Cillian Kiely (Offaly)

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Young Guns in Hurling

Cillian Kiely (Offaly)

Young Guns in Hurling

Kiely rose to prominence in Kilcormac Kiloughey’s run to last December’s Leinster Club final, his extra-time winner against Shelmaliers in the Leinster quarter-final drawing praise from all quarters. In his first year out of minor, Kiely didn’t have to wait long before the call came from senior boss Brian Whelahan. Was sprung from the bench in the Walsh Cup defeat by Galway, effortlessly converting a sideline cut. Could become a permanent fixture in attack in his debut season.

Cian Lynch (Limerick)

TJ Ryan didn’t hang about in calling up the Patrickswell teenager to the senior squad, not surprising though given his role in Limerick’s back-to-back Munster minor successes. Lynch started all three Waterford Crystal games last month, hitting four points from play in a hugely encouraging final display against Cork. Certainly doesn’t lack in confidence and a firm advocate of the Kevin Broderick style of point-taking.

Bobby Duggan (Clare)

Podge Collins’ decision to concentrate solely on football in 2015 has opened the door for an emerging Clare hurler to nail down a starting berth this spring. The likes of Davy O’Halloran, Aaron Cunningham and Cathal O’Connell staked their claim during the Waterford Crystal campaign, but none was more impressive than 19-year old Duggan. Top-scored with four points from play in the semi-final defeat to Cork. More noteworthy, however, was his contribution in NUIG’s shock Fitzgibbon Cup victory over UCC. Duggan hit 0-12 from left half-forward, seven from play. Comfortable both in the centre and on the wing.

John Power (Kilkenny)

The 22-year old will be keen to build on the rich vein of form he enjoyed at the tail end of the 2014 championship, providing Kilkenny’s second goal, and, ultimately, the defining score of the replayed All-Ireland final. Having made just two starts last summer, the younger of the Power brothers will aim to nail down one of the two corner-forward slots this spring. Easier said than done.

Andy Walsh (Cork)

Of the several fringe players looked at by the Cork management throughout January, Walsh stood head and shoulders above the rest. As a result, his inclusion in the league panel was never in doubt. The Killeagh midfielder etched his name onto the score-sheet in the three Waterford Crystal games he started. Full of running and, indeed, confidence. Will provide solid backup to the likely midfield pairing of Aidan Walsh and Daniel Kearney.

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