Classic Hurling Points: From DJ Carey to Peter Duggan
Evan Coughlan looks at some memorable scores from over the years.
Hurling has never had a better few days of PR than last weekend, with Galway and Clare putting on a masterclass of skill and physicality, followed by Limerick and Cork doing the exact same thing less than 24 hours later, this hurling love in culminated with the screening of the much anticipated series The Game on Monday night on RTE 1.
Hurling has always been the nation’s favourite sport, at times it dips in popularity due to the dominance and one sidedness of certain championships, but in the end people love talking about their national game and showing it off to the rest of the world with enormous pride.
On Saturday evening I sat down to watch the Galway versus Clare match with my family, including my three young cousins from New Zealand, who had never witnessed a hurling match before.
All three sat their quietly, amazed by the skill set of the player’s on the field. Normal things that we as seasoned hurling fans take for granted like the solo run or a hook amazed these three Kiwis’ as they sat and watched 90 minutes of some of the best hurling ever to grace Croke Park.
The one moment from last Saturday evening’s game that left everyone speechless was Peter Duggan’s point in the 63rd minute.
With three Galway men around him, the sliotar bounced out from Duggan’s hand after a collision with Aidan Harte, with the sliotar in mid-air Duggan instinctively put out his hurley controlling the ball, with another flick he was able to give himself some space and with his final touch he let loose a shot that went sailing over the bar and brought Clare level.
Duggan’s point was special and will most likely go down as the point of the championship, some people have been talking about it being the greatest point ever scored in hurling.
While that is too big of a debate to have here today, let’s take a look back at some of the greatest points to ever be scored on a hurling field.
Ciaran Carey vs. Clare (1996 Munster semi-final)
Clare were defending All-Ireland champions playing their first championship match since capturing Liam McCarthy the previous September.
On a beautiful sunny day in the Gaelic Grounds, the most famous ever point between Clare and Limerick is scored, with the sides level a minute into injury time Davy Fitzgerald pucks the ball down the centre of the field hoping to find a Clare forward.
Ciaran Carey takes Davy’s puck out straight out of the sky and immediately starts soloing down the field with a focus in his eyes that is immediately clear despite watching the action back on grainy footage.
Carey has beaten the Clare defender for pace and has advanced 30 yards from his own half into the Clare half of the field.
Next Carey takes the sliotar off his hurley and back into his hand, with a quick look around to see if there is anybody in a better position to pass to.
With nobody in a better position, he decides to go it alone placing the sliotar back on his hurley, he quickly steps back inside and hits a shot straight over the bar. The All Ireland champions are out and Limerick are into the Munster final.
Carey’s point has since been called one of if not the greatest winning point in all of hurling and is still fondly remembered to this day.
Diarmuid O’Sullivan vs. Limerick (2001 Munster quarter-final)
Limerick are involved again for this next classic hurling point. During a Munster quarter-final in May 2001 the most memorable shoulder in GAA history took place.
Cork were facing off against Limerick down in Pairc Uí Chaoimh, when early into the second half Limerick were out in front by six points.
Ollie Moran played a speculative ball low into the Limerick full forward line, with the Limerick forwards spread apart, Cork full back Diarmuid O’Sullivan came flying forward to collect Moran’s punt.
Coming out of defence, O’Sullivan was about to be met by Limerick’s Jack Foley who was getting ready to stop O’Sullivan dead in his tracks. O’Sullivan flattens Foley like a bug and moves on with the play.
The shoulder on Foley is still regularly referenced to this day for its sheer velocity alone.
O’Sullivan wisely uses the momentum he gathers from clattering into Foley to change his run a small bit and then unleashes a monster strike from 110 yards out, which sails right over the bar.
While that point and shoulder still live long in infamy, Cork were unable to pin Limerick back that day, eventually losing by a point. However, The Rock’s display that day will always be remembered.
DJ Carey vs. Clare (2002 All Ireland Final)
You couldn’t talk about classic hurling scores without mentioning DJ Carey and perhaps his most famous point from the 2002 All Ireland final against Clare
DJ had gotten the Cats off to a perfect start that day with a goal in the third minute and Kilkenny were 1-2 to no score up after six minutes of play.
Clare could never really get back in touch with Kilkenny and were kept at arm’s length all day.
The moment of magic from DJ came in the second half when the sliotar rolled to him on the ground.
DJ quickly flicks the ball up onto his hurl and personifies his nickname of ‘The Dodger’ he retreats with the ball, as Ollie Baker attempts to make a tackle.
DJ loses Baker and making an angle for himself he puts the sliotar on his hurl and tees himself up for a shot that goes sailing right over the black spot.
When people talk about DJ this point is brought up as it highlights the unbelievable skill that DJ possessed and it might be the most memorable point ever scored in an All Ireland hurling final.
Kevin Broderick vs. Kilkenny (2001 All Ireland semi-final)
The point commonly referred to as the as the egg and spoon race point thanks to Ger Canning’s commentary, remains one of the greatest individual pieces of skill ever seen in hurling.
Broderick picks up the sliotar inside his own half and immediately places the ball on his hurl as he begins his run right through the heart of the Kilkenny defence.
Broderick was beginning to make headway into the Kilkenny half of the field, leaving Kilkenny players for dust as he approached Kilkenny centre-back Eamon Kennedy.
With one flick of the hurl Broderick flicks the sliotar over Kennedy’s head and catches it again onto his hurl, composing himself with a few touches Broderick knocks the sliotar straight over the bar to the roar of the Croke Park crowd.
The commentary from Ger Canning and Cyril Farrell, who normally remains neutral when it comes to Galway, was exceptional as they rightly celebrated the skill and finesse of Broderick in scoring an unbelievable point.
While many great points have not been mentioned here, from Podge Collins against Cork in 2013, to Eoin Quigley against Kilkenny in 2005.
The amount of classic scores from down through the year’s goes to show us that the game has always had skill and initiative at its heart, and that is exactly what Peter Duggan showed last weekend and what we all will crave to see a few more times before the championship is over.
GAA columnist with the GAA Wrap.