Sunday 15 September 2019

Noel McGrath pick of the bunch: Here is how the Tipperary and Kilkenny players rated in All-Ireland final

James Barry, left, and Noel McGrath of Tipperary celebrate
James Barry, left, and Noel McGrath of Tipperary celebrate

John Brennan

Here is how the players rated in today's All-Ireland hurling final between Tipperary and Kilkenny.

TIPPERARY

Brian Hogan - Organised his defence well and made sure there was cover at all times in the second half. 7

Cathal Barrett - Cleverly used as the extra man in the second half, Barrett swept and covered and made sure there was no goal for the Cats. 8

Barry Heffernan - Top class all through, and he led the aerial battle in the second half. Heffernan had a fine match. 8

Ronan Maher - A major contender for Hurler of the Year. Liam Sheedy trusted him with marking Colin Fennelly and Maher delivered. 8

Brendan Maher - Perhaps not as obvious as in previous matches, but the Borris-Ileigh man got his third All-Ireland medal today. 7

Padraic Maher - One soaring catch turned this game on its head. From the ball Maher won, Niall O’Meara goaled and Tipp marched to success. 9

Seamus Kennedy - Tough tackler who was up for the physical battle all through, Kennedy had a good 70 minutes. 8

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Noel McGrath - Had a wonderful game. Moved the ball around sweetly and fed his forwards superbly. 9

Michael Breen - He hurled well and moved the ball around like McGrath. Their markers were taken off, enough said. 8

Dan McCormack - Put in a hard shift in the first half, as Tipperary stayed with Kilkenny. 7

John O’Dwyer - What a piece of skill for his goal, that was ‘Bubbles’ at his best on a great day for Tipp. 8

Niall O’Meara - Picked to do the attacking grafting, but he showed his skill with a classy finish for the first goal. 8

Jason Forde - Always lively, always active and always showing for the pass, Forde had a good afternoon. 7

Seamus Callanan - Kilkenny tried to double-team him, or at least keep the sliotar from his way. But Callanan still did damage. 7

John McGrath - Picked off a couple of nice points that hurt Kilkenny at vital stages of the game. 7

Subs - Willie Connors came on and scored two points from play. 7

Mark Kehoe - We’ve been hearing about this lad for a while and there were glimpses of great talent. 7

Sean O’Brien - Shored things up at the back as Tiperary headed for home at the end. 6

KILKENNY

Eoin Murphy - No chance with any of the goals and Tipperary did well off his puck-outs, with Tipp men pulling them from the skies. 6

Paul Murphy - The corner-back saw plenty of the ball, but he just couldn’t turn the tide as Kilkenny’s backs shipped too many scores. 5

Huw Lawlor - Tied to curb Seamus Callanan, but the Tipp man got too much good ball for Lawlor to have a chance of holding him. 5

Joey Holden - All the Kilkenny backs will not remember this game fondly. Holden and his fellow defenders were well beaten. 5

Conor Fogarty - His marker, Niall O’Meara, got the better of Fogarty and the Kilkenny man could not get into the game. 6

Padraig Walsh - Tried manfully to stem the tide, but there was just too much ball coming at Walsh and his colleagues. 6

Paddy Deegan - Covered off as much as he could, but eventually the Kilkenny backs were swamped. 6

Cillian Buckley - Was he fully fit? Got on the ball a fair bit, but never really used it well. 5

Conor Browne - Like his midfield partner, he was taken off before the end. Kilkenny’s engine-room misfired today. 5

John Donnelly - The one Kilkenny forward who had a decent afternoon. Never stopped working. 8

TJ Reid - Would surely have been Hurler of the Year if the Cats had won. But he couldn’t turn this game for his team. 7

Walter Walsh - Won a few early balls, but faded after that as Tipp’s half-backs took over. 6

Adrian Mullen - Kilkenny gambled on playing him and it backfired. A shadow of the star of earlier in the season. 5

Colin Fennelly - Nothing went right for him as the Premier County identified him as the man who could hurt them - and marked Fennelly accordingly. 6

Richie Hogan - What a sad way for a great player to leave Croke Park. But the refs were told this season to clamp down on head-high challenges. 5

Subs - Billy Ryan- He won a fair bit of ball, but the goal would never come. 6

Richie Leahy - Should Kilkenny have started him in midfield? 5

Conor Delaney - He came on in the defence, but it never happened for him. 5

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