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Farewell - 13 hurling stars who called it a day in 2016

Kilkenny, Tipperary, Offaly, Dublin, Laois and Limerick players all bowed out.

Eoin Larkin and Paddy Stapleton Eoin Larkin and Paddy Stapleton were amongst those who retired in 2016. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

2016 SAW SOME big names hang up their inter-county hurley for good.

Time to pay tribute to the retiring stars from the last 12 months.

1. Brian Carroll (Offaly – Coolderry)

After 14 seasons, the Offaly hurling stalwart retired in early January. He may not have enjoyed a trophy-laden career but Carroll was recognised as a leading attacker since making his debut for Offaly back in 2002.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Carroll was part of the Offaly side that lost out in the Leinster final in 2004 but he did win a provincial medal at club level with Coolderry in 2011.

2. Donal O’Grady (Limerick – Granagh/Ballingarry)

It was confirmed back in January that the former Limerick captain had brought his career to a halt at the age of 35. His career highlight with Limerick came in 2013, the man who acted as skipper on the famous sun-kissed afternoon when the county ended a 17-year Munster senior hurling drought.

Donal O'Grady lifts the trophy Celebration time in 2013 for Donal O'Grady Source: James Crombie/INPHO

O’Grady made his senior championship debut for Limerick in 2004 and struck 0-2 in his only All-Ireland final appearance when Limerick lost to Kilkenny in 2007.

3. Richie Power (Kilkenny – Carrickshock)

As an eight-time All-Ireland senior medalist and a two-time All-Star winner, Richie Power has plenty golden moments to reflect upon from his days with Kilkenny. Yet there was a tinge of regret when he retired in January, a persistent knee injury prompting him to pull the plug.

Richie Power scores their first goal

He was a hurler that had plenty more to give if his fitness had held up. Injuries hit Power hard in 2015, but in 2014 his blitz of four goals in the last three games was instrumental to Kilkenny’s All-Ireland win. Power also emulated his father Richie Senior in winning All-Ireland medals at senior, minor and U21 levels.

Tweet by @Eoin Larkin Source: Eoin Larkin/Twitter

4. Conal Keaney (Dublin – Ballyboden St Enda’s)

Keaney’s announcement came in April that he was retiring, the mid-season timing reflective of the fact that he postponed the decision until after his exploits in helping Ballyboden St Enda’s win the All-Ireland club football final on St Patrick’s Day.

Conal Keaney celebrates his goal

He finally got his hands on a Leinster senior hurling medal in 2013 but a tip of the hat as well towards his football feats before that, winning five Leinster titles at that level. Keaney also helped Dublin lift the 2011 National League crown.

5. Michael Rice (Kilkenny – Carrickshock)

Rice departed the Kilkenny scene at the close of the league after being severely hampered by injury in recent seasons. He suffered a serious hand injury in 2012 against Tipperary and tore his cruciate in 2014.

Michael Rice Kilkenny's Michael Rice Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Rice hit his stride for Kilkenny between 2009 and 2012 with a series of exceptional midfield displays. The St Kieran’s College teacher won All-Stars in 2009 and 2011 while in total he accumulated eight All-Ireland senior medals.

6. Wayne McNamara (Limerick – Adare)

The 30 year-old was the oldest member of TJ Ryan’s Limerick senior panel this season before retiring in October. He first joined the setup in 2006 before making his championship debut for Limerick in 2008.

Wayne McNamara

His main honour with Limerick came in 2013 when he was centre-back on a triumphant team in the Munster final. Was twice denied at the All-Ireland semi-final stage by Clare in 2013 and by Kilkenny in 2014.

7. Conor O’Brien (Tipperary – Éire Óg Annacarty)

A tenacious defender, O’Brien retired in October. The 31 year-old began his Tipperary senior career in 2007 yet found game time limited in recent seasons with injuries hindering his progress. He won two All-Ireland senior medals in 2010 and 2016.

Conor O'Brien is congratulated by fans

O’Brien claimed five Munster senior medals with Tipperary while also achieving that same honour at minor and U21 level.

8. Jackie Tyrrell (Kilkenny – James Stephens)

With nine All-Ireland senior medals to his name, Tyrrell fell just short in joining Henry Shefflin at the landmark number of 10 when Kilkenny lost out to Tipperary in September. He retired last month after a glittering career that also saw him claim 10 Leinster senior medals and be part of six National League triumphs.

Jackie Tyrrell celebrates at the final whistle

Tyrrell was an All-Star winner for four consecutive years between 2007 and 2010 while he also captained Kilkenny to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2006.

Tweet by @Henry Shefflin Source: Henry Shefflin/Twitter

9. Niall Corcoran (Dublin – Kilmacud Crokes)

A native of Galway, Corcoran transferred clubs from Meelick-Eyrecourt to Kilmacud Crokes. He was corner-back on the Dublin team that swept to league honours in 2011 and also the historic Leinster final victory in 2013.

Niall Corcoran

Corcoran retired last month with his last appearance for Dublin occurring in June’s championship tie against Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn.

10. Willie Hyland (Laois – Clough Ballacolla)

Hyland retired last month at the age of 28 due to persistent injury problems. He had been one of the leading lights for Laois hurling, helping them win Division 2 league finals in 2007 and 2013.

Willie Hyland

Hyland made his debut for Laois as a 17 year-old in 2006. He starred for Limerick IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup while also representing Leinster in the Railway Cup and Ireland in the Shinty-Hurling series.

11. Paddy Stapleton (Tipperary – Borris-Ileigh)

Another Tipperary defender who called it a day, Stapleton also won All-Ireland senior medals with the county in 2010 and 2016. He made his competitive debut for Tipperary in 2006 and his championship debut in the 2008 All-Ireland semi-final against Waterford.

Paddy Stapleton

Stapleton has six Munster senior medals to his credit along with a minor win in 2003 and an U21 success in 2006.

12. Gearoid Ryan (Tipperary – Templederry Kenyons)

Ryan became the third Tipperary All-Ireland winner to retire when he departed in November. He underwent surgery on both hips in 2013 and his involvement was limited in recent seasons.

Gearoid Ryan

He first joined the Tipperary panel in 2009 after claiming an All-Ireland minor medal in 2006. Ryan started at wing-forward in Tipperary’s thrilling 2010 All-Ireland success against Kilkenny.

13. Eoin Larkin (Kilkenny – James Stephens)

The 2008 Hurler of the Year closed the book on a glittering 12-year career with Kilkenny in early December. His last appearance for the Cats was in September’s All-Ireland final defeat to Tipperary.

Eoin Larkin

He garnered an extensive haul of honours with eight All-Irelands, 10 Leinsters, six National Leagues and two All-Stars. The James Stephens man had made his debut back in 2005.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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