GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
National Hurling League: Five players to watch
Last Updated: 25/01/20 7:02am
Ahead of the 2020 National Hurling League, we look at five players who could become regulars in their team ahead of the summer.
Brian Turnbull (Cork)
Turnbull was a sensation at underage for the Rebels, leading them to the 2017 All-Ireland minor final.
Although a cruciate injury stalled his progress, the Douglas youngster is nonetheless rising rapidly through the ranks. Having been brought into the squad by Kieran Kingston for the Co-Op Superstores Munster Senior League campaign, he is clearly to the forefront of the manager's thoughts.
Eyed as one for the future, he could take a major step in the coming weeks, as the Leesiders look to unearth more talent in their squad.
Dessie Hutchinson (Waterford)
Much has been of the ex-Brighton footballer's decision to step away from professional soccer. Since then, he impressed for Ballygunner in their run to the Munster final, and did enough to catch the eye of new Déise boss Liam Cahill.
Having been brought into squad, he'll be looking to make an impact in competitive matches.
"I think he can [make the step up]," ex-Waterford manager Derek McGrath told Sky Sports.
"He has a great background in terms of the professional sport environment he's been exposed to over the last number of years. He's a very steady fella as well.
"He's has all the attributes needed to make the step up.
"We all know there's a step up between club and county, but I think it's a step that Dessie can make comfortably."
He'll certainly be one to watch.
Lorcan McMullan (Dublin)
Since joining the squad in recent months, Down native McMullan has impressed at midfield for the Sky Blues.
The Kilmacud Crokes club man was a lively presence around the park throughout the Dub's Walsh Cup campaign, acting as a link-man in the short-passing game that was employed during the preseason matches.
McMullan's performances for the Stillorgan club in the Dublin SHC in recent years caught the attentions of Mattie Kenny, and the midfielder will be looking to make even more inroads as the Dubs hunt for a league title they last won in 2011.
Jerome Cahill (Tipperary)
Cahill is among a cohort of younger stars in the Tipperary squad, but unlike Willie Connors, Mark Kehoe and Jake Morris among others, he didn't get game-time against Wexford or Kilkenny in the All-Ireland series. However, being a member of the Liam MacCarthy Cup-winning squad will have been quite the valuable experience.
With another winter of senior intercounty training under his belt, Cahill may now be primed to take the step up and feature more prominently.
The likely absence of Dan McCormack and Brendan Maher for the opening rounds of the league will provide opportunities to some of the younger players, and Liam Sheedy showed in 2019 that he is not afraid to experiment during the National League.
The Kilruane youngster displayed throughout Tipp's U20 All-Ireland win last August that he is one to watch.
Eoin Cody (Kilkenny)
The nephew of Henry Shefflin hugely impressed in Ballyhale Shamrocks' run to the All-Ireland title in recent months, looking at home among intercounty forwards of the calibre of TJ Reid, Colin Fennelly and Adrian Mullen.
The sharp forward has featured for the Cats at underage level in recent years, and showed enough throughout the club campaign to suggest that he's capable of making the step up into the Noresiders' senior ranks. This included a tally of 3-4 from play in the Leinster Championship win over Clonkill.
Brian Cody is not likely to rush the Ballyhale contingent back into action, but you can expect to see the young forward feature at some point in the coming months.
Judging by his red-hot form, he could prove a major coup for the Cats.