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10 players we will miss seeing in this year's hurling championship

These greats of the game have all called it a day.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

2015 WILL SEE THE biggest change in the last number of years as regards to the players we enjoy watching.

Kilkenny have been hit hard with six high-profile retirements while Tipperary and Waterford have also suffered. We take a look at the top 10 players we’re going to miss in this year’s championship.

Henry Shefflin

Kilkenny

Where else to start but with the King? The greatest hurler to ever play the game built his game on a combination of utter brilliance coupled with unerring consistency. It was almost a national event when he called a press conferenc in Langton’s Hotel in Kilkenny to announce his retirement.

Ten All-Irelands, 11 Allstars, 13 Leinster titles and six National league titles was his reward for an outstanding career.

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

Eoin Kelly

Tipperary

Possibly the most lethal inside forward since DJ Carey, Kelly was a brilliant servant to Tipperary hurling. At 19 he won his first All-Ireland with the Premier County before captaining another batch of youngsters to the 2010 All Ireland.

With six Allstars to his name and topping the all-time scoring charts for Tipp, the Mullinahone clubman will be sorely missed.

Eoin Kelly with the Liam Mc Carthy in 2010 Source: James Crombie

Stephen Hiney

Dublin

The Ballyboden St Enda’s hurler gave 13 years of sterling service to his county. When Dublin hurling was in the doldrums in the mid-00s, Hiney was an ever-present. A Leinster title in 2013 was just reward, but sadly a series of injuries forced him to announce his retirement in December.

Injuries have forced Hiney's retirement Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tommy Walsh

Kilkenny

While 31 is a relatively young age to retire from intercounty hurling, Tommy Walsh has played more games than many players who have played until their late 30s.

A legend in every sense of the word, from winning nine Allstars to having the whole Kilkenny squad descend on his house following last year’s All-Ireland victory, Walsh is one of the most respected hurlers of all time.

Source: jryantime/YouTube

Stephen Molumphy

Waterford 

A less ordinary retirement to the others on this list, Molumphy opted to step back from playing with the Déise to focus on family life and his work with the Irish Defence Forces. A leader on the pitch, the Ballyduff midfielder was an integral part of the side that reached the All-Ireland semi-final in 2007, recieving an Allstar the same year.

Molumphy will focus on his family and work Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Rory Hanniffy

Offaly

The word versatile is sometimes thrown about too easily to describe players but Rory Hanniffy is the benchmark of adaptability.

Having made his debut at corner-forward in 2001 against Galway, he found himself playing at full-back, centre-back, midfield and wing-forward over his 114 county appearances. He was unlucky to come along at a time when Offaly hurling was beginning to head in a downward spiral.

inpho_00434108 Hanniffy's versatility will be missed

Keith Rossiter

Wexford

Rossiter shocked Wexford hurling when he announced his retirement in January at just 31. Following the relative success of last year, Rossiter’s experience in the full-back line would have been key to the Slaneysiders’ hopes this season but he revealed that he had his heart set on retiring at the end of 2014.

Rossiter's retirement came as a shock Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

JJ Delaney

Kilkenny

The combination of JJ and Jackie Tyrrell in the Cats full back line over the past number of years is probably the best we’ve ever seen. His no-nonsense approach from full-back kept the Kilkenny goal safe over the years and it is on this position that most of the talk about possible newcomers for the 2015 campaign has focused.

Kilkenny are in search of a replacement for JJ Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Damien Hayes

Galway

At 33, the time was right for Hayes to step away from the Galway panel this year. He was the Tribesmen’s main forward for a number of years before the emergence of Joe Canning, and in recent years he has began operating further out the field.

Three Allstars, two national leagues and that historic Leinster title in 2012 were achieved over a 13-year career with his county.

Source: Tribesmen Hurling/YouTube

Seamus Prendergast

Waterford

Prendergast was the epitome of Waterford hurling for 14 years. Hard-working and fully committed to the cause, his emergence coincided with the beginning of a new era for Waterford hurling where they won four Munster titles between 2002 and 2010.

Prendergast’s absence may be felt even more in the half-forward line now with the injury to Pauric Mahony.

JJ Delaney and Seamus Prendergast Prendergast opted away from the Déise squad this year Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

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About the author:

Patrick Ward

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