On Saturday, Dublin and Antrim will be battling for the chance to compete for a first ever All-Ireland title at U-21 level as they take on Galway and Tipperary respectively in the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland semi finals. The matches will take place as a double header in Tullamore.
Oisin Gough of Dublin, Antrim captain Cormac Donnelly, Galway’s David Burke and Noel McGrath of Tipperary met in the capital today ahead of the back to back clashes. While Gough, McGrath and Donnelly are facing into the semi finals off the back of provincial victories, Burke and his Galway team mates are coming into the fray fresh as in previous years.
Entering the Championship at All-Ireland semi final stage has not impeded Galway in the past and they have played in five All-Ireland finals since 2000, winning two of them. Tipperary, who defeated All-Ireland champions Clare in the Munster Final at Thurles, have played past the semi final stage three times since 2000 but have not been declared champions themselves since 1995.
Pretenders Dublin and Antrim, by contrast, have never won and All-Ireland title, with Antrim having never made it to the final and Dublin having featured three times in the competition’s history. The last time they made it to an All-Ireland final was in 2007, when Dublin suffered defeat to this weekend’s opponent Galway. But having dispatched of Kilkenny and Wexford in fine victories earlier this summer, Dublin’s confidence will be high.
Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Criostóir Ó Cuana said, “We have been treated to a fantastic Bord Gáis Energy Hurling U21 All-Ireland championship to date with excellent games on the provincial circuit and now our focus turns to the national stage where those teams who are lucky enough to be involved will look to kick on and make the most of the opportunity that presents itself.
“The fine surroundings of O’Connor Park, Tullamore will host two games that carry with them their own novel intrigue and it will be interesting to see what final pairing emerges from what should be an excellent afternoon of top class hurling.”
Ger Cunningham, Sports Sponsorship Manager at Bord Gáis Energy said, “The 2009 Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Championship was one to remember following Clare’s superb victories in Munster and then in the All-Ireland final. With Antrim and Dublin both fielding strong and worthy teams this year, we are again looking at the prospect of a new winner in this competition, which is great for the game of hurling.
“It is genuinely exciting to be involved with hurling at this level and Bord Gáis Energy is dedicated to supporting the Championship in any way we can. I very much hope that fans travel to Tullamore to support their counties and as usual we will be on the ground with the crossbar challenge and other promotional activity to ensure that they are guaranteed an enjoyable day out.”
The first match at O’Connor Park in Tullamore, Tipperary v Antrim, will throw in at 4.00pm and Dublin v Galway will follow at 6.00pm. Both matches are scheduled to be broadcast live on TG4.
Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling
U-21 All-Ireland Championship 2010 Fixtures
Bord Gáis Energy Leinster GAA Hurling U-21 Championship
9th June: Kilkenny (2-31) v Offaly (0-8)
Laois (0-9) v Carlow (1-14)
23rd June: Kilkenny (0-12) v Dublin (0-17)
Wexford (2-17) v Carlow (2-13)
14th July: Leinster Final: Dublin (2-15) v Wexford (0-15)
Bord Gáis Energy Munster GAA Hurling U-21 Championship
2nd June: Cork (1-16) v Waterford (1-3)
14th July: Limerick (1-12) v Clare (1-15)
Tipperary (2-17) v Cork (0-21)
28th July: Munster Final: Tipperary (1-22) v Clare (1-17)
Bord Gáis Energy Ulster GAA Hurling U-21 Championship
14th July: Armagh (2-19) v Fermanagh (2-8)
21st July: Antrim (0-19) v Down (1-12)
Derry (0-10) v Armagh (2-12)
28th July: Ulster Final: Antrim (0-21) v Armagh (0-16)
Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 All-Ireland Championship
21st August: All-Ireland Semi Finals:
Dublin v Galway
Tipperary v Antrim
11th September: All-Ireland Final