Highly-rated Wexford aiming to tame Cats

ALL-IRELAND champions Kilkenny include seven of last year’s team for tonight’s Erin Leinster U21 HC final against Wexford at Wexford Park (7.30).

Seniors Tommy Walsh, Conor Phelan and James Fitzpatrick will line out at right half-back, centre-forward and right corner-forward respectively as the Cats look to win their 18th provincial title.

Kilkenny made hard work of disposing of Laois and Dublin on their way to tonight’s final while Wexford were pushed all the way by Offaly.

Kilkenny coach Martin Fogarty is concerned about his side’s failure to score a goal in their two games.

“I don’t wish to take away from either Laois and Dublin but, given the forwards we have, we should be scoring goals,” said Martin.

“We will certainly need a couple if we are to have any chance of beating Wexford. They are buzzing at the minute with their seniors in the All-Ireland semi-final. We’ll need to play to the peak of our powers to get a result.

“I’ve always said that winning minor titles is no

guarantee of success up the line. Wexford have won’t a Leinster minor title since 1985 yet their present U21 team is regarded as one of the best they’ve had in years.

“Form goes out the window when Wexford and Kilkenny get together and it’s the team who wants it most that will come out on top.”

The champions have made one change from the team which defeated Dublin, with last year’s minor sensation Richie Power coming in to partner Peter Cleere at midfield for the injured Shane Hennessy.

Wexford won’t name their team until just before the game because of injuries, but they will include seniors, John O’Connor, Keith Rossiter, Anthony O’Connor and Rory Jacob, who will captain the side.

Paths to the final: Kilkenny 0-20 Laois 2-10; Kilkenny 0-15 Dublin 2-5; Wexford 1-13 Offaly 2-7

KILKENNY (U21H v Wexford): D. Hegarty; S. Maher, J. Tennyson, M. Fennelly; T. Walsh, PJ Delaney, K. Hoyne; R. Power, P. Cleere; J. Phelan, C. Phelan, S. O’Neill; J. Fitzpatrick, W. O’Dwyer, B. Dowling.

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