AUSOME

Eoin’s Down Un­der af­ter mem­o­rable year as the No.1 No.1

Irish Daily Mirror - - SPORTS - BY PAT NOLAN

EOIN MUR­PHY’S achieve­ment in be­ing named the PWC All Star goal­keeper is put into per­spec­tive when a cou­ple of things are con­sid­ered.

Not only was he the first player to win an All Star from out­side the All-ire­land semi-fi­nal­ists since 2012, but the first goal­keeper to be cho­sen from a team that hadn’t reached the last four since Bren­dan Cum­mins of Tip­per­ary back in 2000.

That was the first of five awards for Cum­mins, who was widely con­sid­ered to be the best goal­keeper from what has been de­scribed as a golden era for the po­si­tion, with

Davy Fitzger­ald

(three All

Stars), Donal

Og Cu­sack

(two) and

Damien Fitzhenry (two) all at or near their peak in that mid-90s to mid-00s pe­riod.

But the qual­ity is ar­guably as high, if not higher, right now and Mur­phy’s se­lec­tion at the head of such a field, from which some played up to three Cham­pi­onship games af­ter Kilkenny’s elim­i­na­tion, says much for the qual­ity of his dis­plays in 2018.

Sim­i­lar to foot­ball, it’s prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult po­si­tion in which to win the award now.

“Cer­tainly so,” Mur­phy agrees, ahead of to­mor­row’s game with Gal­way in Syd­ney for the Wild Geese Tro­phy.

“An­thony Nash has been at the top of his game in the last cou­ple of years in terms of short puck­outs, long-range frees and how you dis­trib­ute the ball. He’s af­ter bring­ing that to an­other level.

“Nickie

Quaid has been ul­tra-con­sis­tent as well and prob­a­bly didn’t get enough plau­dits un­til this year.

“If you look at any county in the top level in hurl­ing, they all have top-class keep­ers. You look at the likes of Alan Nolan and Gary Maguire in Dublin, Mark Fan­ning in Wex­ford, and Gal­way have three top-class keep­ers in Fer­gal Flan­nery, Colm Cal­lanan and James Ske­hill.

“It’s ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive, so even to be nom­i­nated is an achieve­ment in it­self. Ob­vi­ously then to be picked by the se­lec­tors is a proud mo­ment.”

Mur­phy’s clos­est chal­lenger for the All Star this year was prob­a­bly Lim­er­ick’s Quaid who, like the Glen­more man, plays out­field for his club.

“For my­self and Nickie it’s more of a ben­e­fit for us that we play out the field be­cause we are a lot more com­fort­able on the ball. The game is evolv­ing so the keep­ers have to as well. I’d feel I’m a small part of that.”

CATS ON TOUR Kilkenny ace Eoin Mur­phy at Syd­ney Opera House yes­ter­day ahead of Wild Geese clash with Gal­way

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