10 hurlers with a point to prove in 2017
The Allianz Hurling League begins this weekend and there are a number of players with added motivation as the 2017 campaign begins. Here are 10 hurlers hoping to prove a point.
1. Cathal Mannion (Galway)
The rampaging Galway forward was an All Star in 2015 but was held scoreless before being taken off in last year's All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary.
2. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
The 2015 Hurler of the Year failed to have the same impact last year. He was as accurate as ever last season but his influence from general play waned.
3. Stephen O'Brien (Tipperary)
He failed to make Tipperary's 26-man squad for the All-Ireland final. Much was made of his decision to throw his lot in with the hurlers last season, missing out on the footballers' run to the All-Ireland semi-final.
4. Colin Dunford (Waterford)
Scored four points in the loss to Kilkenny in 2015 but his position came under increasing pressure last year and he needs to re-establish himself as a starter.
5. Gearoid Hegarty (Limerick)
He illustrated his skills as a footballer to inspire UL to victory over DIT yesterday in the quarter-finals of the Independent.ie Sigerson Cup. He's been named vice-captain of the Limerick hurlers and needs to step up to the mark quickly for the Treaty men.
6. Pat Horgan (Cork)
He remains lethal from placed balls but scores from play have dried up. The Rebels need him to recapture his best form.
7. Gary Maguire (Dublin)
Conor Dooley is really pushing him for the starting berth as goalkeeper for Ger Cunningham's side.
8. Jack Guiney (Wexford)
Davy Fitzgerald has restored Guiney to the Wexford panel. Discipline issues have haunted him in recent seasons but his new boss may be able to get the best out of him.
9. Patrick Donnellan (Clare)
The 2013 All-Ireland-winning captain is on his way back from a cruciate injury. At 31, Donnellan will be under pressure from younger players for a starting position.
10. Kieran Joyce (Kilkenny)
He was man of the match in 2014 All-Ireland final replay but has struggled to secure a place in Brian Cody's backline since. He replaced the injured Michael Fennelly for last year's September decider but was taken off.