Despite the defeats of the past two seasons, Dublin boss Sean Lane is in confident mood heading down to the Marble City.
He and his selectors have given a vote of confidence to the team which defeated Offaly in the semi-final for tonight’s decider.
Said Lane: “Dublin hurling is going there off the back of winning Division Two of this year’s National League, this year’s All-Ireland College title and the Leinster minor title of 2005,” he said.
“So far it hasn’t been a bad year for Dublin hurling and the Under-21 team is looking to maintain the momentum.
“Most of our team have tasted hurling success in one grade or another.”
Lane believes the defeats Dublin have suffered may act as a motivational tool.
He added: “Having lost the last two Under-21 finals to Kilkenny we now need to put a stop to that losing sequence. Having to play them on their own patch doesn’t make it any easier but we’ll give a good account ourselves.
“The next three to five years will be crucial for Dublin hurling.
“We need to be winning adult titles and building on the under age successes.
Looking for their first Under-21 provincial hurling title since 1972, the Dubs have included nine players who started in last year’s decider which the Cats won 0-17 to 1-10.
Goalkeeper Alan Nolan, defenders Ger O’Meara, Damien O’Reilly, Keith Nolan, Cathal Billings, midfielder Willie Lowry and forwards Eoin Moran, Alan McCrabbe, Peadar
Carton all started in last July’s final.
Graham Morris, who has been named at centre-forward tonight, came on as a sub in last year’s final.
The champions defeated Wexford comprehensively in this year’s semi-final, 3-17 to 1-6, while Dublin ousted Offaly 0-17 to 1-11, in Parnell Park.
Kilkenny have a side brimming with talent — and experience. They include seniors John Tennyson and ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick in their starting line up along with panellists Donncha Cody, Sean Cummins, John Dalton, Michael Fennelly and Austin Murphy.
Aside from Cummins, the other six were on the losing team to Galway in last year’s All-Ireland final.
DUBLIN (U21HC v Kilkenny) - A Nolan; G O’Meara, P Bergin, D O’Reilly; K Nolan, T Brady, C Billings; J McCaffrey, W Lowry; E Moran, G Morris, K O’Reilly; P Carton, D O’Dwyer, A McCrabbe.
KILKENNY (U21 HC v Dublin):. L. Tierney; K. Joyce, D. Cody, S. Cummins; J. Dalton, J. Tennyson, P. Hartley; M. Fennelly, J. Fitzpatrick; TJ Reid, A. Murphy, D. Fogarty; E. O’Donoghue, M. Nolan, D. McCormack.