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Best man-marker in hurling

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney ponder who is the best man-marker in hurling, and what the qualities required

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney ponder who is the best man-marker in hurling, and what the qualities required — brought to you by 65Hurls.com.

Almost every team needs a good man-marker at some point in a season.

Success is unlikely with 15 tasty hurlers, much as it is with each player being a brute without silken touches.

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You need a mix to be successful, and having someone who can be trusted to fulfil an unglamorous role is crucial.

Before we go. Any further, it’s important to note that players in the full-back are not necessarily being considered for best man-marker in this conversation.

By their nature, players in the full-back always have to mark up, and will often move across the positions closest to goal to retain a match-up favoured by their manager.

The players highlighted by Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney are those who can follow their man all around the field and shut down a star.

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Think of the jobs so often done by Matt O’Hanlon of Wexford on Joe Canning, TJ Reid, and even John McGrath in the 2019 All-Ireland semi-final.

Conor Browne was able to keep tabs with 2018 Hurler of the Year Cian Lynch in the semi-final on the other side of the draw, and it was key to Kilkenny’s win over Limerick.

Brendan Maher has done it for club and county, and the marking jobs he played in 2019/20 are a who’s who of hurling.

Aaron Gillane, Rory O’Connor, TJ Reid and Pauric Mahony (of Ballygunner) all had to go toe-to-toe with the Borris-Ileigh man.

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Across the country, there are plenty of players capable of tagging, including Shaun Murphy of Wexford and Shane Barrett of Dublin, among others.

Click play on the video at the top of the page to see the discussion, and please feel free to add your thoughts below or on the OurGame social media channels.

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