By now you've heard of Tony Kelly, the man rightly seen by most as the best hurler in Ireland. He has been instrumental in transforming a tiny club in north Clare into a force in Irish club hurling. Ballyea's path to the All-Ireland today brought him up against many of the best hurlers in the country. No one, though, has had an answer for TK.
The articles, the awards, the hype: everything has been about Kelly. But the All-Ireland club hurling final was about a man named John Sheanon. You might not have heard of him.
Sheanon marked Kelly today. This was the task Sheanon faced today: Kelly's scoring stats since October are truly eye-opening.
Clare county final vs Clonlara : 0-09
Clare county final replay vs Clonlara: 0-04
Munster semifinal versus Thurles Sars: 1-10
Munster final vs Glen Rovers: 0-05
All-Ireland semifinal versus St Thomas's: 0-03
All-Ireland final versus Cuala- 0-00
Today Sheanon did what most considered impossible. He held Kelly scoreless.
In fact not only did he hold Kelly scoreless. He outscored him. It's the kind of think he can tell his grandchildren about. He held the best hurler in Ireland, a former Hurler of the Year, Young Hurler of the Year and reigning Club hurler of the year, without a point.
No trademark Tony Kelly magic today 😬 @AIB_GAA
— Aoidean Delaney (@Aoidean) March 17, 2017
This hasn't been a thriller like, but you'd have to admire Cuala. Great balance across the field and totally hustled Tony Kelly out of it.
— Éamonn Murphy (@EamonnMurphy19) March 17, 2017
Tony Kelly held scoreless for Ballyea was never in the script. Credit to his marker John Sheanon who scored 0-1 himself. Unsung Cuala hero.
— Colm Keys (@KeysColm) March 17, 2017
After the match, Mattie Kenny was effusive in his praise for Sheanon.
"Well John is a super hurler and a very good manmarker. He got a point in the first half which is a testament to the kind of hurler he is."
There many factors behind Cuala's win - they put up a massive score - but it couldn't have been done without John Sheanon. History will remember him as the first man in a long time to hold Tony Kelly scoreless.