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Power ranking the best 6 games of the 2015 senior hurling championship

It wasn’t a vintage season for hurling but these six games were crackers in different ways.

6. Antrim v Laois

Ciaran Clarke fires an injury time penalty past Enda Rowlan to win the game Ciaran Clarke's late penalty beats Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland. Source: Presseye/John McIlwaine/INPHO

A high scoring thriller in the round-robin stages of the Leinster championship should have set the tone for a great summer to come.

Ciaran Clarke’s penalty at the death sealed a 5-17 to 3-22 victory for Antrim in Ballycastle but the Saffrons would end up losing their MacCarthy Cup slot by the end of the campaign.

Clarke scored 2-7 for Antrim on a day when Zane Keenan registered 1-9 for a Laois side that would later go on to shock neighbours Offaly.

5. Dublin v Limerick

Paul Ryan Dublin's Paul Ryan was on fire against Limerick. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Not a classic by any means but absorbing nonetheless.

TJ Ryan’s Limerick looked on course for a comfortable win but Paul Ryan-inspired Dublin came roaring back to seal a 1-17 to 1-16 win at Semple Stadium.

Ryan scored 0-12 as the Sky Blues advanced to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by Waterford.

4. Cork v Waterford

Maurice Shanahan celebrates scoring a goal Maurice Shanahan celebrates his brilliant goal against Cork. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The day that announced Waterford’s arrival as a genuine championship force.

The Déise had beaten Cork in the Allianz League final five weeks earlier and Maurice Shanahan was on fire as they scored a 3-19 to 1-21 success at Semple Stadium.

Waterford were four points down in the first half but with Shanahan registering 1-9, they were worthy winners in the Munster semi-final.

3. Clare v Cork

Bill Cooper and goalkeeper Anthony Nash  console Conor Ryan Bill Cooper and Anthony Nash console Clare's Conor Ryan. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The qualifiers pitched 2013 All-Ireland finalists Cork against each other at Semple Stadium – and it was the Rebels who gained revenge.

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Cork had been working on a new defensive system with Mark Ellis as sweeper and it worked to good effect against Clare, who were held goalless.

Cork didn’t rattle the Clare net themselves but they did score enough points to seal a 0-20 to 0-17 win.

2. Galway v Kilkenny

Joey Holden raises the Liam McCarthy cup Joey Holden lifts the MacCarthy Cup for Kilkenny. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Sunday’s All-Ireland final was one of the games of the year for sheer intensity and some moments of brilliant individual skill.

Galway led by three points at half-time having hurled up a first half storm but Kilkenny exploded out of the blocks after the break to win by 1-22 to 1-18.

TJ Reid’s haul of 1-7 has surely cemented his status as 2015 Hurler of the Year as Galway’s wait for a first All-Ireland senior hurling crown since 1988 stretches into a 28th year.

1. Galway v Tipperary

Noel McGrath introduced as a second half sub Noel McGrath comes on as a sub for Tipperary against Galway. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Unquestionably the game of the year, this one had it all – thrills, spills, brilliant scores and a late winner from Galway supersub Shane Moloney.

Seamus Callanan lit up Croke Park with a magnificent performance that yielded 3-9 but Galway hung in grimly and caught Tipp with Moloney’s late sucker punch.

On a day when the magnificent skills of hurling were showcased, with Galway edging a classic by 0-26 to 3-16, the game was placed in proper context when Noel McGrath made his return to intercounty duty after undergoing surgery on testicular cancer in April.

Do you agree with our selections? Leave your feedback in the comments section below…

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