GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Top 10 hurling moments of 2018
Last Updated: 28/12/18 6:56am
After a remarkable year for hurling, we take a look back on the top 10 moments of 2018.
10. Fireworks in Portlaoise
The U21 grade is renowned for epic tussles, and this year provided an all-time classic as Galway met Wexford in the Leinster final. The Tribesmen were competing in the eastern province for the first time at the grade, and were eager to get off to the best possible start, but ran into a stern Model test.
The two sides played out a colossal clash, with Galway ultimately edging it after extra-time, 4-21 to 2-26.
9. Faithful delight
The earliest entry from the year goes to Offaly, as the Faithful stunned Pat Gilroy's new look Dublin team in the first round of the League. Despite the results that went after it throughout the year, Offaly's 13-point win at Croke Park marked a high-point for the Faithful County, and one upon which they will be hoping to draw in the coming years.
I know it's only January, I know it's only the league, I know Dublin hadn't a full team, I know, I know, I know.....but I still have tears in my eyes. Kevin Martin is a man and his team played like men.— Michael Duignan (@DuignanMichael) January 27, 2018
8. Tipperary 'goal' against Waterford
Perhaps the most controversial incident in the summer came when Waterford and Tipperary met in the Gaelic Grounds. With both sides needing a win to keep their championship hopes alive, the draw ultimately proved insufficient for either.
However, the Déise could have picked up all two points on offer were it not for the awarding of a 'ghost goal' to Tipp. Austin Gleeson appeared to catch the ball, preventing it from going over the line, but the 2016 Hurler of the Year was judged to have carried it into the goal. The goal stood and the game finish 2-22 apiece.
7. Kilkenny announce their comeback
Following the 2016 All-Ireland final defeat and early 2017 exit, Kilkenny were being written off in many quarters before a ball was pucked in 2018. Losses to Cork and Clare in the first two rounds of the National League compounded their woes.
However, Brian Cody's side are most dangerous when written off, and proved that with wins over Waterford, Tipperary, Wexford and Offaly, before beating the Yellowbellies and Premier in the semi-final and final respectively.
The decider win over their greatest rivals in front of a packed house in Nowlan Park sent out a message to the country that Kilkenny hurling wasn't going away.
6. Munster hurling delight
It was the championship to end all championships. With comebacks galore, it was as unpredictable a summer as we've ever seen.
Perhaps the standout tie of the provincial campaigns came when Limerick and Cork met on a sweltering hot June Saturday evening on the banks of the Lee.
Despite Aaron Gillane being sent off in the first half, the 14 men of the Treaty battled on and earned a draw.
5. That point
On what was arguably the greatest weekend of hurling Croke Park has ever seen with two epic All-Ireland semi-finals, undoubtedly the standout moment of skill came from Peter Duggan. The Clare forward, who considered walking away before 2018, scored a simply breathtaking individual point, despite the attention of five Galway defenders.
The Clooneyquin man juggled the ball on his stick, after catching it twice, and slapped it over the bar in a remarkable show of individual talent.
4. Seán Moran saves Cuala
Cuala and Na Piarsaigh played out an epic All-Ireland final over two games. While there were fireworks in the replay at O'Moore Park, the drawn game at Croker on St Patrick's Day was a cagey affair, not helped by Arctic conditions. As the Limerick side led by three points with just seconds remaining in normal time, the Dalkey outfit were awarded a 21-yard free.
Seán Moran only had one thing on his mind, and he smashed the ball past the six men in blue on the line, forcing extra-time.
3. Tipperary upset the odds in U21 final
Tipperary are rarely considered plucky underdogs when it comes to hurling. Particularly when they're coming into an All-Ireland final.
However, such was the one-sided nature of the Munster final when Cork beat them by 13 points, not much was expected of Liam Cahill's charges. However, they upset Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final, and stunned the fancied Rebels in the decider, winning 3-13 to 1-16.
2. Limerick end 45 years of hurt
On a magical August afternoon for the Treaty County, John Kiely's charges blitzed Galway right from the first whistle, and while they let up at the end as the Tribesmen fought back, they had done enough to end a famine which spanned back to 1973.
The following evening, thousands flooded the Shannon-side city to welcome Liam MacCarthy back to the county, as a winter of celebration kicked off. There were special scenes at the Gaelic Grounds on the Monday night.
1. Nickie Quaid's stunning stop
As the All-Ireland semi-final turned for home, Cork looked to have one foot in the decider, leading by six points. However, the Treaty's bench provided a significant impact and they reeled in the Rebels. Nonetheless, Cork would have one final opportunity in normal time to clinch the tie, when Robbie O'Flynn passed to Seamus Harnedy, who had goal on his mind. As the Cork captain prepared to pull the trigger, Quaid burst out from off his line to make a sublime stop.
It swung the game, and was a crucial moment in Limerick's All-Ireland triumph.