Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland A Final
Clare v Kilkenny
Semple Stadium, Saturday, 15th September, 2012 @ 7pm
Tomorrow, Semple Stadium in Thurles hosts the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Championship Final with Clare taking on Kilkenny in a rematch of the 2009 Final.
Clare won that game to claim their only U-21 title to date winning by a solitary point, and they head into the 2012 Final on the back of one of the most one sided semi-finals in recent memory. The Banner defeated Antrim on a score line of 4-24 to 0-8 and were on top in every position throughout the field.
Unsurprisingly, the same 15 will line out again and in captain and full forward Conor McGrath they have a player of huge stature and his ability to find the back of the net will be a huge factor on Saturday.
Indeed, McGrath is one of a number of forwards who have impressed for Clare throughout their march to the All-Ireland decider with Tony Kelly and Padraic Collins also being inspirational in the half forward line. If Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor’s charges are to come out on top they will need these three to be firing on all cylinders.
Arguably Kilkenny come into this U-21 Final in better form. The Black and Amber have been very impressive to date and put reigning All-Ireland champions Galway to the sword in their previous outing, winning by seven. The Cats forwards have been ruthless all year and Ger Aylward in particular has caught the eye with 1-3 in the Semi-Final.
However, like all Kilkenny teams, they are not overly reliant on one individual and the starting 15 is littered with players ready to step up in the heat of battle. Cillian Buckley, Richie Doyle, Walter Walsh and John Power will not be shy in stamping their authority on the game.
With no injury concerns, Kilkenny manager Richie Mulrooney and his selectors have again entrusted the same fifteen that defeated the Tribesmen with the task of regaining All Ireland glory for the first time since 2008.
Clare will no doubt be backed by a strong support and should have no fear having dispatched Waterford and Tipperary already this year. Indeed the manner of their win over Tipp should give them confidence that if they can avoid the wides that littered their performance that day, they have a great chance.
However, with the Kilkenny forwards looking so impressive to date, the Cats may have too much firepower for Clare.
Clare: R. Taaffe, P. Flanagan, D. McInerney, K. Ryan, P. O’Connor, C. Ryan, S. Morey, C. Galvin, S. Golden, T. Kelly, P. Collins, A. Cunningham, C. McInerney, C. McGrath, C. O’Connell
Kilkenny: D. Walsh, J. Corcoran, W. Phelan, B. Kennedy, L. Harney, R. Doyle, J. Lyng, G. Brennan, O. Walsh, K. Kelly, P. Walsh, C. Buckley, W. Walsh, J. Power, G. Aylward
Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland B Final
Roscommon v Kildare
Semple Stadium, Saturday, 15th September, 2012 @ 5pm
Roscommon and Kildare go head to head in this year’s Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland B Final in Semple Stadium. The game promises to be an entertaining curtain raiser for the U-21 ‘A’ Final between Clare and Kilkenny which throws in at 7.00pm.
Roscommon had a tough outing in their semi final defeating Fermanagh 1-20 to 1-15. The Connacht champions will again look to star corner forward Robbie Fallon, who finished that game with ten points, to overcome a strong Kildare outfit.
The Lilywhite’s on the other hand impressively overcame Kerry 5-17 to 1-11 to book their place in this year’s final. Team manager, Noel McMahon, will be looking to Philip Cocoman and Ross Kelly of Naas and Celbridge clubman Gerry Keegan to lead the team to All-Ireland glory.
It promises to be a thrilling game as both teams have been in fine scoring form to date and could go either way.
12 September 2012; Bord Gáis Energy Ambassadors Conor McGrath, of Clare, left, and Cillian Buckley, of Kilkenny, were in Thurles today ahead of Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Final which will be played in Semple Stadium, Thurles. Clare play Kilkenny at 7pm in a repeat of the 2009 Final. The game is preceded by Roscommon against Kildare in the ‘B’ Final, which throws in at 5pm. Both games will be live on TG4. Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE