Bruff lead the way on our Premier IHC team of the year

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After a lot of consideration Joel Slattery picks his Limerick Premier IHC team of the year.

After a lot of consideration Joel Slattery picks his Limerick Premier IHC team of the year.

Champions Bruff lead the way with six players on the team. Runners-up Croom had four players make the final XV.

Blackrock, who topped the group, had three players featuring on the side after a good, but ultimately disapointing year for the Rockies.

Garryspillane had two players selected meaning only the four semi-finalists had players make the team of the year.

There were many fine players who didn’t make the team, which was judged solely on performences in the Premier IHC this year.

1. Eric Finn (Bruff)

The Bruff stopper was the top goalie in the competition throughout the campaign. He topped it off with a solid display in the semi-final and final and looked cool under the pressure of the occasion. Also impressive were Garryspillane’s Vincent Sheahan and despite the struggles of Bruree and Knockaderry Daniel Lane and Michael O’Sullivan played well throughout the campaign

2. James O’Roirdan (Bruff)

The second Bruff man on the team is the tough defender O’Riordan. He gave up nothing easy and helped his side to the best defence in the championship. Croom’s Shane Lawlor and Tommy Clifford of Blackrock also impressed all year and can count themselves unlucky to miss out.

3. Mark O’Riordan (Croom)

‘Razor’ used all his sharp instincts playing all over the field in 2014. However, in the business end of the championship, he played at number three and was a big reason that Croom got to the final and came so close on the big day. Veterans Donie Ryan (Garryspillane) and Ritchie Murphy (Blackrock) also had campaigns to remember.

4. Kieran Larkin (Croom)

The Croom under-21 star missed last Sunday’s final through injury. However, throughout the group stage, Larkin kept a tight ship in the corner. Bruff’s Brian Finn played much of the year centre back but moved to the corner for the latter stages but performed well. Also, Bruree’s Kieran O’Rourke performed well in the championship and was close to getting the number four jersey.

5. Stephen Lucey (Croom)

The current Limerick senior footballer showed he still has what it takes with the small ball. He moved from the middle of the field to the half back line throughout the long campaign. He will be looking forward to returning to the pinnacle of Limerick hurling next year. Bruff’s Dean Madden and Niall Moloney of Blackrock played well all season and were considered for the position also.

6. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)

Richie has been nominated for All-Stars in the last three years and now gets into the Premier IHC team of the year also. McCarthy was a key part of the Blackrock team who topped the group stage of the competition before being knocked out in the semi-final. Peter Lawlor (Croom) and Cian Madden (Bruff) also had strong years with Lawlor moving around the field but playing his best hurling in the half back line.

7. Bobby O’Brien (Bruff)

The Bruff man became the first man to captain a Premier IHC winning side last Sunday. He led by example with performances on the field all year and is worthy of the left half back spot of the team. Gearoid O’Leary (Dromin-Athlacca) also had a strong campaign and Mark Deegan (Hospital-Herbertstown) captained the side and played well in tough circumstances.

8. Michael O’Donnell (Garryspillane)

Michael was outstanding for the Bouncers all year. His fielding was a feature of many championships games. Like so many players on this team, he moved around the field but he gets the number eight jersey in this team. Paudie Leahy (Blackrock) and Conor Allis (Croom) both had good campaigns at midfield and were key members of their respective teams.

9. Paul Browne (Bruff)

Paul Browne was one of the players of the championship. He controlled many games in the middle of the park and his distribution was different class. His midfield partner for the semi-final and final Tony Burke also played well as did Garryspillane’s county star James Ryan.

10. Tom Carmody (Croom)

Carmody was a revelation in the two semi-finals with Blackrock. He also scored nine points in the final so is worthy of his position on the XV. Danny Hayes (Garryspillane), Dave Moloney (Blackrock) and Paul Neenan (Dromin-Athlacca) all get honourable mentions.

11. Brendan Hennessy (Blackrock)

Hennessy’s aerial presence and willingness to fight for the dirty ball are his main attributes. His battles with Stephen Lucey over the two semi-finals were a joy to watch. Croom’s Eoin O’Farrell played well when he returned from America but didn’t play enough games to sneak his way in. Similarly, David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca), struggled with injury but when he was on the field, he was effective.

12. Chris Browne (Bruff)

The second Browne on the team completes the half forward line. Switching between the wing and the corner, Chris consistently got his name on the score-sheet. Conor Laffin (Croom), Browne’s team-mate Paddy O’Leary and Kevin Palmer (Blackrock) are all unlucky to be omitted.

13. Dylan Dawson (Blackrock)

The minor was a sensation all year for the Kilfinane and Ardpatrick men. His goal on his championship debut in injury to beat Knockaderry was one of the many great moments of the is competition. Bruff’s Shane Bulfin has been hitting frees with unerring accuracy and is unlucky to miss out. Knockaderry’s Liam O’Sullivan had a good year also.

14. Donie Ryan (Garryspillane)

In his 22nd championship season, Donie Ryan had another year to remember. Alongside his brother Dave, he is one of only two players to have both a senior and intermediate championship medal. The Bouncers will hope he will attempt to add a Premier IHC medal next year. Bruff’s John Cooke was also a candidate for the position. Blackrock’s Aidan Murphy played well also when he returned from Australia for the latter part of the season.

15. Sean Finn (Bruff)

Man of the match in the final, Finn also scored a hat trick against Hospital-Herbertstown, one of only two hat tricks in the competiton. He also scored a crucial goal in the first half of the final against Croom. In a competitive line, Rob Egan (Knockaderry), Mark Reidy (Croom) and Colin Ryan (Garryspillane) were all key assets to their respective clubs all year.