Kilkenny minors going for back-to-back titles

Kilkenny minors going for back-to-back titles

Kilkenny minor selector Brendan O'Sullivan believes that it will be extremely tough for his side to put back-to-back All-Ireland successes together, when they face Galway in the ESB All-Ireland Minor Hurling final today at Croke Park (throw-in 1.15pm).

Kilkenny overcame Galway in last year's decider, but O'Sullivan is fully aware that the Tribesmen will be all out for revenge this afternoon.

"This Galway team is a very skillful team and they were very impressive against Waterford in the semi-final," he said.

"There are two very skillful sides in the All-Ireland final I think and it will be a great minor final. Like all minor finals, it can go any way on the day."

O'Sullivan feels that Kilkenny have showed great character this year, but that no particular game stands out as a turning point.

"Every game was different for us. We went to Westmeath and were worried about getting beaten in Mullingar.

"Then in the Leinster final we knew that Wexford were reasonably good. On any given day you can be beaten.

"In the Tipperary match, the semi-final, we started well in the first 20 minutes, but then they came back at us. We showed great character in the last few minutes to get the scores when needed."

The Cats' build-up to this final has not gone entirely smoothly, as O'Sullivan explains.

"We lost our full-back Willie Phelan as he broke his collarbone. Our corner-forward Ger Aylward is sick also, so they are two major losses to us."

But he is expecting a star-studded performance from the players who are still around from the All-Ireland success last year, with a confidence too that today's first-time finalists will also step up to the mark.

"They are all experienced hurlers at this stage and they have all played at Croke Park in a big game.

"We would hope that they would all perform on the day - I think they are all leaders in their own way and hopefully they will all show well."

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