The Prince of Portumna was finally crowned a king in Croke Park on Sunday as Galway claimed their first All-Ireland hurling title in 29 years.

Joe Canning, just 28, was not even born when the Liam MacCarthy last ventured into Connacht, but it had seemed like the hurling world was waiting an age for the supreme talent to claim the Celtic Cross his talents so patently deserved.

Many would have considered Canning the best hurler without an All-Ireland to his name but the three-point win over Waterford blows the debate wide open again.

One obvious candidate is current Antrim manager and long-time Saffron stalwart, Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton. The Cushendall all-rounder was an icon of 1980s hurling and won an All-Star in 1991.

The last Waterford team to taste All-Ireland pain on the first Sunday of September boasted some of the finest hurlers of the last decade and chief among them surely was centre-back Ken McGrath. Stylish, smart and hard as nails - the Mount Sion man was the heartbeat of a wonderful team.

Another Munster county waiting a long time for an All-Ireland are Limerick. Ciarán Carey looked destined to drive Limerick over the line only to be denied at the ultimate stage in 1994 and 1996. An athletic centre-back, Carey was so often the source of Limerick attacks, driving at the opposition with his rangy style.

Alas there is still one ultra-talented member of the Canning family who has no All-Ireland medal in his pocket. Joe's older brother Ollie Canning won four All-Ireland club titles with Portumna but success eluded the supreme corner-back at intercounty level.

Despite leading Clare to two All-Ireland triumphs in the 1990s, success as a player always eluded Ger Loughnane. The wing-back never even won a Munster SHC medal but still earned two All-Stars in the 1970s.

Pat Critchley is the only Laois hurler to ever win an All-Star and the talented basketballer would surely have been a household name had he been born in a more traditional hurling county. A wonderful midfielder and one of the best hurlers of the 1980s.

The Wexford drought of 1968-96 claimed the career of many fine hurlers - none better than Rathnure's Martin Quigley. He won a minor title in '68 but the centre-forward's career highlights were three Leinster titles and four consecutive All-Stars.

If you feel we have omitted any outstanding candidates let us know in the comments below.

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