Over the years there have been hurlers who have absolutely gave everything for their club and county, been a leader on and off the pitch and been pivotal players who could change a game in an instant.
Every players dream and desire is to lift the Liam McCarthy a loft at GAA headquarters in Croke Park. However there has been those world class hurlers, who have unfortunately never ever won an All-Ireland.
Let’s take a look at the top five who haven’t won one:
Cork full-forward Patrick Horgan has been immense in this years’ championship season and been one of the top hurlers in the country of recent. An All-Star for the past two years, it’s highly likely he’ll pick up a third in a row.
This past weekend the Glen Rovers man scored an impressive 3-10 against Kilkenny in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, a game Cork lost out by three points….
Horgan started his tally by slotting a penalty passed keeper Eoin Murphy in just the second score of the game. Later in the first half, after slotting over a number of frees Horgan got through the Kilkenny full-back line only to be fouled. The Glen Rovers man retained his poise, and buried the ball passed Murphy.
With Cork loosing their grip on the game and badly needing inspiration, Horgan scored one of the great goals ever seen in Croke Park. While falling to his knees, he still managed so smash the ball into the back of the net!
At 31 years-old it’s hard to know if Horgan will ever win the Liam McCarthy. The consistent free-taker certainly deserves an All-Ireland medal, following in the footsteps of the late and great Christy Ring. Who also played for club-side Glen Rovers.
John Mullane had everything you wanted from a corner-forward in the game. Fast, skillful, accurate and an outspoken figure who always led the charge for his team.
Picking up five All-Stars along the way, the hurler from De La Salle proved to be a key figure in the Waterford setup until his eventual retirement in 2012 after an 11-year inter-county career.
Mullane scored 15 goals and 134 points over this period of time, watching him run about the pitch like a live-wire for the full 70-minutes and scoring some huge points for Waterford only showed other teams the threat he can cause. And the question was how to stop him?
An interview back in 2004 in the Munster final showed Mullane’s passion and love for Waterford. Which isn’t something you see a lot in modern day sport.
In 2007 Waterford defeated Limerick 3-17 to 1-14 in the Munster championship, and seen as the in-form team who should go on to win the All-Ireland for the first time in almost half a century. However Limerick got their revenge and dumped The Deise’s out in the semis.
In 2008 there was a level of optimism around Waterford. Reaching an All-Ireland final for the first time in 45 years, Kilkenny provided the opponents who went out to destroy Mullane’s side 3-30 to 1-13. This was heartbreak for Mullane again.
He continued to line out for his county without much success, eventually announcing his retirement in 2013 and has since moved into punditry.
3-Terrance ‘Sambo’ McNaughton-Antrim
One of the best hurlers Antrim has ever produced, Terrance ‘Sambo’ McNaughton was a giant for his club Ruairí Óg Cushendall and county in the 1980s and 90s.
Sambo picked up eight Antrim championship medals at left-half back for his club, as well as going on to win the Ulster championship seven times in a dominant period for Cushendall.
He joined the Antrim county setup in 1981, winning an All-Ireland medal in the B grade of the competition structure back then. Antrim retained their All-Ireland title in 1982, with McNaughton collecting a second winners’ medal.
He went on to win six Ulster Hurling titles from 1989 to 1996 for The Saffrons dominating Ulster hurling over this period and won an All-Star during the 1991 season.
In 1989 the Ulster championship was revived after a forty-five-year absence. Antrim and Down contested the decider, with McNaughton collecting his first provincial medal following a 2–16 to 0–9 victory. Antrim later defeated Kildare in the All-Ireland quarter-final before lining out against Offaly in the semi-final.
Offaly were the red hot favorites going into the game however, Antrim shocked their opponents and won the game by 4–15 to 1–15 with Sambo playing a pivotal role. Antrim went on to face Tipperary in the All-Ireland Final in a historic day for the county. A one-sided affair resulted with Tipp winning the game on a scoreline of 4–24 to 3–9 victory.
An Ulster final defeat by Derry in 1997 brought the curtain down on McNaughton’s inter-county career. He has went on to manage the Antrim senior hurlers to two Ulster minor titles, three senior Ulster titles and progression in the Leinster championship.
There is not much that needs to be said about ‘Shaughs’ who was one of the best prospect of this generation. The corner-forward from Killmallock burst onto the stage for his school St Colman’s College and enjoyed success with his club, winning three consecutive county titles from 2000-2002.
In the 2002 final he scored 4-9 out of his teams 4-11 in that game against Na Piarsaigh, showing that he was a wonder-kid at an early age and one for the future.
Working his way through the inter-county ranks with the Limerick minors, then onto the under 21 setup winning the u-21 All-Ireland final beating Galway. He made his senior county debut in 2003 in the Munster semi-final against Waterford and continued to star, scoring 8 goals and 102 points in the process.
Never has a sliotar been struck as cleanly since Shaughs was forced into an early retirement in 2009 due to sclerosis, but remained to feature during the league. In April 2011 just three days before the National Hurling League Division 2 final, O’Shaughnessy announced his retirement from Inter-County hurling.
A certain All-Star in the making and one who certainly deserves an All-Ireland medal.
The Mount Sion-native Gleeson has been an excellent performer at centre-half back from he broke onto the scene in 2014 with Waterford.
Gleeson is only 24-years old but has become one of the most skillful players in the sport, and one who still has a lot of good years of hurling ahead. The only road block is that the Waterford have been on a poor dip in form of recent.
Gleeson was added to the Waterford senior panel prior to the start of the 2014 National League and in May 2015, faced Cork in the National League final. The same season Waterford were beaten for the fourth time in six seasons by Tipperary in the Munster final. He ended the season by being nominated for an All-Star after his brilliant year.
In the 2016 season, Gleeson ended the season by becoming only the second player ever to win the Hurler of the Year and Young Hurler of the Year awards in the same year and added another All-Star to the list, but falling short in the All-Ireland series.
Waterford faced Galway in the 2017 final, in a game they lost which was a major blow to the Mount Sion man and his county. Despite this he picked up a third successive All-Star nomination.
Gleeson’s 2018 season was blighted by a series of injuries. A pulled quad, an infected cut on his ankle and a hamstring injury stopped his progression. Waterford had an awful 2019 season, being relegated to 1B in the League and being dumped out of the early stages of the Munster championship.
A talented hurler who will need to dig his county out of a massive hole right now.