Independent.ie Hurling Team of the Weekend
With two All-Ireland club semi-finals and two early season finals down for decision the hurling season is beginning to come to life. Independent.ie writer Michael Verney picked the hurling team of the weekend.
1. Colm Callanan (Galway)
The Kinvara net minder gave his usual steady performance for the Tribesmen and continues to enhance his reputation as one of the game's top keepers.
2. Fergal Moore (Galway)
Although operating at full-back the Turloughmore club man excelled in his side's Walsh Cup final victory breaking down many Dublin attacks.
3. Paul Schutte (Dublin)
With Peter Kelly given more freedom at centre-back, Cuala defender Schutte laid down a marker for the number three jersey in this year's league with a solid display.
4. Alan Cuddihy (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
Cuddihy was consistent throughout for the Leinster champions and neither of the Gort corner-forwards got any change out of the tight-marking defender.
5. David Collins (Galway)
The experienced half-back led Galway to a late victory over Dublin at HQ picking up their first piece of silveware of the new season.
6. Philip O'Loughlin (Kilmallock)
O'Loughlin is the linchpin of the Kilmallock defence and the Limerick side will be hoping for a similarly dominant display against Ballyhale, where the centre-back is expected to be in direct opposition to "King" Henry.
7. Greg Lally (Gort)
The Gort defence was run ragged by the Reids, Colin Fennelly and Henry Shefflin but captain Lally stood strong over the 60 minutes and never gave up the fight for his side.
8. Bob Aylward (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
Aylward and Conor Walsh bossed the midfield battle in O'Connor Park hitting 0-3 each and the experienced Aylward just edges his partner in crime after a stylish display.
9. Brian O'Sullivan (Killmallock)
The Limerick midfielder was everywhere in his side's victory over Portaferry helping himself to four points and guiding his side safely through to the club decider in March.
10. Richie Cummins (Gort)
It was a tough day at the office for the Galway side but speedster Cummins was a menace for the Ballyhale defence throughout and finished top scorer from play with 1-3.
11. Henry Shefflin (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
The 10-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny will visit Croke Park on St Patrick's Day in search of his third club championship after an imperious performance against Gort, including five points from play.
12. Paul Braniff (Portaferry)
Down ace Braniff took the game to Kilmallock and was Portaferry's top performer (0-9, 0-7 frees) in their heavy All-Ireland club semi-final defeat.
13. James Regan (Galway)
With star forwards Joe Canning and Conor Cooney both absent, Regan staked his claim for a starting berth in the first round of the league scoring 1-4 from play, including a crucial 68th minute kicked goal.
14. Anthony Healy (Meath)
Healy was the star man for the Royals bagging nine points (0-7 frees) en route to helping the Royals comfortable retain the Kehoe Cup with victory over Wicklow.
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Killmallock)
Despite being well marshalled early on, the lively corner-forward sprung to life in the second-half bagging 1-2, including a stunning goal.