Graeme Mulcahy, the quiet candidate for hurler of the year
The Kilmallock attacker has been superb this season.
The impact of Limerick’s substitutes on Sunday afternoon has been well praised at this point, but one of the players who was asked to make way has slipped under many people’s radars in the aftermath of such a monumental weekend, despite being a possible Player of the Year and a certain All Star candidate.
At 27 years of age, Graeme Mulcahy isn’t falling into the category of exciting young whippersnapper that Limerick seem to have in spades. Instead, he’s a relic of the largely forgetful era of Limerick hurling that has failed to make any inroads on a provincial or national stage since their Munster championship win in 2013.
Indeed, he was one of only three players who had ever graced the Croke Park turf at a senior level for Limerick prior to Sunday’s amazing victory against Cork.
But the Kilmallock clubman has been revitalized this season, just as much as the team as a whole.
With pace to burn and a miniature frame that epitomizes the phrase ‘a tricky corner forward’, Mulcahy has shown all the abilities of a top class attacker throughout this rigorous championship, keeping the extremely talented Peter Casey limited to a super-sub role.
In the Munster opener against Tipperary, Mulcahy notched four points from play. He added two more in the draw against Cork, in which he inflicted major damage with his impressive turn of foot.
He scored a goal against Waterford and then notched 1-1 in the qualifier against Carlow, and added three huge scores in the late victory over Kilkenny.
On Sunday, he scored four from play and drew scoreable frees for his partner in command Aaron Gillane. A sum total of 2-14 from play with the final yet to come, plus assisting some more through his penchant for drawing frees and attacking the inside line, means Mulcahy should be at the forefront of the Player of the Year conversation, just as much as Gillane and his midfield maestro Cian Lynch.
He will undoubtedly be nominated for an All Star, and will likely make many people’s teams of the years when the debate commences. While the youth of Limerick has stolen the show this year, the guile and craft of Mulcahy has been just as important to Limerick’s fortunes and his point taking from play has helped carry them to their first All-Ireland in over ten years.