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'Tony is the best hurler I have ever played with. It's just phenomenal to have him on your team'

Clare All-Ireland Colin Ryan joined The42 GAA Weekly to review another big weekend of hurling.

A dejected Tony Kelly after Saturday's game with team-mate Paul Flanagan.
A dejected Tony Kelly after Saturday's game with team-mate Paul Flanagan.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

CLARE’S HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP run ended on Saturday and the focus was once again on their star man Tony Kelly.

Kelly lit up their qualifier clash in the Gaelic Grounds as he scored 1-11 but was foiled by a brilliant stop by Cork goalkeeper Patrick Collins as he sought a late match-winning goal.

Colin Ryan, Kelly’s team-mate for the 2013 All-Ireland success, joined Maurice Brosnan and Fintan O’Toole on the latest edition of The42 GAA Weekly.

The lads discussed Cork’s defensive improvements, the fine margins that settled the game at the Gaelic Grounds, the substitutes that made a major impact and evaluated Kelly’s status in the game.

“If there was one player that we wanted to have on the ball, it was Tony,” said Ryan.

“He just seemed to glide but the one thing that Tony probably will be regretting now is that he didn’t hit it into the ground or high or something like that.

“It seemed like was just that last ditch effort where he just hit it as hard as he could. (Patrick) Collins stood up to it, he was brave, he cut his angles and that was it. Sometimes you get the luck and they bounce out and you can get a tap in. But it just wasn’t to be for Clare, I think we just left it too late.

“I think Tony is the best hurler I have ever played with. It’s just phenomenal to have him on your team. I think people forget the age gap between him and the likes of TJ (Reid) and Seamus Callanan and Patrick Horgan and Joe Canning.

“There’s nearly six years between them. So the good news for Clare fans is Tony coming into that bracket now in his prime. We’re just lucky that there is a bit of a changing of the guard, that the likes of Tony Kelly and Cian Lynch and Kyle Hayes are going to be the poster boys of hurling for another couple of years. I’m just glad to be looking at Tony for another few years in his prime hopefully.”

There was plenty more hurling to discuss from the weekend. Waterford are back on track, energised by the brilliance of Jamie Barron and Calum Lyons, while the lads also wondered how Galway can rejuvenate their challenge after a disappointing year.

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Plus there’s praise for a Laois hurling revival, the qualifier draw that pits Liam Cahill against Liam Sheedy, and much more.

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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