GAA (@officialgaa) November 4, 2018
Therefore, given the powerful role he played in their unprecedented season, we feel the Ballyea star's exclusion from the AIB GAA club team of the year is a little harsh.
Shane O'Sullivan is lucky to get in ahead of him, though saying that, it's hard to argue with the rest of the team.
AIB GAA club hurling team of the year
Club Hurler of the year
The nominees for the club hurler of the year are Adrian Mullen and Colin Fennelly of Ballyhale Shamrocks as well as Pauric Mahony from Ballygunner.
Mullen gets the nod from us.
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) April 4, 2019
AIB GAA club football team of the year
As for the football, the team is made up of seven Corofin, three Crokes, three Gaoth Dobhair and two Mullinalaghta men. Ian Burke finds himself unlucky to miss out, but it's hard to replace anybody on that full forward line of dreams.
The nominees for club footballer of the year are Kieran Molloy, Gary Sice and Kevin Cassidy.
It has to go to that man Molloy.