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Power ranking the 10 best hurling games of the summer - do you agree?

We enjoyed another exceptional year of hurling, but only one game was ever going to top this list.

10. Galway 1-22 Laois 0-23

Leinster SHC quarter-final, 1 June

Laois came close to causing a massive early season shock when they were within minutes of beating Galway in the opening round of the Leinster championship. It was a remarkable game, made even more so because Galway powered into a 1-3 to no score lead after nine minutes.

But the underdogs exerted control and lead by 0-16 to 1-7 with a host of fantastic long range scores. Galway upped the ante and drew level by the 60th minute and eventually hit the lead, but ‘Chedder’ Plunkett’s side could have netted a late, late winner when goalkeeper Eoin Reilly’s 20-metre free was stopped on the line.

Source: hockeyhurlingshinty5/YouTube

9. Cork 2-24 Limerick 0-24

Munster SHC final, 13 June

The Munster hurling championship was full of epic games this year and the final was a memorable one as Cork exacted revenge on Limerick for their defeat in the same game last year.

In an exciting close-fought contest, second half goals from Seamus Harnedy and Paudie O’Sullivan sealed the Rebel victory in the final championship game to be played in the old Pairc Uí Chaoimh.

Source: CorkGAA MatchReports/YouTube

8. Tipperary 2-16 Limerick 2-18

Munster SHC semi-final, 1 June

Largely written off before the game, the reigning Munster champions consigned Tipperary to a third consecutive championship defeat at Semple Stadium. In a game full of drama, Shane Dowling (scorer of 2-9) cracked home a stunning goal in the 68th minute to bring the game level.

Sub Thomas Ryan pointed to send the Shannonsiders in front and then Seamus Hickey landed over the insurance score to seal their first championship win over Tipp in Thurles since 1973. The sides were level five times in the second half of a thrilling and Tipp looked to have sealed the win before Dowling’s late heroics.

Source: hockeyhurlingshinty5/YouTube

7. Cork 1-21 Waterford 1-21

Munster SHC quarter-final, 25 May

The opening game of the championship sparked the summer into life as Cork fought back for a draw in a heart-stopping game with Waterford. Beaten in last year’s All-Ireland final, the Rebels were expected to make light work of a youthful Waterford side, but it was the Deise who really should have won as they led by nine points at the midway point of the second half.

Bill Cooper kick-started the Cork revival with a scrappy goal before a string of scores from Patrick Horgan and Alan Cadogan ensured a replay. Austin Gleeson had earlier announced himself on the senior scene with three wonder scores – a sideline cut, a sublime point on the turn and a wonder goal that will be long remembered.

Source: CorkGAA MatchReports/YouTube

6. Tipperary 3-25 Galway 4-13

All-Ireland SHC qualifiers Round 1, 5 July

The turning point in Tipp’s season arrived when after 51 minutes of this first round qualifier, when they trailed Galway by 4-12 to 1-15.

But a remarkable final 20 minutes saw Eamon O’Shea’s rejuvenated troops outscore the Tribesmen by 2-10 to 0-1 to seal a thrilling nine point win. Seamus Callanan, who finished the game with 3-8, bagged two goals during that period as ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and Noel McGrath also cut loose.

Seamus Callanan celebrates scoring his third goal Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. Kilkenny 2-13 Limerick 0-17

All-Ireland SHC semi-final, 10 August

Kilkenny’s semi-final win over Limerick was played out in biblical conditions and it showed a different side to Cody’s men as they grafted to a narrow victory. Limerick, for all their effort, just couldn’t find the net and ultimately that was the difference between the sides.

In a fantastically tenacious game, Limerick bested Kilkenny for long periods but as the game wore on they struggled to score from play. Kilkenny’s marvelous work-rate was highlighted when Colin Fennelly was alert to deny Graeme Mulcahy a goal.

Richie Power’s 56th minute goal proved the decisive score as the teams only hit three points between them in the closing 16 minutes.

Source: RTÉ Sport/YouTube

4. Clare 2-25 Wexford 2-25 (aet)

All-Ireland SHC qualifiers Round 1, 5 July

Clare’s survival in a ferocious battle with Wexford was one of the highlights of the early part of the championship. Last season’s story was written with Clare’s name on the top but they went desperately close to being dumped out of the championship here.

Clare, who never once led the game in normal time, came back from 10 points behind when they posted a late 1-1 to send the game into extra-time. They did so without Allstar Podge Collins, who was red carded right before half-time.

Wexford led in extra-time before a Shane McGrath goal brought things level. McGrath’s late point looked to have sealed the Banner win but Paul Morris struck with the last puck of the game to give Wexford a deserved second-chance.

Seadna Morey scores a goal Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

 3. Galway 5-16 Kilkenny 3-22

Leinster SHC semi-final, 22 June

In a finish that must have made Brian Cody’s blood boil, Galway netted three late goals to complete an astonishing comeback and rescue a replay against the Cats. The best game of the provincial championships simmered along nicely for the most part with Kilkenny appearing to be headed towards a predictable win.

Then all hell broke loose when two Conor Cooney goals and a Joe Canning penalty drew the sides level with time almost up. Henry Shefflin arrived from the bench to send Kilkenny back on the road to victory from a narrow angle before Canning forced a draw from an even tighter angle.

It was an extraordinary finish to an extraordinary game that ebbed and flowed before a barnstorming finish.

Source: MarcasOCallanain/YouTube

2. Wexford 2-25 Clare 2-22 (aet)

All-Ireland SHC qualifiers Round 1 replay, 5 July

Who knew first round qualifiers could be so epic? The reigning Liam MacCarthy champions were unceremoniously dumped from the championship in a game that was epic in every sense. The champions finally ran out of lives as a Harry Kehoe goal and three late scores from Jack Guiney sent Wexford over the line.

Clare were delighted to reach extra-time, considering the normal-time dismissals of Breandan Bugler and Jack Browne. Darach Honan’s goal had Clare 1-5 to 0-6 in front at half-time, but there were plenty of twists to come as Colin Ryan needed a last gasp ’65′ to bring the teams to extra-time once again.

Source: hockeyhurlingshinty5/YouTube

1. Kilkenny 3-22 Tipperary 1-28

All-Ireland SHC final, 7 September

None of the pretenders even come close to this one. Quite possibly the greatest hurling game of all-time, it was the most riveting sporting occasion you could imagine. John O’Dwyer’s last second free was denied by Hawk-Eye, but had it gone over it would have been audacious enough to end the spectacle on a fitting note.

Afterwards we thanked the heavens that we could watch it all again in three weeks. The game held a vice-like grip over its’ audience throughout, with the great rivals level on 12 occasions. Tipp were in most danger of losing, they trailed by four points three separate times, none more desperate than in the final ten minutes when they managed to drag themselves level thanks to O’Dwyer’s seventh point.

Source: Georgie Casey/YouTube


Don’t agree? What were your best championship games of 2014? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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