Tuesday 23 January 2018

All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship Final previews

Dublin v Galway, Semple Stadium, 7.0, T Carroll (Offaly) *Live TG4



FOR Galway, this game marks a return to the scene of last year's hammering in the decider at the hands of Tipperary, but the manner of their gutsy win over Limerick in the semi-final, which was their first competitive outing of the year, suggests Galway are well placed going into this decider, WRITES DONNCHADH BOYLE.

After winning an epic Munster championship, Limerick were tipped by many to go all the way, but Galway, powered by captain Barry Daly and Tadhg Haran, prevailed to earn a shot at winning the county's 10th title at this grade.

Niall Burke was superb for Galway in the No 11 shirt last time out and he landed seven points from play, but he could to be shadowed by Liam Rushe and whoever comes out on top here will have a big influence on the result.

While Rushe is the marquee name in the Dublin side, others like Daire Plunkett and Mark Schutte are also capable of doing damage. The inclusion of Thomas Connolly, brother of senior footballer Diarmuid, is the only change from the side that dismantled Antrim in their semi-final last month.

However, Galway have the edge in experience and, in Anthony Cunningham, they have a shrewd manager who can help see them home.

Odds: Galway 8/13 Dublin 13/8 draw 10/1

Verdict: Galway

Dublin -- G McManus; B O'Carroll, D Kelly, J Doughan; D Curran, L Rushe, M Quilty; C Gough, D Sutcliffe; D Plunkett, M Schutte, T Connolly; K O'Loughlin, N McMorrow, E Dillon

Galway -- J Ryan; D Connolly, N Donoghue, G O'Halloran; J Grealish, P Gordon, R Foy; J Coen, D Burke; B Daly, N Burke, T Haran; J Regan, C Cooney, D Glennon.

Kerry v Westmeath, Semple Stadium,

5.0, C Lyons (Cork)

Westmeath were impressive in their win over Meath in the Leinster final, but lost some of that momentum when struggling past a battling Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-finals.

John Meyler's Kerry are out to retain their title and the return of influential senior player Darragh O'Connell, who missed the semi-final win over Roscommon as he was abroad, can swing this in the Kingdom's favour.

Odds: Kerry 10/11 Westmeath 1/1 Draw 9/1

Verdict: Kerry

Kerry -- M Stackpoole; J O'Connor, B Murphy, J Bowler (captain); PJ Keane, A Fealy, J Leahy; B Brosnan, S Dowling; D O'Connell, R Kenny, P O'Keeffe; C Harty, S Nolan, PJ Connolly.

Irish Independent

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