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AIB GAA Club Hurling Team of the Year 2018/19

eoin-cody-ballyhale-shamrocks-corner-forward

04 Apr 2019

Posted in:  Club

The AIB GAA club players’ awards are back again after another thrilling season spent chasing #TheToughest title of all.

There were stars in every team, but we’ve narrowed it down to the 15 who made it count most often on the big days.

All-Ireland champions Ballyhale Shamrocks have been rewarded with six gongs, Munster champions Ballygunner is represented by five players, Ulster kingpins Ruairí Óg Cushendall have two, while St Thomas’ and Coolderry also collect one apiece.

 

AIB GAA FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR

1. Stephen O’Keeffe

County: Waterford

Club: Ballygunner

Position: Goalkeeper

O’Keeffe has been one of the best keepers in the country for a number of years now, and his distribution regularly sets up attacks for the Waterford kingpins. Not only that, but at times he doubles up as a deep-lying outfield player looking to take the ball from defenders. The Ballygunner joint-captain scored a penalty just before half-time to level the Munster final against Na Piarsaigh, and made crucial saves to cap off a fine display, which he consistently produced throughout the year.

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2. Eoghan Campbell

County: Antrim

Club: Ruairí Óg

Position: Wing-back

Steady as a rock for the Antrim side over the past three seasons, a man who reads the game so well, and a player whose athleticism makes him one of the best backs in the country. Campbell was exceptional in the Ulster final and even chipped in with a point.

3. Joey Holden

County: Kilkenny

Club: Ballyhale Shamrocks

Position: Full-back

The 2015 All-Star and All-Ireland winning captain has probably just had his most outstanding season in a club shirt. He was exceptional in the All-Ireland club semi-final against Ballygunner, killing a lot of the Waterford side’s threat inside, which allowed Shamrocks’ forward stars to go and win the game.

4. Ian Kenny

County: Waterford

Club: Ballygunner

Position: Wing-back

Plenty of folk in Ballygunner feel that Ian Kenny should be a mainstay of the Waterford side, and his credentials were done little harm when he did a fine man marking job in the Munster club final. Also, he had a superb performance against Ballyhale in the All-Ireland semi-final.

5. Philip Mahony

County: Waterford

Club: Ballygunner

Position: Wing-back

Mahony is one of the best defenders in the club championship, and one of the most respected Ballygunner players that the parish look to in big games. Solid throughout the season despite always having to mark key attackers— generally coming out on top. His biggest moment was coming up to score a goal that saved the day against Ballyea during the Munster championship.

6. Michael Fennelly

County: Kilkenny

Club: Ballyhale Shamrocks

Position: Centre-back

Fennelly is the bulwark of the Ballyhale team, screening in front of the full-back line and driving the ball out in front of him. The 2011 Hurler of the Year remains one of the best readers of the game in the country and always pops up where needs to be. A consistent player that will always deliver on big match days.

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7. Fintan Burke

County: Galway

Club: St Thomas

Position: Wing-back

Burke, a cousin of Galway captain David, was a top performer for the club all season and no doubt his biggest performance came in the All-Ireland club semi-final against Cushendall. On a day when St Thomas would feel they underperformed, the wing-back won man of the match as he helped lead the Tribal County champions over the line.

8. Shane O’Sullivan

County: Waterford

Club: Ballygunner

Position: Midfield

O’Sullivan is one of the most dependable men on the Ballygunner team and was solid the entire season. Stood up when the team weren’t going well against Midleton in the Munster championship, and, also a defender who could stop key forwards. He never lets the side down.

9. Neil McManus

County: Antrim

Club: Ruairí Óg

Position: Midfield

Always a consistent performer and a player that teams would have pin pointed as a key threat. McManus scored nine points in the Ulster final win over Ballycran. Unfortunately, for the Saffron County side, another 1-6 couldn’t quite help his club over St Thomas in the All-Ireland semi-final.

10. Adrian Mullen

County: Kilkenny

Club: Ballyhale Shamrocks

Position: Wing-forward

Locally, Mullen has been identified as a coming star for a long time, but the forward truly announced himself to the GAA public on #TheToughest trail. Two points in the semi-final win against Ballygunner complemented a hard-running performance that eventually helped wear the Waterford side down. Five points from play on the big day at Croke Park showed what this star in waiting is truly about. Could be the next big thing from Ballyhale.

11. TJ Reid

County: Kilkenny

Club: Ballyhale Shamrocks

Position: Centre-forward

Now a four time All-Ireland club winner Reid was marked by the opposition’s best defenders en route to St Patrick's Day, and yet almost always made his mark. Nine points in the All-Ireland final, including four from play, crowned another fine season.

12. Pauric Mahony

County: Waterford

Club: Ballygunner

Position: Wing-forward

One of the cleverest forwards in the game Mahony was centre to “the Gunners” first Munster title since 2001, scoring 1-6 in the final. Before that, he managed an incredible 14 points (8 from frees) against Ballyea in semi-final and 12 from placed balls against Midleton in the quarter final.

pauric-mahony-ballygunner-waterford

 

13. Eoin Cody

County: Kilkenny

Club: Ballyhale Shamrocks

Position: Wing-forward

Cody hit a couple of points in the All-Ireland final to cap off a fine season, but his 1-4 was truly decisive in the huge semi-final meeting with Ballygunner. In a tight game in Thurles, Cody took his  goal like a veteran.

14. Colin Fennelly

County: Kilkenny

Club: Ballyhale Shamrocks

Position: Full-forward

No prizes for guessing what the high watermark of Colin Fennelly’s season was. The 2-4 he blasted in on the biggest day of the season punctured any chances St Thomas might have had of springing a surprise. His crowning moment was a flying flick to the net for a memorable goal in the first half.

15. Brian Carroll

County: Offaly

Club: Coolderry

Position: Corner-forward

Coolderry’s season came to a halt in the Leinster Senior Hurling club semi-final against Ballyboden, in what may well go down as the craziest game of the season. The Dublin side eventually won by 5-28 to 5-25 after extra time, with Carroll scoring 2-16 (2-5 from play), building on the impressive 1-5 he had hit against Mount Leinster Rangers.

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