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Kilkenny and Clare face-off in Semple Stadium in the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Championship final

Updated: Saturday, 15 Sep 2012 17:52 | Comments

With the Kilkenny forwards looking so impressive to date, the Cats may have too much firepower for Clare
With the Kilkenny forwards looking so impressive to date, the Cats may have too much firepower for Clare

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, throw-in 7.00pm. 

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 1-03 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

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