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Limerick manager cites All Blacks as Kilkenny challenge looms in BGE Under-21 hurling finale

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

03:59 6 Sep 2017


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On Saturday, Limerick and Kilkenny will face off for the first time in a Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under-21 Hurling Final.

Limerick, who won the competition two years ago, are pre-match favourites but manager Pat Donnelly highlighted Kilkenny's tradition, drawing comparison with rugby's All Blacks.

"It's like the All Blacks in the rugby, you just have to respect them," Donnelly told Off The Ball's Oisin Langan.

"We said we won't fear them but we'll certainly show them a lot of respect and if we do win, it'll be a huge championship to win. It'll be one to look back on and say, we could be very proud of the way we've played and the teams beaten along the way."  

But his Kilkenny counterpart Eddie Brennan has been quick to laud Limerick's qualities.   

 

"They have the experience," he said.

"They have a lot of hurling done and a lot of them have senior exposure in Munster Championship as well which stands to young guys at this level, so certainly they tick a lot of boxes in that regard and that's probably the challenge that's there for us. But, look, I'd be confident too in our players and I think we have some really good players.

Pat Lyng (Kilkenny), Tom Morrissey (Limerick), Padraig Doyle (Wicklow) Barry O’Sullivan (Kerry), Eddie Brennan (Kilkenny U-21 Manager), Pat Donnelly (Limerick U-21 Manager) were in Dublin today to look ahead to this weekend’s Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland finals. The double header will take place in Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday, with Kerry and Wicklow throwing in at 1.00pm in the ‘B’ final and Kilkenny and Limerick taking part in the ‘A’ final at 3.00pm. Fans unable to attend the game can catch all the action live on TG4 or can follow #HurlingToTheCore online. Eddie Brennan and Pat Donnelly pictured.

"I think myself, it's just the occasion, it just comes down on the night, getting it right and getting the mindset right and it could be a little bit of luck too. They often say in All Ireland finals, if the ball flies into the squad, it hits the wrong hurl, it's in the back of the net. It hits the right hurl, it's safe. It could come down to something like that."

Limerick player Tom Morrissey acknowledged the strength of the current generation, with some of the crop having already won the under-21 crown back in 2015.   

"We've been a successful group up along the way from Minors up to Under-21s and having success already, only heightens your hunger to win a game and that's a good sign. A good team will win one or two All Irelands but a great team is one that will win multiple All Irelands and we have a chance to do that again, our second one on Saturday and that's definitely the aim," Morrissey told Oisin.

This article was brought to you in association with Bord Gáis Energy, putting you at the core of the action of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior and U-21 Championships – keep up to date and follow #HurlingToTheCore


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