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Best wing-back in hurling

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney analyse “the easiest position in hurling” and decide who the best wing-back in the game is

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney are back debating another position: who is the best wing-back in hurling?

It is commonly considered the easiest position in hurling.

An area where you can pick up loose ball and look like a superstar.

Life is never that simple, however, and there is a reason why so many champion teams are buttressed by exceptional half-back lines.

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A good five and seven are crucial to that, and they tend to be players who can defend but are also a threat with the ball.

A look at the great teams over the generations will tell you as much, and many of the players spoken about in this video fall into that category.

Whether it’s established men such as Diarmaid Byrnes of Limerick, Paudie or Brendan Maher with Tipp, Galway’s Padraic Mannion, or up-and-comers such as Calum Lyons of Waterford, these players are the launchpad.

The better half-backs are versatile too.

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Consider that Brendan Maher played full-back, wing-back, sweeper, and had a number of man-marking jobs for Tipp in 2019, before playing as an attacking wing-back for Borris-Ileigh.

As he said of his season in blue and gold: “I did enjoy the season, but I wouldn’t say I didn’t feel any pressure.

“I did feel pressure in some of the man-marking jobs I was asked to do, essentially picking up the opposition’s main man.

“But more than anything I looked on those as a confidence booster, that I was the one chosen to do it, trusted by the management to do it.”

Mannion was arguably Galway’s best player in their All-Ireland winning season of 2017, and could well have been player of the season in 2018 had Limerick not pipped them in the final.

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His consistency is inarguable, and many in the county believe this unsung hero is the defensive leader of the Tribal County.

Chris Crummey, Shane Barrett, Kevin Moran, Paddy Deegan, Dan Morrissey, Paudie Foley and Shaun Murphy are also in the conversation, while a number of notable counties are poorly represented.

Shane Stapleton and Michael Verney reveal who they think is the best wing-back in hurling here, and please let us know in the comments if you agree.

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