Dublin and Galway will clash in the Minor Hurling All-Ireland Final this Sunday for the first time since 1983 when the Tribesmen outclassed the Metropolitans by a three point margin.
The u-18 duo will open proceedings at Croke Park headquarters at 1.15 pm on Sunday ahead of the hotly anticipated third consecutive SHC meeting between Kilkenny and Tipperary.
In recent times Galway have become one of the most successful counties in the minor grade and have captured seven titles since their first victory in 1983 (when they defeated Dublin incidentally) a record only matched in the same period by Kilkenny.
Dublin, on the other hand, haven’t taken the title since 1965 when they defeated Limerick by 4-10 to 2-7, while their last final appearance was against the Westerners in the above mentioned 1983 clash.
Despite suggestions that Dublin will be underdogs for Sundays clash, the Metropolitans have enjoyed a succesful year as they cemented their position among the country’s under-age hurling elite and will go into their first final in 28 years as slight favourites.
An All-Ireland title would be the icing on the cake for the capital’s young guns as they aim to cap what has been a magnificent year for the capital in both football and hurling.
The boys in blue overcame twenty-time All-Ireland minor title winners Kilkenny in the Leinster final before dismantling a dogged Waterford side in the 2011 All-Ireland semi final.
Despite a power house first-half showing in the semi-final against Waterford, in which the impressive Cormac Costello and Ciarán Kilkenny ran riot, the Metropolitans did not have it all their own way in the second period.
The Deise County grabbed five second-half goals, exposing defensive weaknesses that the tribesmen will look to capitalise on, just as it looked as if Waterford had reached the point of no return.
However, it was too little too late for the boys from Munster and in the wake of an awesome first half Dublin performance, the young dubs ran out comfortable winners in the end by a scoreline of 6-19 to 5-13.
Galway who are bidding for their ninth All-Ireland title to date have lifted the Irish Press Cup as recently as 2009 and the young Tribesmen displayed ominous signs early on in the championship as they trashed Ulster opponents Antrim, 8-26 to 0-12.
However, the boys from the west endured a turbulent encounter against a resilient Clare side in the All-Irelalnd semi-final and required a last-minute goal from Gerard O’Donoghue to force the game into extra time.
Inspired by captain Shane Maloney, the more experienced Galway side pulled ahead to emerge evenutal winners with five points to spare by 1-23 to 1-18.
Manager Shay Boland has given a vote of confidence to the starting 15 who defeated Waterford in the All-Ireland semi-final and has named an unchanged team for Sunday’s clash against Galway.
Galway meanwhile, have named two changes to the side that beat Clare in the semi-final with Dean Higgins coming in at midfield while Jack Carr also starts at full-forward.
DUBLIN – Cormac Ryan; Eric Lowndes, Cian O’Callaghan, Seán McClelland; Chris Crummey, Jamie Desmond, Matthew McCaffrey; Colm Cronin, Glenn Whelan; Emmet Ó Conghaile, Conor McHugh, Ciarán Kilkenny; Cormac Costello, Aodhán Clabby, Paul Winters.
GALWAY – Shane Mannion; Cormac Diviney, Paul Killeen, Pádraic Mannion; Adrian Tuohy, Seán Sweeney, John Hansbury; Pádraic Brehony, Dean Higgins; Jason Flynn, Jonathan Glynn, Billy Lane; Gerard O’Donoghue, Jack Carr, Shane Moloney.