The position of goalkeeper in hurling has undeniably changed over the course of the last decade. The netminder is now not only there to stop the ball from going into his goal but is used as a fundamental part of most inter county team’s attacking structure through their distribution and their sweeping behind the defence.
Here we take a look at 5 of the best modern-day goalkeepers in the game.
Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny)
The complete goalkeeper.
The Kilkenny No 1 has arguably taken the role of goalkeeper in hurling to new heights during his time in inter county hurling.
A brilliant shot stopper, it is the other aspects of Murphy’s game that set him apart from most.
His distribution from restarts and open play is second to none, while his understanding of space and the movement of his outfield colleagues is top quality. The fact he plays outfield for his club is no doubt a help to him in these aspects of the game when he steps in goals for his county.
Brian Hogan (Tipperary)
The current all-star goalkeeper, after Tipperary’s All Ireland success in 2019, Hogan is following in his father’s footsteps by lining out between the posts for his county.
A towering presence on the goal line, Hogan’s performances and understanding with his defence have brought a renewed structure to Tipperary over the last couple of seasons which ultimately led All Ireland glory in 2019.
Like most goalkeepers plying their trade at the very top, Hogan’s distribution is another key factor to his own personal performance levels, but also to that of his team where his ability to find a teammate is vital to Tipperary’s attacking game plan.
Nicky Quaid (Limerick)
Much like Eoin Murphy, Nicky Quaid can combine the skills of playing outfield for his club with wearing the No 1 for his county, and much like the Kilkenny keeper it helps make Quaid one of the finest goalies in the game today.
The 2018 All Ireland winner is more than capable of pinging the ball into the hand of a teammate on the move to help set up a Limerick attack, as he is making a game changing save or intervention on his own goal line to help his team to victory.
Who could forget that save from Seamus Harmedy in the semifinal against Cork in 2018.
Mark Fanning (Wexford)
The Wexford shot stopper is without doubt one of the most important parts of Davy Fitzgerald’s team these days.
A fine exponent of the more vintage skills of a goalkeeper, it is the ability the Glynn-Barntown has in linking the play and offering himself as an outlet to his teammates that put him up there as one of the best in the country.
A brilliant striker of the ball from placed balls or open play, Fanning scored the decisive penalty that brought the Leinster Championship back to Wexford in 2019.
Enda Rowland (Laois)
A key component to the great run Laois enjoyed in 2019.
Rowland was nominated for an All Star such was the level of his performances as the O’ Moore county claimed the Joe Mcdonagh, before reaching the All Ireland quarter final, where they were defeated by eventual champions Tipperary.
The Abbeyleix man saved penalties, made point blank saves to deny the opposition, but more importantly he was the key part of Eddie Brennan’s gameplan through his distribution and ability on the ball.
The measure of Rowland’s importance to his team is that Eddie Brennan made him captain for the 2020 season.