Leinster elite stars gather for 25 honour

THE gathering in Portlaoise at the weekend of elite hurlers and footballers who adorned the Leinster championships over the past quarter of a century was noteworthy for the imbalance in the number of All-Ireland medal-winners between the two teams.

The accumulation of medals among the players on the Leinster 25 hurling team – confined to Kilkenny (7), Offaly (5) and Wexford 3 – totalled close to 60.

In sharp contrast, it amounted to no more than 15 in football equivalent which featured six Meath players, four from Dublin and one each from Wicklow, Wexford, Kildare, Longford and Westmeath.

And, all the All-Ireland medal-winners were confined to Dublin and Meath.

The hurling team included Michael Kavanagh and Henry Shefflin, each of whom won their seventh All-Ireland medal last September. Kavanagh, along with Tommy Walsh (chosen at left half-forward) were two of only four players from Brian Cody’s team who started and finished each of their four consecutive winning All-Ireland finals.

The selection was notable too for the inclusion of brothers Joe and Johnny Dooley among the group of Offaly players honoured. Each of the players received a specially commissioned medal and the presentation, in the Killeshin Hotel, was made by Leinster chairman Seamus Howlin.

HURLING: D. Fitzhenry (Wexford); M. Kavanagh (Kilkenny), N. Hickey (do), M. Hanamy (Offaly); B. Whelahan (Offaly), L. Dunne (Wexford), J.J. Delaney (Kilkenny); G. O’Connor (Wexford), J. Kelly (Offaly); Johnny Dooley (do), H. Shefflin (Kilkenny), T. Walsh (do); E. Brennan (do), D.J. Carey (do), Joe Dooley (Offaly).

FOOTBALL: J. O’Leary (Dublin); R. O’Malley (Meath), D. Fay (do), J. Keane (Westmeath); P. Curran (Dublin), G. Ryan (Kildare), M. O’Connell (Meath); C. Whelan (Dublin), J. McDermott (Meath); B. Rock (Dublin), T. Giles (Meath), P. Barden (Longford); C. O’Rourke (Meath), K. O’Brien (Wicklow), M. Forde (Wexford).

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