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Clare Prepare to Meet Kilkenny in their First Ever All-Ireland Final at U-21 Level

09.09.09

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Ambassadors - Joe Canning, captain of Galway, Richie Hogan and Arron Graffin and Clare captain Ciaran O'DohertyBord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Ambassadors - Joe Canning, captain of Galway, Richie Hogan and Arron Graffin and Clare captain Ciaran O'Doherty

Captains and Managers meet at Croke Park ahead of Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Final.

Kilkenny captain David Langton, Clare captain Ciaran O’Doherty and their respective managers Michael Walsh and John Minogue were in Croke Park today ahead of the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland final which takes place in the capital on Sunday (13th September, throw-in 4.30pm).  Kilkenny star and Bord Gáis Energy Ambassador Richie Hogan was also there in the wake of his contribution to Kilkenny’s historic Senior All-Ireland Championship victory on Sunday.

Current champions, Kilkenny will line out on Sunday in the hope of clinching a Championship two-in-a-row, which they last managed in the 2003-2004 seasons.  After solid wins against Dublin in the Leinster Final and Antrim in the All-Ireland semi final, Kilkenny are favourites for the match and after notching up 14 points against Antrim, Richie Hogan will offer the greatest threat to the Clare backs.

Clare, by contrast, are in their first ever final at this level.  After a thrilling win against Waterford in the Munster final, the first time provincial champions took Galway to extra time before eventually winning by two points in what is widely being viewed as the best game of hurling all season.  The match will have stood to the Banner and they will be hoping for repeat performances from Darach Honan and Colin Ryan.

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Criostóir Ó Cuana said, The Bord Gáis Energy U-21 Championship has been a riveting competition to date and the final pairing of Kilkenny and Clare suggests that we will be treated to a decider that provides us with a fitting end to the season.

“Clare's emergence in Munster on the back of a thrilling provincial final success over Waterford generated massive interest and their semi-final win over Galway was no less dramatic. Kilkenny have been a consistent force at this grade for the last number of years and they will provide the new Munster champions with the ultimate test. All in all it makes for an intriguing clash.

“Bord Gáis Energy's innovative sponsorship, evident in initiatives such as their 'Breaking Through' video compilation and their half time on-field skills competitions, has helped generate massive interest in our U-21 championship and we look forward tobuilding on the progress that has been made in raising the profile of hurling at this important grade.”

To cap off the year, Bord Gáis Energy have launched a ‘Breaking Through Player of the Year’ award which will recognise the player who has stood out overall during the 2009 Championship.  The award winner will be chosen by a panel made up of Bord Gáis Energy Sport Sponsorship manager, Ger Cunningham, RTÉ’s Marty Morrissey, Micheál O Domhnaill of TG4 and the GAA’s Sponsorship Manager, Paul Dermody. The winning player will receive a voucher worth €1000.

Ger Cunningham, who was part of the 1982 All-Ireland winning team said, “The Breaking Through Player of the Year Award will recognise the outstanding U-21 hurler of 2009 and, after a thrilling season, it will be a tough job for the panel to select a winner. The prize will certainly be well earned.

“Bord Gáis Energy’s sponsorship has been a tremendous success this year and I have no doubt that Sunday’s match between Clare and Kilkenny will prove a fitting conclusion.  I’m very much looking forward to it and I hope that we can add to the occasion with the last crossbar challenge of the year, along with the other items we have lined up.”

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Championship 2009 Results & Fixtures

Bord Gáis Energy Leinster GAA Hurling U-21 Championship
20th May: Kilkenny (1-21) v Laois (1-10)
27th May: Kildare (1-3) v Dublin (1-10)
10th June: Dublin (1-24) v Wexford (0-8)
  Kilkenny (0-18) v Offaly (0-15)
15th July:   FINAL: Kilkenny (2-20) v Dublin (1-19)
Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Hurling U-21 Championship
3rd June: Quarter Final: Cork (0-25) v Tipperary (2-22)
15th July: Semi Final: Clare (4-22) v Limerick (2-13)
  Semi Final : Waterford (3-21) v Tipperary (2-14)
29th July:  FINAL: Waterford (2-12) v Clare (2-17)
Bord Gáis Energy Ulster GAA Hurling U-21 Championship
15th July: Quarter Final: Armagh (3-18) v Monaghan (1-3)
22nd July: Semi Final: Antrim (5-25) v Armagh (1-11)
  Semi Final: Derry (3-15) v Down (3-9)
29th July:   FINAL: Antrim (1-19) v Derry (0-9)
Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Championship

22nd August:  All-Ireland Semi Final:  Kilkenny (2-22) v Antrim (2-7)
  All-Ireland Semi Final: Clare (3-23) v Galway (5-15)
13th September: All-Ireland Final Clare v Kilkenny, Croke Park, 4.30pm
Contacts

Stiofáin MacDháibhéad,
Bord Gáis Energy
Tel: 01 6021116
Mobile: 087 7991206
Email: smacdhai@bordgais.ie
www.bordgaisenergy.ie

Claire Turvey / Kelly Slattery
Pembroke Communications
Tel: 01-6496486

Alan Milton
Communications Manager
Tel: 01-8658614 / 087-9299488