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All-Ireland hurling final diary

IT ISN'T just winning All-Irelands at which Kilkenny are experts. Last year the Cats' county board and local radio KCLR came up with an ingenious table quiz fundraising format, which they repeated last Thursday to great success.

A massive 450 teams (at €20 each) took part in pubs and clubs around the county and KCLR provided the questions and answers to every venue simultaneously with a live radio feed.

Quizmaster for the night was Edwina Grace, first cousin of Tommy Walsh, and extra-time (an eight-question tiebreaker) was needed to separate the top two teams from James Stephens and the Salmon Pool pub in Thomastown.

The men from the club known as 'The Village' (Gerry Kirby, Tom O'Shea, Mark Dowling and Ger O'Reilly) eventually won the substantial first prize of eight All-Ireland final tickets plus accommodation and tickets for the post-All-Ireland banquet at Citywest.

Stars of future are going to be bigger than ever

WHAT are we feeding them?

Proof that the latest generation of Ireland's teenagers are bigger than their predecessors can be verified by a glance at the physique of Tipperary's minor hurlers for Sunday's underage final against Dublin.

Yes, their squad contains five lads at 5'9" but over half of them are six foot or taller and they include three who are 6'2", four who are 6'3" and two more players who are 6'4"!

Tipp manager Willie Ryan, the ex-county senior who is a brother-in-law of Eoin Kelly, is just 33 and also has a very young back-room team in Noel Morris, Brian Horgan (both 36) and Martin Maher (Brendan's brother, who is only 30).

Ryan is certainly no stranger to Dublin's underage scene as he was a minor hurling selector for the Dubs in 2008, when their current manager Shay Boland was also in charge.

Goal-hungry Kilkenny a sure bet to reap net gains

AMONG the plethora of bets available for the All-Ireland final, 'no goalscorer' comes in at about 20/1, although given Kilkenny's recent record, you might be as quick to just burn your stake money.

Kilkenny's desire for goals is legendary and it's over five years since they failed to score a goal in the championship, when Wexford kept them out in the Leinster SHC semi-final of 2007, although the Cats still emerged with a 0-23 to 1-10 victory.

Oddly, in the 21 games played since that point, Kilkenny have finished with three goals to their name only twice, when they scored 3-22 against Cork in 2010 and 3-30 against Waterford in the infamous All-Ireland final demolition job of 2008.

In that same period, they have scored five goals once (against Wexford in 2008 which made up for their failure to do so in 2007), while they have scored four goals in a game four times, including in their last two games against Limerick and Tipperary.

Irish Independent