Hurling’s goal-scoring legends

Goal-scoring legend Séamus Callanan announced his Tipperary retirement this week, sparking Niall McCoy to access the top three-point earners in the race for the Liam MacCarthy

Nickey Rackard Wexford – 59

SO good they named a trophy after him. While some of his family had hoped he’d be a cricketer, Wexford fans will forever be grateful that he was drawn to hurling. He played for 17 years, winning two All-Irelands, and even won a provincial football title too. He once scored 7-7 against Antrim in an All-Ireland semi-final and his 59 majors came in just 36 games. His absence from the GAA Team of the Millennium, losing out to Cork’s Ray Cummins, was a source of great debate.

Séamus Callanan Tipperary – 40

TIPPERARY legend Séamus Callanan announced his inter-county retirement on Wednesday and with it went one of the all-time great goal-scoring records. His 40th goal came earlier this summer as Tipp ran riot against Offaly. The Premier star’s career brought three All-Ireland titles and also a Hurler of the Year gong. One of his most famous performances came in defeat as he amassed 3-9 in the 2015 semi-final loss to Galway.

Eddie Keher Kilkenny – 35

ONE of the most famous names in hurling history, Keher was a goal machine in the black and amber with 35 goals in a half century of championship games. Six All-Ireland titles and features on pretty much every list of GAA greats going. Keher also had the honour of teaching Muhammad Ali a few skills of the game before the Greatest fought Al ‘Blue’ Lewis at Croke Park.

Christy Ring Cork – 33

ANOTHER player on our list with a national trophy named after him, and for many, the greatest to ever play the game. Over his 24-year career, Ring broke record after record as his scoring exploits took hold. He won eight All-Ireland medals and he continually drew huge crowds to Croke Park to watch him play for Munster in the Railway Cup. His last final appearance came in 1956 when some victorious Wexford players lifted him onto their shoulders and carried him off the pitch, such was their respect for the man.

DJ Carey Kilkenny – 33

LEVEL with Ring on 33 goals is another hurling superstar in the form of DJ Carey. Ironically, Carey made his Kilkenny senior debut as a goalkeeper, before going on to torture those who stood in that very position. When he announced his retirement in 1998, he received thousands of letters begging him to reconsider, which he did.

TJ Reid Kilkenny – 30

SIXTH on the list – for now. Reid is one of the few active players on the list and the introduction of more games compared to the knockout era has given him more scope for goal, but 30 goals in 82 appearances is still a mighty return. A dead-ball specialist, a number of his goals have come from penalties. Has never had blockbuster goal-scoring seasons, just consistently adding to his overall total. Expect that to continue in 2024.

Joe Canning Galway – 27

CANNING’S early inter-county retirement – he called it a day at just 32 – means that he’s not further up this list because Galway fans would argue that he could have been fit for another two or three seasons easily. His best goal-scoring championship season came in 2015 when he hit the net five times as the Tribe County lost to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final. Canning scored their only goal in the four-point loss.

Henry Shefflin Kilkenny – 27

KING Henry sits alongside Canning on 27 goals, although he did play nine more games than the Galway ace. Cian Lynch may join him before he hangs up the hurl, but as it stands Shefflin is the only player to have been named Hurler of the Year three times. Found the net in every championship season bar one – 2013 when he was limited to cameos.

Patrick Horgan Cork – 24

ANOTHER of the active players on the list, ‘Hoggie’ is enjoying a fantastic battle with TJ Reid not only in goal-scoring terms, but to be the top championship scorer of all time with the pair regularly moving between top and second as last season progressed. Horgan’s eye for goal is impressive with a goal arriving, on average, about every three games. Has a long way to go to match fellow Cork man Christy Ring though.

Paul Flynn Waterford – 24

THE Waterford legend hit 24 goals in 45 games, he flourished in both the knock-out era and the second chance era. A fine soccer goalkeeper, Flynn gave every ounce to the Waterford cause as they hunted that elusive Liam MacCarthy title. A real cult hero, he scored six goals in the 2006 Munster Championship as Waterford defeated Kerry and Limerick, the latter after a replay, before losing to Cork in the final.

Charlie McCarthy Cork – 24

LIKE Flynn, McCarthy’s 24 goals came in 45 championship games. He helped the Rebels to five All-Ireland titles with the corner-forward rewarded with All-Stars in 1972, 1977 and 1978. Regarded as a legend in Cork sporting circles, he went on to have a fine coaching career too and was joint manager with Johnny Clifford as the Rebels won the 1985 All-Ireland Minor title.

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