Clara's Langton determined to have his Croker day in the sun
ON Sunday, Clara's David Langton will look to scratch an itch that has bothered him for four years and captain a side to win an All-Ireland final at Croke Park.
In 2009, he led the Kilkenny team that was beaten by Clare in the All-Ireland U-21 final by a point and, in the meantime, he has spent his summers performing one of the most thankless tasks in hurling.
Langton is on the fringes of Brian Cody's plans. The centre-back is one of the first to be called into the famous in-house games at Nowlan Park but he has never been a part of the panel proper.
Now, with the club taking on St Gabriel's of London in the AIB All-Ireland Club IHC final, he is in the perfect position to catch Cody's attention.
Having come so close to breaking into the panel, others might have given up and pursued something else. But, at 23, time is on Langton's side and he points to the example of Kieran Joyce, who at 25, established himself on the Cats team last summer.
And, if he was thinking about quitting, he only has to look at some of his team-mates that he will lead out on Sunday for inspiration.
Conor Phelan was forced to retire from hurling at just 22 years of age after he discovered problems with his heart, but is getting back to the form with Clara that saw him ranked as one of the brightest prospects in Kilkenny in the early part of the past decade.
And then there is Austin Murphy, who has recovered from a career-threatening knee injury to help the club to the final.
Following their thrilling extra-time success over Silvermines in the semi-final, Clara are raging hot favourites (2/9) to overcome the London senior champions but that's probably unkind to the Exiles, who have Martin Finn – a familiar name from his scoring exploits with London – and former Kilkenny underage player PJ Rowe in their ranks.
"The bookies only see one result," Langton agreed. "A Kilkenny team beating a London team, but we don't see it like that. They beat the Galway champions (Killimordaly) in the semi, so they are going to be strong."