Sunday 21 January 2018

10 hurlers with a point to prove in 2017

Patrick Horgan, TJ Reid and Cathal Mannion will be looking for an upturn in fortunes in 2017
Patrick Horgan, TJ Reid and Cathal Mannion will be looking for an upturn in fortunes in 2017 Newsdesk Newsdesk

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.

Cathal Mannion, an All Star in 2015, was the star man as he shot a personal tally of 2-11 for the Galway champions. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

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.

Neal McAuley of Antrim in action against TJ Reid of Kilkenny. Photo: Sportsfile

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.

Stephen O'Brien has committed to the hurlers for the coming year

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.

The look on Colin Dunford’s face says it all about Waterford’s display in the Munster SHC final as Tipperary players and supporters celebrate on the pitch. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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 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.

Limerick's Gearoid Hegarty in action against Ciaran Russell of Clare

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.

Pat Horgan: 'We went on that holiday, and you think I'm only saying this, but the 30 fellas are really tight now.' Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

7. Gary Maguire (Dublin)

Conor Dooley is really pushing him for the starting berth as goalkeeper for Ger Cunningham's side.

Gary Maguire in action for Dublin. Photo: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile

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.

Jack Guiney: Opted out in April. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

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.

Patrick Donnellan. Photo: Sportsfile

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.

Kieran Joyce will line out at centre half-back for Kilkenny. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

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