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From Davy's box to David's speech - 12 of the best memories from the 2017 hurling summer

They were good times.

THERE’S STILL SOME business to be sorted out on Saturday, with the Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 titles to be handed out.

But the first Sunday in September is now behind us, with Galway crowned winners in the minor and senior grades.

The dust is settling on a memorable 2017 campaign and there are some fantastic moments to reflect on.

In no particular order, we look back on 12 of the best…

1. Michael Cahalane’s return

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Michael Cahalane was told that he’d never hurl again.

But on a glorious Sunday afternoon in May, the Bandon player came off the bench to make his Cork senior debut, before scoring a goal against Tipperary.

After being drafted in by then manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy ahead of the 2014 season, Cahalane was making steady progress.

He featured against Limerick and Offaly in the Allianz Hurling League but it was later discovered that the player had an enlarged heart and had sustained a viral infection.

He was advised not to play again but Cahalane found a way and his perseverance was rewarded with a Munster medal.

2. Wexford Park pitch invasion

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In June, Wexford pulled off an historic Leinster championship victory over Kilkenny.

The Slaneysiders had made steady progress in 2017, winning promotion from a Division 1B group that also contained Limerick and Galway.

Davy Fitzgerald’s men gave a good account of themselves in the League semi-final against Tipp but 10 June was the date etched in their minds.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

And with Davy suspended and watching on from a specially-constructed box, they delivered in style against the Cats at Innovate Wexford Park, sparking scenes of mass elation at full-time.

3. The opening of redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh

On 19 July, the redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh staged its very first hurling fixture.

Blarney and Valley Rovers did the honours as the new venue was christened. 

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

A few days later, fans from Tipperary, Clare, Wexford and Waterford made the trip to Cork for the All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals.

They were two memorable days, as Tipp beat Clare before Waterford saw off Wexford in the South-East derby.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

4. Paudie Maher meets his match in Gearóid McInerney

In the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final, Tipperary powerhouse Pádraic Maher met Galway’s Joe Canning with a crunching shoulder on the Hogan Stand side of Croke Park.

A year later, the tables were turned as Maher ran into Galway’s man-mountain Gearóid McInerney, and was sent bouncing to the turf:

Source: GaelicShintyHurling/YouTube

McInerney’s refusal to bend was the sign of a new Galway – and the Tribesmen would win an enthralling game by just a single point. More on that anon.

5. Over 8,000 at Páirc Uí Rinn for a Munster minor semi-final

Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Cork won the Electric Ireland Munster minor crown but they were given a stern test by 2016 provincial and All-Ireland champions Tipperary at the semi-final stage.

The counties fought out a classic semi-final stalemate in Thurles – and had to do it all over again at Páirc Uí Rinn just a few nights later.

A massive crowd of over 8,000 descended on the Cork city venue – and they weren’t left disappointed by another brilliant clash. 

6. Austin Gleeson’s goal against Cork

All-Ireland final day might not have gone according to plan for 2016 Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson.

But the Waterford star played a big part in his side getting there.

His goal against Cork in the semi-final was a thing of beauty.

You’ve probably seen it before but if you haven’t, here it is again.

If you haven’t, enjoy.

Source: GaelicShintyHurling/YouTube

7. Joe Canning’s winner against Tipperary…

Big moments demand big players.

And so it was when Joe Canning slotted over a quite sensational winning point to dethrone champions Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Four additional minutes were signalled and the clock struck 74:00 when Canning got his shot away.

It was a score worthy of winning any game:

Source: GaelicShintyHurling/YouTube

8…And a family affair on final day

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Last September, Brian McGrath captained Tipperary’s minors to All-Ireland glory – before his brothers John and Noel won senior medals on the same day.

12 months later, it was very much a family affair for the Cannings as Jack scored two goals in the minor decider, before his uncle Joe picked up that coveted Celtic cross.

Carlsberg really do hurling Sundays….

9. Galway honour a legend by reaching the Holy Grail

Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

The hurling world was stunned and saddened by the untimely passing of Galway hurling legend Tony Keady. 

He was man-of-the-match in the 1988 All-Ireland final when the Tribesmen previously lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

But Galway honoured his memory in the most fitting fashion by ending that 29-year famine in style on Sunday.

The Galway management and players made sure that Tony’s wife Margaret and their children weren’t forgotten in the post-match celebrations:

10. Waterford claim first victory over Kilkenny in 58 years

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Waterford may have fallen short in their bid to win a first All-Ireland senior title since 1959.

But Derek McGrath’s charges did manage to beat Kilkenny in the senior championship for the first time in 58 years.

Extra-time was required to separate the neighbours in a memorable qualifier at Semple Stadium in July, as Jamie Barron and Maurice Shanahan scored extra-time goals after the Cats had come from the dead to salvage a draw.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

11. Cork are back

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Reports of Cork hurling’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The Rebels came from nowhere to win a first Munster senior hurling title in three years.

They did it the hard way too, seeing off Tipperary, Waterford and Clare to lift provincial silverware.

Their bid for All-Ireland glory may have ended at the semi-final stage against Waterford – but this was a positive season for Kieran Kingston and his men.

12. David Burke’s speech

David Burke became the first Galway captain since Conor Hayes in 1988 to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

And the St Thomas’s man was in top form on the steps of the Hogan Stand as he hoisted the precious silverware aloft.

We don’t think he left anybody out here…

What stood out for you from the 2017 hurling summer? Leave your feedback in the comments section below….

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