GOALKEEPERS sometimes fly under the radar when it comes to the big accolades – even in the modern era – but it was Dunloy netminder Ryan Elliott who claimed the big Hurler of the Year award last Friday night.
He had a busy weekend – he was excellent in Antrim’s crucial league win over Laois – and it’s very evident that Elliott is a goalkeeper right at the top of his game at present.
He had a remarkable season on the club scene with Dunloy as they made it all the way to the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship club final.
He kept clean sheets kept clean sheets against Sleacht Néill and St Thomas’ and pulled off a number of stunning saves through the campaign, including in their mammoth tussle against a star-studded Ballyhale Shamrocks team in the All-Ireland final.
Asked how he felt to receive the Hurler of the Year award, Elliott said: “To be honest I really didnt think I’d be getting an award like this but it’s nice to be recognised individually. It’s a team sport but it’s still a good feeling.”
Reflecting on a rollercoaster journey with Dunloy, the highlight of which was a stunning Ulster final victory over Sleacht Néill, he said:
“I suppose we did have a couple of very good days this year.
“Winning the Ulster final was a brilliant day. Sleacht Néill have had our number over the last number of years so it was a big relief to get over the line that day.
“Our season still ended in defeat on All-Ireland final day that’s not nice, we do have regrets over it and we’ll have to work hard to get back there. Ballyhale are a super team, we were fully aware of that going into the game, and they pulled ahead in the last five or 10 minutes.
“They’re so experienced so you have to hand it to them.
“It’s not going to be easy to get back to that stage but we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.”