The championship has resumed and you know what that means – it is our first installment of the Team of The Week for 2018.
We had action in all grades of the club hurling championship last week and we did our very best to bring you reports on all of the games.
Castletown Gaels lead the way on the first team of the week of the new season with three players making the selection following their fine win over reigning champions Camross.
A total of 13 different clubs are represented below:
1 – Gavin Conroy (Slieve Bloom)
The very first championship match of the week took place on Wednesday and saw Slieve Bloom face Clonad in the Intermediate hurling championship.
Slieve Bloom had three Conroy brothers on show who scored a combined total of 1-15 between them.
Ben and Ciaran amassed the most but three points came from frees from oldest brother Gavin – all of them from inside his own half. And he even played a crucial role in Slieve Bloom’s goal as another long range free from him was inch perfect for Ben to score.
2 – Michael McEvoy (Clough-Ballacolla)
While Clough-Ballacolla will be disappointed to only have drawn their opening round game against Rathdowney-Errill, they had a lot of decent performers around the field.
McEvoy filled the full-back position due to Darren Maher’s injury-enforced absence and had a fine game on Paddy Purcell with Purcell only getting into the game when he was moved outfield for the final quarter.
3 – Eoin Peters (Castletown Gaels)
The Castletown defence kept Camross to 1-12, with the goal coming in injury time.
Peters was immense at full-back and along with the likes of Evan Cuddy and Ryan Mullaney helped make up a very solid backline. Cleared an amount of ball.
4 – David Connolly (Ballyfin Gaels)
In Ballyfin Gaels’ first senior game following their promotion from the Senior A ranks last year, they were pitted against 2016 champions Borris-Kilcotton.
This was always going to be difficult but Chris Hartnett’s side performed well. They defended very well and one of those who shone was David Connolly.
He was given the daunting task of marking PJ Scully but held him to just a point from play over the course of an hour.
5 – Brian O’Meara (Ballinakill)
The Ballinakill defence completely nullified the Abbeyleix forward line, with Abbeyleix managing no point from play from the ninth minute onwards.
O’Mara is consistency personified. Always uses the ball well and will offer a scoring threat too from out the field.
6 – Lorcan Burke (Camross)
Camross fielded a backline with only two of the six that started last year’s county final. Lorcan Burke was one of the ones that came in and he put in a solid performance.
He made a couple of big hits and was to the fore as Camross tried to get back into the game in the second half during their loss to Castletown.
7- Fiachra C Fennell (Rosenallis)
The youngest Fennell brother kept Portlaoise at bay from tacking on a lot more scores in the first half of the match.
When brother Cathal went off injured after the first ten minutes, Fiachra pushed up on the half-back line and like usual, got stuck in and did the unglamourous hooking, blocking and tracking back to hold Portlaoise away from Stephen Kelly’s goals.
8 – Wayne Sydes (Mountrath)
Mountrath were in the relegation final last year in the senior A but their performance against Colt Gaels will give them hope that they can avoid that fate this year.
One of their shining lights was midfielder Wayne Sydes. He was alongside his brother Gavin and fired over three points as well as mopping up an ocean of ball.
9 – James Hooban (Castletown Gaels)
Hooban actually lined out at wing forward but spent a lot of the game playing in a very deep role.
Had an excellent game, rarely made a mistake and was central to an awful lot of play, particularly in the second half
10 – Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise)
The young Portlaoise man displayed plenty of playmaking ability for Teddy Fennelly’s side in their match against Rosenallis. Cormac, who was a county minor last year, set up Aaron Bergin for the first point of the match and tacking on a few of his own scores.
While many people talk about the players Portlaoise are missing – Cormac shows what Portlaoise have and will be extremely influential in their next two matches against Clonaslee and Trumera.
11 – Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton)
Borris-Kilcotton’s forwards are very impressive. Neil Foyle, PJ Scully and Stephen Dunphy are as prolific a full forward line as you are likely to encounter.
However, probably the most impressive of them all on Sunday was centre forward Aaron Dunphy. He gave Ballyfin Gaels a torrid time and scored a fine goal as well.
12 – Ger Reilly (Clonaslee)
Clonaslee recovered from conceding two first-half goals to beat Trumera comfortably enough in the end.
John Rowney was the top scorer for Clonaslee and was good from frees and play but Reilly was excellent too at wing-forward, chipping in with four points from play.
13 – Paddy McCane (Rathdowney-Errill)
McCane was probably man of the match in Thursday’s thrilling draw with Clough-Ballacolla.
Caused a lot of problems in the first half when he scored three points from play and his goal late in the second half was an absolute cracker.
14 – Ben Conroy (Slieve Bloom and Castletown Gaels)
Playing two games always increases a chance of making Team of the Week and Conroy followed up a fine second half performance with Slieve Bloom against Clonad by scoring 1-3 for Castletown Gaels against Camross on Friday.
Put in an excellent first half with his goal one of the best scores of the weekend
15 – PJ Daly (Clonad and Colt Gaels)
Just like the man above him, PJ Daly benefits from playing two matches last week.
Picked out as one of the players to watch, Daly scored nine points from play over the course of the two games. He was very good for Clonad in the first half of their defeat against Slieve Bloom but put in a more complete performance against Mountrath on Sunday.