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7 hurlers who have enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2014

These players all really stepped up in 2014 and established themselves among the game’s elite.

Alan Cadogan (Cork)

Alan Cadogan and Paddy Stapleton Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Cadogan was one of three youngsters to slot into Jimmy Barry Murphy’s side this year as they won the Munster SHC title for the first time since 2006. The younger brother of established senior star Eoin lit up the early stages of the championship with some excellent displays.

He proved a real addition to Cork’s attack this year with a few live wire displays and will hope to built on that in 2015.

Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)

Cathal Barrett Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Virtually unheard of outside Tipperary a year ago, Cathal Barrett’s rise to the national consciousness has been a dramatic one. The young corner-back only made his senior debut in February, but has since developed into one of the best man-markers in the game.

Barrett became a key part of Tipperary’s full-back line on their run to the final and gave an exceptional performance in the drawn game in particular.

Conor McDonald (Wexford)

Conor McDonald 19/7/2014

Wexford hurling saw a revival this summer, with Liam Dunne rewarded with his decision to inject his side with a number of talented U21s. Conor McDonald hit 5-10 from play in a stunning debut campaign where he flourished under Dunne.

The 18-year-old burst onto the scene with remarkable strength and confidence that defied his years. He also helped Wexford U21s to the All-Ireland final, where they were defeated by Clare.

James Barry (Tipperary)

James Barry 7/9/2014 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Barry’s arrival on the scene helped solve a problem position for Tipperary this season. Initially used at No 6, Barry was switched with Paudie Maher to the full-back line and quickly settled into the role, providing a series of commendable performances en route to the final.

John O’Dwyer (Tipperary)

John OÕDwyer celebrates a point to draw the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

In only his second year on the Tipperary panel, O’Dwyer had a sparkling season in one of the most exciting attacks in the country. The 23-year-old really stepped up and formed a formidable attack, alongside ‘Bonner’ Maher and Callanan. Only Callanan and Colin Fennelly scored more than the Killenaule forward from play this year.

Padraig Walsh (Kilkenny)

Padraig Walsh Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Initially displacing his older brother Tommy from the starting XV, Padraig Walsh alternated between roles in midfield before eventually settling in as a wing-back. Walsh was surprisingly dropped for the drawn All-Ireland final, but he gave a fantastic display when he was recalled by Cody for the replay.

Liam Ryan (Wexford)

Conor Johnson with Liam Ryan Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Another Wexford youngster to enjoy a break-out year was defender Liam Ryan. The Raparees corner-back helped his county to a back-to-back Leinster U21 titles and became a permanent feature in their defence at senior level as they enjoyed a thrilling qualifier run.

How well do you remember the 2014 All-Ireland hurling championship?

Cody blasts referee Kelly for draw decision – ‘It was criminal what was done the last day’

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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