Sport Hurling

Saturday 24 March 2018

Reid makes long-awaited Cats return for Offaly clash

Cliona Foley and Donnchadh Boyle

TJ REID will play for Kilkenny for the first time since suffering a broken kneecap in last year's All-Ireland final replay when he lines out against Offaly in Tullmore tomorrow.

Reid replaces Cillian Buckley at right half-forward, while fit-again Richie Power takes over from the injured Michael Fennelly at centre-forward.

Shinrone's Sean Cleary will make his championship debut for Offaly. He was part of the U-21 team that beat Laois in midweek. Midfielder Dermot Mooney will be making his first Leinster start, as will Ciaran Slevin of Kilcormac/Killoughey, who captained his club to a Leinster title last year.

Slevin's only previous senior championship appearance was when he came off the bench against Laois in May 2007.

Meanwhile, the Leinster Council have put up the 'sold out' signs at Drogheda for tomorrow's Leinster SFC quarter-final between Louth and Wexford and warned supporters that "absolutely no tickets will be available on the day."

Louth's reduced capacity at the Gaelic Grounds – it can only hold 4,000 fans under health and safety restrictions – has contributed to making the game a rare sell-out in these cash-strapped times.


And it is believed that Wee County fans, buoyed by their heavy defeat of Laois and the lopsided nature of the Leinster draw, which has Dublin and Kildare on the other side, have even travelled as far as Wexford to try to get tickets for what is just their second home game in Leinster in over a decade.

The Leinster Council have confirmed that the SHC semi-final between Galway and Laois will take place in Portlaoise next Sunday (3.30), with the Leinster club league final between Ballyboden St Enda's and Coolderry as a curtain-raiser (1.45).

And the remaining SFC quarter-final between Wicklow and Meath will take place in Aughrim next Saturday night (7.0).

Meath have been dealt a double defensive blow with the news that both Davy Dalton and Eoghan Harrington have been ruled out of the game.

Harrington has picked up an achilles tendon injury and could be out for up to four weeks, while Dalton is facing a similar spell on the sidelines.

Both men started the Division 3 league final defeat to Monaghan, with Dalton notching a memorable goal, but Meath manager Mick O'Dowd now faces a reshuffle ahead of the date with the Garden County.

* The GAA confirmed yesterday that it is spending €9m on its new high performance training centre at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown, which will serve all its sports and also serve the needs of schools and colleges in Leinster.

It is hoped the state-of-the-art facilities will be ready in September 2014.

Irish Independent

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