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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019

The 8 young hurlers to keep an eye on this summer

Remember the names as we tip these young guns to shine in the 2015 championship

1. Paul Killeen (Galway)

Killeen lined out at full-back for Galway in their Allianz Hurling League quarter-final defeat and it’s a position he’s expected to retain for the summer.

A former Galway minor captain, Killeen lined out for his club Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry in their county U21 A hurling final defeat to Athenry late last year.

And Killeen went back to front for Davy Fitzgerald’s Limerick IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup, operating at full-forward for the beaten semi-finalists.

Killeen also captained Galway’s U21s in 2014 but he’ll be anxious to make his mark now at senior level.

The versatile star has been in and out of the team over the past couple of seasons and was hauled off at half-time against Kilkenny in last year’s Leinster SHC replay.

Paul Killeen 23/8/2014 Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

2. David Reidy (Clare)

Here’s a player who fits perfectly into the ‘impish corner forward’ category.

Reidy was excellent for Limerick IT throughout the Fitzgibbon Cup and was one of the stars of Clare’s All-Ireland U21 side last year.

His goal for Clare in last year’s Munster U21 final helped to turn the tide in the Banner County’s favour before he added 0-3 in the semi-final victory over Antrim and 1-1 to help sink Wexford in the final.

Source: hockeyhurlingshinty5/YouTube

Reidy is an Éire Óg clubmate of Shane O’Donnell and the two goal machines could forge two-thirds of Clare’s championship inside line. 

Reidy enjoyed a solid League campaign and scored three points from play in Clare’s relegation playoff defeat to Kilkenny.

David Reidy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. John McGrath (Tipperary)

McGrath made a big impact for Tipperary in this year’s Allianz League campaign and is tipped for a senior championship debut against Limerick or Clare on June 21.

The Loughmore-Castleiney player, younger brother of Noel and cousin of 2011 All-Ireland minor football winning captain Liam, scored two points against Galway on his debut before slotting over five in the Cusack Park victory over Clare.

McGrath was then laid low by a pelvic injury and missed out Tipperary’s Munster U21 football final win and the breakthrough All-Ireland semi-final success against Dublin.

Source: breakingthrough/YouTube

A former dual All-Ireland minor medallist, McGrath came on as a late sub in the victory over Kilkenny but did not feature in Tipp’s concluding Hurling League fixtures.

He did make a late appearance off the bench in the All-Ireland U21 football final and now has time on his side to regain full fitness ahead of the summer.

John McGrath Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. Cormac Murphy (Cork)

Murphy made his Allianz Hurling League debut against Kilkenny this year and has nailed down a regular place in the Cork defence.

The 22-year-old was a member of the UCC Fitzgibbon Cup winning panel and looks set to make his championship debut against Waterford on June 7.

Murphy was a member of last year’s extended Cork squad but the former minor and U21 player has grabbed his chance to impress at senior level with both hands.

Murphy provided extra cover to the Cork full-back line in the recent Allianz League final defeat to Waterford, often drifting behind full-back Aidan Ryan to mop up any crumbs that fell behind.

But Murphy is at his best attacking from the wing-back position and Rebels boss Jimmy Barry-Murphy will want to see more of the Mallow player on the front foot.

Cormac Murphy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. Colin Dunford (Waterford)

Dunford announced his arrival on the big stage by starring on the Dungarvan Colleges team that won the 2013 Harty and Croke Cups.

He was forced off with a shoulder injury in the Harty Cup final victory over Thurles CBS but recovered to shoot two points from play as Dungarvan Colleges claimed All-Ireland glory with victory over Kilkenny CBS.

Two-time Harty medallist Dunford spent two seasons as a Waterford minor before making the step-up to the U21 ranks.

And as a fresher with IT Carlow, he was joint-captain of the team that won the Division 1 All-Ireland League title against UCC in December 2013. 

Source: breakingthrough/YouTube

Dunford became the first man from the Colligan Rockies club to play senior championship hurling for Waterford since 1996 when he made his debut against Cork last summer.

Since then, his graph has been on a steady upward curve and he scored two goals against Wexford at Nowlan Park in last year’s qualifier defeat.

He was simply brilliant for Waterford in this season’s League and his blistering pace in a roving role caused Cork all kinds of problems in the Thurles decider.

James Woodlock chases after Colin Dunford Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

6. John Power (Kilkenny)

Power has already left an indelible mark on Kilkenny hurling history, having scored the second goal in last year’s All-Ireland senior final replay against Tipperary.

A younger brother of Richie, Power now has his sights firmly set on a regular starting place after being drafted in for the September rematch with the Premier County.

Source: Emigrant Isle/YouTube

A free-scoring graduate from the famed St Kieran’s nursery, Carrickshock clubman Power won two All-Ireland Colleges titles in 2010 and 2011.

The 22-year-old is 6ft 2″ tall and an obvious outlet for the long ball but he’s also blessed with a delicious first touch.

Power also won an All-Ireland minor hurling medal with Kilkenny in 2010 and a Leinster U21 title two years later before going on to make his mark at senior level.

John Power celebrates scoring their second goal Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

7. Chris Crummey (Dublin)

A graduate from Dublin’s successful 2011 minor crop, Crummey captained the Sky Blues to Leinster glory four years ago.

Crummey went on to play at right-half-back on the Dublin team defeated by Galway in the All-Ireland minor final but even then, he was tipped to make the step up to bigger and better things.

Crummey won a Walsh Cup medal with Dublin’s seniors in 2013 and went on to claim a Leinster SHC medal later in the year as a member of Anthony Daly’s extended squad.

At 6ft 5″ tall, Crummey brings an imposing physical presence to the Dublin half back line, badly needed following Stephen Hiney’s retirement.

Crummey was a member of Dublin’s U21 team last year and featured prominently for Ger Cunningham’s senior in the 2015 Allianz League campaign.

Chris Crummey

8. Cian Lynch (Limerick)

Lynch won Munster minor medals in 2013 and 2014 before being drafted into the Limerick senior set-up by manager TJ Ryan this year.

Source: Damian Kelly/YouTube

Minor captain last year, Lynch hails from the Patrickswell club and is a nephew of former county seniors Ciarán and Pa Carey.

He made his League debut against Waterford in February, having picked off four points in the Waterford Crystal Cup final victory over Cork.

One of those was a score reminiscent of Kevin Broderick’s wonder-point against Kilkenny in the 2001 All-Ireland semi-final, as he flicked the sliotar over a Cork defender’s head before lofting it over the bar off his stick.

The flame-haired attacker showed rich potential as a soccer player before opting solely for hurling.

Two years playing with St Kevin’s in Dublin brought Lynch to the attention of Republic of Ireland underage scouts but the small ball has always been his number one love.

Lynch is now poised to make his senior championship debut against Clare at Semple Stadium on May 24.

Donegal and Tyrone have already given us the first schemozzle of the summer

16 wins in their last 17 Ulster games now for Donegal after victory over Tyrone in tense clash

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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