Martin Breheny, arguably the best GAA journalist currently, had a great article in last Saturday’s Irish Independent which I can no longer find on their
so I’m putting some of it here. The main gist of it was that current players have raised the level of hurling to an all-time high and then looking at players from different eras and trying to compare them. The most interesting part was where he listed 5 teams, the best of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s.
His best 15 of this current decade was:
Damien Fitzhenry; Noel Hickey, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Ollie Canning; Tommy Walsh, Ken McGrath, Sean Og O’hAilpin; Derek Lyng, Jerry O’Connor; Martin Comerford, Henry Shefflin, Ben O’Connor; Eoin Kelly, Dan Shanahan, Joe Deane;
I’m sure everyone would have their own personal preferences but generally you can’t quibble with that line-up, it’s a very strong one.
Going back through the decades then we have:
60’s: Ollie Walsh (KK); John Doyle (Tip), Austin Flynn (Wat), Tom Neville (Wex); Seamus Cleere (KK), Tony Wall (Tip), Mick Roche (Tip); Theo English (Tip), Paddy Moran (KK); Jimmy Doyle (Tip), Leam Devaney (Tip), Babs Keating (Tip); Donie Nealon (Tip), Christy Ring (Cor), Tommy Walsh (KK);
70’s: Noel Skehan (KK); Fan Larkin (KK), Pat Hartigan (Lim), John Horgan (Cork); Mick Jacob (Wex), Pat Henderson (KK), John Connolly (Gal); Joe McKenna (Lim), Ray Cummins (Cor), Eddie Keher (KK); Martin Quigley (Wex), Tony Doran (Wex), Eamon Cregan (Lim);
80’s: Ger Cunningham (Cor); Joe Hennessy (KK), Conor Hayes (Gal), Sylvie Linnane (Gal); Pete Finnerty (Gal), Ger Henderson (KK), Ger Coughlan (Off); John Fenton (Cor), Steve Mahon (Gal); Nicky English (Tip), Joe Cooney (Gal), Tony O’Sullivan (Cor); Jimmy Barry-Murphy (Cor), Liam Fennelly (KK), Seanie O’Leary (Cor);
90’s: Davy Fitzgerald (Cla); Brian Corcoran (Cor), Brian Lohan (Cla), Martin Hanamy (Off); Brian Whelehan (Off), Seanie McMahon (Cla), Anthony Daly (Cla); Tommy Dunne (Tip), Ciaran Carey (Lim); Jamsie O’Connor (Cla), Gary Kirby (Lim), Martin Storey (Wex); Pat Fox (Tip), DJ Carey (KK), Michael Cleary (Tip);
Looking at those the 70s team seems the most powerful of the lot although 1-7 on the 90s team and 10-15 on the current team look like they’d be more than a match for anyone.
Martin Breheny’s Championship preview
GPA Hurling Team of the Year of 2007
All Ireland Hurling Championship Betting