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After confirmation by the Government that the All Ireland hurling Championship can begin as planned at the weekend, it got us thinking. What if we could put a team together capable of winning the 2020 All Ireland?
So we have gone and done it. The only rule in this combined XV. A maximum of two players per county can be selected.
Enda Rowland (Laois)
A vital member of the Laois team that made it through to the All Ireland quarter final in 2019, the Abbeyleix man was made captain for the 2020 season such is his importance to Eddie Brennan’s men.
2. Sean Finn (Limerick)
The quintessential modern day corner back, the Bruff player’s versatility in his defensive play is what marks him out among the game’s elite defenders.
3 Liam Ryan (Wexford)
Big, strong and physical the Rapparees man is also a brilliant hurler, as his point against Tipperary in the 2019 All Ireland semi final proves.
4. Paddy Smyth (Dublin)
The Clontarf man only made his senior Championship debut for Dublin in 2018 but has already shown himself to be one of the finest corner backs in Ireland with his displays since his arrival on the scene.
— Dublin GAA (@DubGAAOfficial) February 25, 2019
5 Padraic Mannion (Galway)
The Galway captain for 2020 is without doubt one of the finest hurlers in the country when he is in full flow. At his best when he is driving out of the Galway defence, Mannion will be relied upon by Shane O Neill, as the Galway boss looks to lead Galway back into the picture for another All Ireland after a disappointing 2019.
6. Padraig Walsh (Kilkenny)
An all round brilliant hurler. Every team would love to have a player like the Tullaroan man. A two time All-Star, Walsh is the glue which holds the Kilkenny defence together. Designated to fill the problem position of full back for a couple of seasons before Hugh Lawlor’s introduction, Brian Cody now has the luxury of using Walsh out the field.
7. Padraic Maher (Tipperary)
The iron man of the Tipp defence, six time All-Star Padraic Maher has been a shining light for Tipperary since he made his debut in 2009. His ability under a high ball is sensational, as his ability to read the game from the half back line, while his ability to pop up with scores on a consistent level mark him out as one of the hurlers of his generation.
8 Tony Kelly (Clare)
One of the finest hurlers to ever come out of Clare, Kelly could have been selected in a number of positions on this select XV. A previous hurler of the year winner, Kelly has been a stalwart of the Clare team since he burst on the scene in 2012. Still only 26, its a scary thought for opposition managers and players that the Ballyea man should now only be hitting his hurling prime.
9. Jamie Barron (Waterford)
— The GAA (@officialgaa) June 8, 2019
A two time All-Star, Barron has often been the highlight in a struggling Waterford side over the last couple of years. A bundle of energy in midfield with a fair helping of class to go with it, Barron has managed to maintain his excellent form even if his team’s performances in the Championship have slipped.
10. Lee Chin (Wexford)
The Faythe Harriers star was instrumental for Wexford in 2019 as they won their first Leinster in 15 years, and pushed Tipperary all the way in their All Ireland semi final. Awarded his first All Star for his performances, Chin will again be vital as Davy Fitzgerald’s team look to make further progress in the Championship in 2020.
11. TJ Reid (Kilkenny)
One of the best hurlers of his generation, Reid is undoubtedly the leader of Kilkenny hurling these days. Deadly accurate from placed balls and open play, Reid is also a ferocious winner of ball anywhere in the forward line. This enables him to pick off scores himself or lay on assists for his teammates, which he does better than anyone else.
What a goal for Kilkenny's TJ Reid!! pic.twitter.com/cRBPUUbHJR
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 11, 2019
12. Joe Canning (Galway)
— The GAA (@officialgaa) September 2, 2017
The Portumna man took his own personal form to new levels at the back end of the 2010’s, culminating in finally winning the All Ireland in 2017. Canning was also the Hurler of the year that year, an award he could have easily won again in 2018 as his game went to even higher standards. A poor year in 2019 for his county that included a long term injury for the 32 year old, means both Canning and his teammates should be raring to go when their 2020 Championship gets underway.
13. Aaron Gillane (Limerick)
The Patrickswell forward is improving with each year he is in a Limerick jersey. A back to back All Star winner in 2018 and 2019, Gillane is now one of the most feared inside forwards in the game.
14. Seamus Callanan Tipperary
The most devastating forward in hurling today. Callanan fittingly won the Hurler of the Year award for his exploits with Tipperary in 2019, when he catapulted his already stellar career to even greater heights. He scored eight goals in the 2019 Championship, one in every game as he led his county to his third All Ireland medal and fourth All-Star. He also overtook Henry Shefflin as the highest ever Championship scorer from open play.
15. Patrick Horgan Cork
Still to win an All Ireland, don’t let that underestimate just how great a player Patrick Horgan really is. The third highest scorer in Championship history, Horgan has been the highest scoring free taker of the last decade. His scoring record from play stacks up against the best as well however, with only Seamus Callanan scoring more from play over the last decade than the Glen Rovers man.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 14, 2019