U21 Hurling Final: Clare v Kilkenny preview & live score commentary updates, Thurles. 7pm.
Thurles is the venue this Saturday for the meeting of Kilkenny and Clare in the final of this year’s U21 hurling championship, throw in 7pm.
After the drama surrounding the drawn senior final last Sunday this game has really slipped under the radar but a thrilling game is on the cards.
The Leinster champions will travel to Semple Stadium in confident mood after a convincing semi-final victory over Galway last month. Many aspects of that performance were extremely impressive and the men from the west had no answer to their overall intensity and goal scoring ability.
Team manager Richie Mulrooney can call on senior stars Richie Doyle, Willie Phelan, Walter Walsh and Cillian Buckley to backbone the side, Ger Alyward and John Power have also impressed earlier in the campaign.
Establishing a reliable form line where Clare are concerned is much more difficult, their semi-final tie resulted in a facile win over Antrim, the Munster final against Tipperary was a much closer affair with a late Niall Arthur goal securing a memorable win for the Banner men.
Physically the majority of this Clare side are small in stature but joint managers Gerry O’ Connor and Donal Maloney have developed a pattern of play that suits their players. They play to their strengths by adopting a possession game that makes the most of the pace that exists within the side.
Their inside forwards have really sparkled thus far with Cathal O’ Connell and senior star Conor McGrath looking particularly dangerous. Tony Kelly, Colm Galvin and Seadna Morey are also worthy of mention.
Clare have been very successful at underage level in recent years and they have hurled with confidence and conviction this season but Kilkenny have a physically powerful side and their ability to create and convert goal chances could be the deciding factor.
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