Larkin wins place in Kilkenny attack

Larkin wins place in Kilkenny attack

Eoin Larkin will line out at left half-forward for defending champions Kilkenny in tomorrow afternoon's Leinster SHC final against Galway at Croke Park (throw-in 4pm).

Larkin comes in for Richie Hogan in the only change Cats manager Brian Cody has made to the team that swept Dublin aside by 4-19 to 0-12.

The James Stephens clubman has been performing strongly in training and was an influential figure in Kilkenny's Leinster semi-final win over Galway last year, scoring five points in the 2-20 to 3-13 success.

Cody substituted four of his starting forwards in the recent Dublin game, and Aidan Fogarty, who helped himself to two goals having been introduced in the second half, must have been close to starting tomorrow's decider.

There are a number of positional switches up front as TJ Reid and Eddie Brennan funnel back to join Larkin in the half-forwards, while Martin Comerford and Henry Shefflin flank Richie Power in the full-forward line.

The rest of the All-Ireland champions' line-up is unchanged, with goalkeeper PJ Ryan boasting a settled defensive unit in front of him and his fellow 2009 All-Star Michael Rice linking up again with Michael Fennelly in centre-field.

The fit-again John Tennyson, who had a nerve injury in his right leg, and James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick (hamstring tear) will add to the Cats' bench options.

Cody's charges are bidding for their sixth Leinster title in-a-row, which would be a new record for the county. Kilkenny won five successive Leinster Championships back in the 1970s (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975).

This will be the 34th Championship meeting between the counties, with Kilkenny having won 25 to Galway's eight of the previous clashes. Galway are the only side to have beaten the Cats twice in the Championship over the last decade, having won All-Ireland semi-finals in 2001 and 2005. However, Kilkenny trumped the Tribesmen in 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009.

KILKENNY (SHC v Galway): PJ Ryan; J Dalton, N Hickey, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, JJ Delaney; M Rice, M Fennelly; TJ Reid, E Brennan, E Larkin; M Comerford, R Power, H Shefflin.

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