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Hurling

"We bow down to Tony Kelly, he's unmarkable" | Shane McGrath

Former Tipperary player Shane McGrath thinks Tony Kelly is already the outstanding candidate to be named the 2020 hurler of the year. 

The Banners' captain scored an incredible 1-15 to help his side defeat Wexford by 1-21 to 0-17 to reach the All-Ireland Senior Hurling quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon.

Kelly now has 1-45 in three Championship games this season and McGrath said on Off The Ball that the Ballyea clubman's performances have been remarkable this year.

"He's got 62% of Clare's scores got this year, ridiculous stuff, he's unmarkable, he's the man. I think he had 18 shots the other day and scored from 16 of them.

"More often than not the hurler of the year is picked on the basis of who gets to the All-Ireland semi-finals and final, and look there is a bit of weight to that because they're massive games and if you perform when the pressure is high. But it won't be Tony Kelly's fault if Clare don't get to the semi-final stage.

"If he has another big game the next day (against Waterford in the quarter-finals this Saturday) and he's putting up another 15 or 16-point figure, then I think he's hurler of the year.

"The All-Star is practically at home in his sitting room already anyway. He likes playing quarter-finals down in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Last year he scored five-points in Clare's Munster Championship win against Waterford so he both likes playing at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and against Waterford so all the signs are saying he's going to play well.

"If you're Liam Cahill and the Waterford management team, you're thinking 'how do we stop him and should we man mark him?'

"I think it's a waste of time trying to man-mark him this year because he could be wearing 8 or 9 and down playing corner-forward and then at other times be up around his own 45.

"As a man marker there's very few guys who can pick him up as a corner-back and then pick up him equally as well as a half-forward at the other end. You just have to trust the guys that if he comes into a zone you try and mark him but the form he's in he's just unmarkable at the moment."

 

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