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Best skilful hurler

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney debate who is the best skilful hurler in the game. Brought to you by

What is a skilful hurler?

Is it down to the first touch, the flicks and the tricks, or being able to improvise with ease when the moment is right?

Austin Gleeson’s famous solo goal against Cork in the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final comes to mind.

The Mount Sion man finished with a very simple flick, but it was the awareness to pull this off amid a maelstrom of activity in the lead-up.

The 2017 Hurler of the Year is one of the first names discussed when it comes to the most skilful players in the game, and that’s down to producing so many eye-catching moments.

TJ Reid has been a regular in this video series, and again features here — the Ballyhale man makes the most difficult of skills look routine under pressure.

Joe Canning, one of the best in the game for a number of years, said in 2016: “Train to be a hurler, don’t train to be an athlete.

“The one thing that I see these days are teenagers of 14, 15 or 16 years of age who are training to be athletes as opposed to training to be hurlers or footballers.

“Train to be a hurler or a football player or a soccer player, don’t train to become an athlete – that will come naturally with the sport that you choose.

“Try to play as many sports as you can when you’re young – I believe that this will help you further down the line as you will gain a diverse range of experience and skills.”

John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer of Tipperary is one of the most talented players of his generation.

Eoin Kelly, who shared a dressing-room with the Killenaule Robins man for a couple of seasons, explained in 2015 the levels of skill he saw up close.

“The skill levels of Bubbles I’ve never seen anyway. I remember inside in training last year, we were kind of sprinting down the pitch in fours, you’d to strike the ball across, typical Eamonn O’Shea training,” he said of the then manager.

“I remember I hit the ball behind Bubbles, when you hit it, you’re saying ‘Jaysus, that’s a bad shot’.

“But he put the hand out like that (puts his hand behind his back) full title, snapped it like that.

“I remember saying to myself, ‘Jesus, do you know what I mean’.” He’s a pair of wrists bigger than any of our legs.

“That’s where the power comes from. I think he’s an exception.”

Click play on the video at the top of the page to see the debate, and watch Shane and Michael pick their number ones.

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