Galway unchanged for U-21 final

Galway unchanged for U-21 final

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham has kept faith with the team that beat Dublin for tonight's All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship final against Tipperary in Thurles (throw-in 7pm).

In the Tribesmen's unchanged starting line-up, Richie Cummins has recovered from an ankle injury to retain his place at right corner forward.

Cummins and centre back and captain David Burke are the only senior panellists included, while the side includes four members of the NUI Galway team that won the Fitzgibbon Cup last March - defenders Declan Connolly and Paul Gordon, midfielder Barry Daly and left corner forward Gerry Kelly.

Bernard Burke, who scored Galway's second goal in their 2-14 to 1-10 semi-final win over Dublin last month, has to be content with a place on the bench.

Much of the pre-match build-up in the media has centred on the decision to fix tonight's decider for Semple Stadium, and not a neutral venue.

This has drawn an angry response from the Galway Hurling Board and the county's fans, who are set to stay away from Galway's first U-21 final appearance since 2007.

Galway Hurling Board chairman Joe Byrne said: "There is anger and apathy. At the last night of training we sold 19 tickets. People have been telling us all week they won't go to Thurles.

"There is huge anger here over the GAA's failure to move this to a neutral venue. I believe over 8,000 were sold in Tipperary by Thursday."

Cunningham said that the row over the final venue has not affected their preparations.

"We've trained very hard to win this match. We let the administrators handle it. We purposely stayed out of the media and out of the limelight because it's their job to administer," he explained.

"The administration in Galway have looked at every avenue possible to have this debated in a proper manner. There will be no excuses and it won't get into guys' heads."

GALWAY (U-21HC v Tipperary): Chris Finnegan; Declan Connolly, Paul Gordon, Gerard O'Halloran; Niall Donoghue, David Burke (capt), Sylvie Og Linnane; Johnny Coen, Barry Daly; James Regan, Niall Quinn, Eoin Forde; Richie Cummins, Gary Burke, Gerry Kelly.

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