Ranking the top 10 goalkeepers in hurling
The definitive top ten goalkeepers in the game…
10 Brian Hogan (Tipperary)
The Lorrha-Dorrha clubman won the number one shirt in Tipperary this season and at just 22 years of age, he has the potential to hold onto it for a long time to come.
Tipperary’s season was hugely disappointing by their golden standards, with some lethargic performances throughout the Munster championship campaign putting their summer to an early halt.
Hogan made some fine saves however, including a cracker on his championship debut against Limerick. His puck outs are monstrous but sometimes went wayward, and he has huge room for improvement going into next season. He is a hugely imposing figure between the sticks and if he can improve on the minor details of the position and gain some much needed match exposure, he could be a star of the future.
9 Alan Nolan (Dublin)
The Dublin goalie emulated his football counterpart and made some truly outrageous saves early on this year, including this with his foot in the league game against Kilkenny.
What a save from Dublin’s keeper Alan Nolan! pic.twitter.com/Ke5P6OssVx
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 13, 2018
The St Brigid’s clubman is one of the top shot stoppers in the county and you wouldn’t go a game without seeing him called to action. At 33, he’s been around a while now but should hopefully begin to garner some recognition for his high quality goalkeeping ability.
8 James Skehill (Galway)
Skehill has been titanic since coming into the side ahead of the injured Colm Callanan (more on him later). With years of experience and nearly 30 championship appearances to his name, the handover from the 2015 All Star to the Cappataggle clubman has been smooth.
Skehill should see out the year with Galway and has a fantastic chance to add another All-Ireland medal to his mantelpiece, but this one will taste much sweeter having sat on the bench during last year’s success – quite a turnaround after having quit the squad back in 2014.
7 Donal Tuohy (Clare)
The Crusheen shot stopper is part of the young group of Clare talent that went all the way in 2013, but we really haven’t seen enough of them on the biggest stage since. Until this year, where they await Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Tuohy is a superb shot stopper and has been in flying form this year, including a giant performance against Cork back in the league. Strong in the puck out and capable with the ball in hand, Tuohy is a goalkeeper that floats under the radar but is still only 28 and has plenty of years to go in the tank. Adding another All-Ireland medal to his career would put him alongside some of the greatest ever to play the position.
6 Mark Fanning (Wexford)
The Wexford shot stopper is another who is emerging as one of the premier number ones in the country.
Adept at all facets of the game, including laser accuracy from frees and puck outs, as well as a penchant for scoring goals as well as saving them, the Glynn/Barntown is a vital cog of Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford side which has grown steadily over the past few seasons.
5 Nickie Quaid (Limerick)
The Effin clubman is floating underneath the radar as one of the finest goalkeepers in the country.
His stock has been strengthened this summer with Limerick’s successes on the field, with Quaid displaying super composure under high balls, accuracy on puck outs and plenty of focus when called into action.
At 29, Quaid has been on the go since 2010 and has a rare day in Croke Park to look forward in ten days’ time against Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final.
4 Colm Callanan (Galway)
The 2015 All Star has been plagued with injury this year, but that shouldn’t degrade him from being one of the finest goalkeepers in the game over the past ten years.
The Kinvara number one has been with Galway since 2007, culminating in the fantastic All-Ireland victory last year. Sadly for Callanan, he’s in a race against time to be part of this year’s setup as they prepare for a semi-final against Clare next weekend, and potentially a final next month.
Callanan is adept at all facets of the game, and his shot stopping really came to the fore during this year’s AIG Fenway Classic over in Boston.
3 Stephen O’Keefe (Waterford)
At 27, Stephen O’Keefe has quickly established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the country and that was made true with an All Star award in 2017, as he helped Waterford reach the All-Ireland final.
Brave in front of the shot and comfortable with the ball in hand, O’Keefe has all the attributes you’d require from a top class hurling ‘keeper. He’s not afraid to roam either, even sneaking down the sideline to receive a short free – which he did against Tipperary this summer in the Munster championship, delivering a high ball on top of the square which led to a Deise goal.
2 Anthony Nash (Cork)
Not much more can be written about Nash that we don’t already know. A premier shot stopper with the most accurate pass in the game, Nash has been a mainstay for Cork since taking over from Donal Og Cusack fully back in 2012, but he’s been in and around the camp since 2007.
The Kanturk goalie has the most laser accurate puck out of any goalkeeper in the game, delivering a ball down his wing backs throats or driving balls forward into midfield for quick counter attacks.
With two All Stars to his name, Nash is in the running to add a third this year and it’ll be hard to begrudge him, especially if Cork go all the way.
1 Eoin Murphy (Kilkenny)
There is no debate for the best goalkeeper in hurling right now. Murphy is so good between the sticks, Off The Ball’s Shane Stapleton recently ran a poll of the best hurlers in the game and Murphy made the final four – something unheard of for a goalkeeper in a world of Joe Cannings and Seamus Callanans.
He’s what David De Gea is to Manchester United, what Stephen Cluxton is to Dublin. Murphy plays in the forwards for his club Glenmore and that has seen him develop into the prototype goalkeeper – quick, strong and brave in front of the shot, with a beautiful hurling touch and enviable comfort under high balls.
His burst from the back line and adeptness with his feet sets him ahead of most others in the game. He really does have it all, and is likely to be the 2018 All Star even though Kilkenny were eliminated in the quarter final stage.
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