John Mullane: Here’s my team of the Decade – and, I’m not in it!

King Henry on the bench. Controversial, John.

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What a decade of hurling it has been and it all kicked off with Waterford winning a Munster title in 2010. I was on that team but over the last ten years, we’ve seen so many things happen.

In that time, Kilkenny have won four All Irelands, and contested another three, while Tipperary won in 2010, 2016 & 2019. But what else are we forgetting? The year 2013 saw Clare beat Cork after a replay and that was a year which saw Anthony Daly lead Dublin to Leinster success for the first time in 52 years.

I’ll never forget Waterford’s near-miss against Galway in the 2017 All Ireland Final but we’ve been treated to some unbelievable games since 2010. So, looking back on what’s been a brilliant ten years in hurling, here’s my team of the decade.

Read: John Mullane: These are challenging times for everyone in the GAA Community

John Mullane’s Team Of The Decade

Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny); Four All Irelands and two Allstars in the last decade. His performance against Limerick in the 2017 All Ireland quarter-final was undoubtedly the best goalkeeping performance of the decade. He’s just the complete goalkeeper.

JJ Delaney (Kilkenny); One of the greatest backs of his generation and one of the Kilkenny greats too. His ‘hook’ on Callanan in the 2014 All Ireland replay was sensational. One of the good guys in the GAA too.

Daithi Burke (Galway); The best full back in the last 10 years and was a big player for Galway getting over the line in 2018. An Allstar in 2015, 2016, 2017& 2018 and held Callanan scoreless from play in the 2016 All Ireland semi-final. Not too many fellas can say that.   

Noel Connors (Waterford); I won a Munster title with him in 2010 and I saw up close how good he was from the very start. One of the lads who had the Indian sign over Patrick Horgan and has three Allstars to his name.

Brendan Maher (Tipperary); After his performances in 2019, what can you can about him? To play such a pivotal role after coming back from a cruciate injury was remarkable. Mr Reliable and a dream player to have on any team.

Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh (Waterford); 76 championship appearances, which is an unbelievable record. Seemed to get better with age and could play in any position.   

Padraic Maher (Tipperary); If you were to pick one defender throughout the decade, he’s your man, Five Allstars to go along with some massive performances. Hasn’t missed a championship game since he started in 2009. One of the greatest Tipp hurlers of all time.  

Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny); Hurler Of The Year in 2011 but how this man has got through his career given his injuries. Scored that unbelievable goal against Tipp in the 2011 final and was a massive cog in the Kilkenny wheel throughout the decade.

David Burke (Galway); Galway’s captain in 2017 & played in four All Ireland finals during the decade. Came up with some massive scores to get Galway over the line in 2017.

Tony Kelly (Clare); Hurler Of The Year & Young Hurler Of The Year in 2013. What a joy to watch and put up some massive scores in Clare’s All Ireland win.  

Joe Canning (Galway); Probably the greatest Galway hurler ever. Who’ll ever forget his winning point against Tipp in the 2017 semi-final. For many years, he was fighting a lone battle up front for Galway. A massive player all round.

TJ Reid (Kilkenny); Just look what he’s after doing over the course of the last 10 years. He’s been talked in the same mould as Henry Shefflin and that tells you everything you need to know. Played in 9 All Ireland finals, including replays. He’s been a joy to watch.

Richie Hogan (Kilkenny); His goal in the 2011 All Ireland final was one of the goals of the decade. Hurler Of The Year in 2014 and there were times he was playing when he shouldn’t have been playing. He’s been a massive player for Kilkenny.

Seamus Callanan (Tipperary); Three All Irelands in the decade and his performance in the 2016 final, when he scored nine points from play, was incredible. Scored a goal in every game of the championship last year and that’s just unheard of.

Patrick Horgan (Cork); He’s in that bracket of one of the greatest hurlers never to win an All Ireland. Three Allstars in the last three years and three Munster titles too.

The Subs Bench;

Noel McGrath,
Brendan Maher,
Henry Shefflin,
Lee Chin,
Liam Rushe,
Declan Hannon,
Seamus Hickey,
Shane Dowling.

Hurler Of The Decade – TJ Reid (Kilkenny)

I narrowed it down to TJ Reid, Padraic Maher, Joe Canning & Seamus Callanan. If you told TJ at the start of the decade that he’d win four All Irelands, along with everything else he’s done in that period, he probably wouldn’t have believed you. Just an incredible player.

Manager Of The Decade – Brian Cody (Kilkenny)

Match Of The Decade – Kilkenny v Tipperary (2014 All Ireland SHC Final)

Moment Of The Decade – Nicky Quaid’s Save v Cork (2018 All Ireland SHC Semi-Final)

Goal Of The Decade – Joe Canning v Kilkenny (2015 Leinster SHC Final)

Point Of The Decade – Donal O’Donovan v Cork (2013 All Ireland SHC Final)

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