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Best ball striker in hurling

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney debate who is the best ball striker in hurling — and ask for your thoughts. Brought to you by

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney debate who is the best ball striker in hurling — and ask for your thoughts. Brought to you by

What makes a good ball striker? Who are the top players at it?

We look across the counties to identify the cream of the crop, but start by trying to understand why some are better than others.

Most players can drive the ball 100 yards or find the back of the net, but that doesn’t mean they can all do it the same way.

“It’s the ball striker that you and me dreamed of being but it never turned into reality,” says Michael Verney.

“This is not the agricultural ball striker like you or me, this is the cream of the crop. The lads who can make the ball talk.

“When you think back through the years, when you think of DJ Carey and his point in the 2002 All-Ireland final, or those goals from Lar Corbett, it’s the way the ball just took off from the hurl”

DJ Carey quiz

“There’s something different about a guy who hits with it grace,” adds Shane Stapleton. “Lar Corbett hits the ball and it takes off — he doesn’t just hit the net, he ravages it.

“His club teammates, Pa Bourke, has a lovely fluid motion. It’s a bit longer of a striking motion and he might have been blocked down over the years because of it, but it’s lovely to watch.

“Paul Flynn has it, he has that top spin that we saw in the 2004 Munster final against Cork. Some lads can learn back and cut across the ball to curl it.”

“Ger Farragher from Galway, Paul Flynn from Galway — when they stood up to a ball, anything could happen,” says Verney.

“In relatively modern days, lads like Shane Dowling and (James) ‘Cha’ Fitzpartick, the ball just seems to ping.

“Even the likes of David Burke with Galway, when he has time to strike the ball, it is going to go exactly where he wants to go.

“If they get any sort of a chance, their striking is so consistent that it will go there.

“There’s also just this sort of a thud when they hit the ball, it’s like hitting a driver and pinging it 300 yards — you know the ball will go somewhere special as a result.”

Click play on the video at the top of the page to see the debate, who was named number one, and don’t forget to comment here with your thoughts.


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