Holders Clare looking to take a big step towards back-to-back All-Ireland U-21 titles

Senior stars to the fore again as the Banner face Galway

Tony Kelly: Clare’s senior star, fresh from his herocis at Croke Park against Limerick, will be looking to help the Banner  book their place in another All-Ireland final, this time at U-21 level. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Tony Kelly: Clare’s senior star, fresh from his herocis at Croke Park against Limerick, will be looking to help the Banner book their place in another All-Ireland final, this time at U-21 level. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Sat, Aug 24, 2013, 01:00


With four certain starters in the All-Ireland senior final against Cork, and being defending champions, Clare should in theory feature in two national finals over consecutive Sundays in September.

That is Kilkenny territory in the level of high achievement.

The Banner are certainly rising. In David McInerney at fullback, midfield pairing Colm Galvin and Tony Kelly along with Podge Collins at centre forward they boast the spine not only of this team but Davy Fitzgerald’s senior outfit.

It makes them outstanding favourites this evening.

“Rightly so,” said Galway captain Conor Cooney. “They have really come into form this year. They have guys like Tony Kelly and Podge Collins who have just been outstanding.

“There has been a lot of talk and hype about them but it is deserved. They have got to an All-Ireland final and they have gotten there on merit . . we know we have a massive hill in front of us. They have super hurlers there, not just the lads I mentioned already but younger lads like (full forward) Aaron Cunningham. ”

So Galway have no chance, right? They have had little to no preparation compared to the experience Clare gained when fending off Waterford then Tipperary. But it’s not that simple. Galway have captured three All-Irelands since 2005 at this age grade.

They should be overrun here. In theory.