Tuesday 17 September 2019

Callanan out to stretch goalscoring exploits and eclipse Ring and Carey

Prolific: Tipperary marksman Seamus Callanan. Photo: Sportsfile
Prolific: Tipperary marksman Seamus Callanan. Photo: Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Seamus Callanan's goal charge is one of the stand-out stories of the 2019 hurling championship. The Tipperary ace is currently tied with DJ Carey and the late Christy Ring as the joint second-most prolific goal scorer in the history of championship hurling.

All three have scored 33 goals in the championship so Callanan is poised to overtake this legendary pair. But he could be second overall in the goal scoring hierarchy before the end of the season.

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Currently Kilkenny's Eddie Keher is on 35 goals, so if Callanan scores three more goals this season he will move into outright second place. But he has some distance to make up as the all-time championship goalscoring record was set by the late Nicky Rackard - who hit an eye-popping 59 goals.

Three of the top seven scorers from play in the 2019 All-Ireland hurling championship will feature in today's All-Ireland semi-final - and they all play for Tipperary.

Callanan, who is second overall behind Cork's Patrick Horgan, is Tipp's top marksman from play. He has scored 6-14 and he's on a goal a game so far in the series.

His scoring exploits - which leave him eighth overall in the 2019 scoring charts - are all the more remarkable as he no longer takes Tipperary's frees.

Even though his form has dipped in the last two matches, John McGrath has hit 2-15 and is third overall in the rankings, while Jason Forde's 1-14 from play leaves him seventh on the list.

Overall, the latter has scored a total of 2-45, leaving him third in the overall charts behind Cork's Patrick Horgan and TJ Reid from Kilkenny.

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Tipperary have averaged 2-23 per game so far in the championship but Wexford's strength is their ability to close down opposing forward divisions.

The goal teenager Adrian Mullen scored for Kilkenny in the round robin Leinster series is the only one Wexford has conceded from open play this summer. The other goal Mark Fanning conceded came from a late free from Dublin's Sean Moran.

Fanning kept clean sheets against Galway, Carlow and against the Cats in the Leinster final and overall Wexford have conceded an average of 20.2 points per game.

Lee Chin (0-44) is the only Wexford player to make the top 10, lying fifth overall, but his colleagues Rory O'Connor (2-9) and Conor McDonald (1-12) are in joint eighth place in the list of top scorers from play. The latter has also hit two points from sideline cuts.

But much of the attention today will be focused on Callanan because Wexford will rightly feel that if they can stop him from scoring a major for the first time in the 2019 championship they will have one foot in the All-Ireland final.

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