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Dublin: 21 °C Tuesday 21 August, 2018

5 players to watch for the rest of this year's All-Ireland hurling championship

From young guns to old hands, here’s who to keep an eye on.

AS THE 2016 All-Ireland senior hurling championship ramps up, now is the perfect time to take stock of the action to date and who to watch out for going forward.

Sometimes a player’s importance is down to his years of experience, sometimes it’s because he’s bringing something new and fresh to his county’s starting XV.

Either way, here are the five players we think will be worth keeping an eye on over the next few months. Let us know who you think is also worth watching in the comments section below. 

Kevin Moran – Waterford

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Waterford captain is an old head in a team full of (relative) kids.

The De La Salle clubman has been a virtual ever-present for his side since making his championship debut 10 years ago and is still going strong.

In the Munster final on 10 July, Moran will have a massive role to play.

Tony Kelly – Clare

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

There’s no doubt that Kelly was below par in Clare’s Munster semi-final defeat to Waterford but he bounced back with 10 points the rout of Laois last weekend.

The 22-year-old is one of the finest hurlers in the country and, as the say, form is temporary, class is permanent.

If Clare are to make a run at the Liam MacCarthy Cup, the 2013 Hurler of the Year is going to be the man to watch.

Paul Murphy – Kilkenny

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Murphy was brought back to restore confidence to Kilkenny’s defence against Dublin in their Leinster semi-final after missing the game where they conceded four goals against Clare in April’s league semi-final.

And restore confidence he did as Kilkenny kept the green flag planted by the post and restricted Dublin to just 16 points as they ran out comfortable 12 point winners.

There are few better defenders in the country than the Danesfort man, as he showed again in the Leinster final, and not many would back against him picking up a fifth All-Star this season.

Joe Canning – Galway

Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

In Canning’s first two outings in this year’s championship he scored eight points in both.

While the Leinster final against Kilkenny obviously proved a tougher task than Westmeath or Offaly, the 27-year-old has proven time and again he’s the player opposition defences will need to watch out for in the Qualifiers. 

A four-time club All-Ireland medalist with Portumna, will 2016 be the year he gets a senior medal with the Tribesmen?

Michael Breen – Tipperary

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The youngster already has a minor All-Ireland title to his name and opened a lot of eyes when he hit 2-1 from midfield against Limerick in the Munster semi-final.

Still aged just 21, Breen could play a significant role in not just the Munster final but over the course of the rest of the championship.

A brilliant prospect for the future, Tipp fans will be keeping a very close eye on his progress throughout the rest of 2016.

To mark its fourth season as sponsor of Hawk-Eye, Specsavers is offering GAA fans not only the chance to win a pair of All Ireland final tickets — either hurling or football — through our Look for Longer competition but, crack all 32 county clues, and you’ll be in with a chance to win €5,000 (1st prize) or €2,500 (2nd prize) for your nominated club.  

That could buy a lot of sliotars or footballs!

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