All-Ireland U-21 hurling trophy to be 'retired'
The distinctive Cross of Cashel will be awarded to the captain of the victorious Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U-21 hurling team for the last time in Thurles tomorrow night, writes Colm Keys.
Wexford and Limerick go head to head in the decider, and either Eoin Conroy or Diarmuid Byrnes will be the last recipients of the trophy.
The GAA has already sourced a cup to replace it and it will be introduced for next year's championship.
It is believed to have been procured in a London auction room as part of a drive to update some of the association's better-known cups.
Former Leinster Council chairman and presidential candidate at the last election, Sheamus Howlin, was tasked by the GAA's Management Committee to find a cup.
Cups have become very expensive to make because of the cost of labour required to meet a certain standard.
The Cross of Cashel was first introduced in 1967 when PJ Ryan was Tipperary's winning captain, three years after the competition's inception.
A book documenting the history of the U-21 championship, written by Jim Fogarty, is called 'The Cross of Cashel'.
Leinster Council replaced the Bob O'Keeffe Cup, awarded to the province's senior hurling champions, in the last decade with a smaller version than the original.
Some famous captains have lifted the Cross of Cashel over the last 51 years including Kilkenny quartet Jackie Tyrrell, Michael Fennelly, James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick and Ger Fennelly and Cork's Martin O'Doherty, who all went on to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
Current Galway manager Anthony Cunningham was their All-Ireland winning U-21 captain in 1986.