George Durrant (Cork)
The Dingle native has featured at underage level for Kerry but transferred to Ballincollig, and played an integral part in their first Cork SFC title success. Will be 22 this year and so can still make an inter-county impact, though he is regarded as more of a playmaking half-forward than a groundhog, and clubmate Patrick Kelly and Mark Collins may prove to be obstacles further down the line.
Brian Fenton (Dublin)
A member of Dublin’s U21 side last year, the Raheny club man will be looking to stake his claim for a midfield spot on Jim Gavin’s side and began with a good performance against the Blue Stars on New Year’s Day.
Dwayne Quinn (Tyrone)
Mickey Harte’s side continue to undergo a major transition, with Conor Gormley the latest veteran to depart the scene. Clonoe’s Dwayne Quinn is one of those who will be given a chance in the Dr McKenna Cup and brings a lot of club success with him, having won senior and U21 county championship medals.
Diarmuid O’Connor (Mayo)
An All-Ireland minor medallist in 2013, the younger brother of Cillian was called up to the Mayo senior panel by James Horan last year, playing against New York in the championship. The Ballintubber man will now seek to kick on from there by making himself a viable wing-forward option for Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes though he is versatile enough to feature anywhere in the middle eight.
Cillian O’Sullivan (Meath)
The pacey attacker would surely have made more of an impact last year had it not been for a hip injury which derailed his progress. The scorer of 2-2 in an O’Byrne Cup against DCU in 2014, he then got 1-1 against Galway in the first round of the league before suffering his setback. While his speed is his biggest asset, the Moynalvey player’s ball-carrying should also be a big help for manager Mick O’Dowd in the wide spaces of Croke Park.
Darren McCarthy (Cork)
While he will be 25 this year and has been on the Cork senior panel since being drafted in when Dónal Óg Cusack was injured in 2012, McCarthy has yet to see championship action. That is because he has had to play understudy to goalkeeper Anthony Nash but his performances outfield for club Ballymartle — he has been on the last three Reardens Cork GAA All-Star sides — could see him tried in attack this season.
Aaron Duggan (Kilkenny)
Staying on the goalkeeping theme, Duggan will be one of those considered by Brian Cody as he sets about replacing David Herity, who retired after the All-Ireland win. While Eoin Murphy will be difficult to dislodge, Duggan is only just out of U21 and the Dicksboro man could place himself as the natural successor by putting in hard yards as the back-up netminder.
Ronan Lynch (Limerick)
It’s not putting our necks on the line at all to pick out Lynch, so prominent has he been for Limerick at underage, his club Na Piarsaigh and school Ardscoil Rís. A three-year county minor, he scored 0-11 on his debut against Cork in 2012 despite only being 16, and has shown himself more than capable of meeting every challenge which has been placed in front of him to date.
Shane O’Gorman (Wexford)
Captain and centre-back on the Model County side which reached the All-Ireland U21 semi-final, he can also play in attack but was at full-back as Liam Dunne’s side beat Dublin in a challenge game in December. With the county having won the last two provincial U21 championships, players like O’Gorman of Adamstown will be assimilated into senior set-up as they seek to match or improve their 2014 showing.
Eoin Enright (Clare)
The 2013 All-Ireland champions will be considered to be in the mix to regain their title, especially given the recent U21 success, though the departures to football of Podge and Seán Collins and Cathal McInerney, will create gaps that emerging players can fill. Midfielder Enright, who plays his club hurling with Kilmaley, is a midfielder with boundless energy. Named on the 2014 U21 Team of the Year, he is likely to be given a chance.