NHL moves in to final round

The final round of the top tier of the National Hurling League gets underway today, but barring some huge upsets, Kilkenny and Clare are set to advance to the decider next month.

The final round of the top tier of the National Hurling League gets underway today, but barring some huge upsets, Kilkenny and Clare are set to advance to the decider next month.

The Cats host Tipperary at Nowlan Park and and boss Brian Cody will look for a repeat of the form that saw his side demolish Leinster rivals Wexford last weekend by 3-26 to 0-5. The comprehensive victory virtually assured them of a place in the final.

Cody has not been afraid to experiment with his line-up, and Peter Barry is the only injury worry - the James Stephens club man faces a late fitness test on a groin injury.

Tipperary boss Ken Hogan has made two changes and a number of switches from the side that defeated Galway last time out for today's tie.

U21 star Darragh Egan gets the nod at full-forward, replacing the injured Micheal Webster.

Francis Devanney returns to lead the attack and John Devane moves to his left, with Benny Dunne moving to midfield in place of Pa Morrissey.

With recent wins over Cork, Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford, the Banner are flying high and travelled to Wexford yesterday to be ready to face the Slaneysiders today. Clare only need to draw to book their place in the final.

And they were handed another incentive midweek to qualify for the final - star forward Tony Griffin will return for the clash.

The attacker is currently studying in Vancouver, and will not be available for today's clash, but will return having completed his year in college by the date of the league final, presuming Clare qualify.

Frank Lohan is set to return to the side today, having been available for last weekend's victory over Cork due to business commitments.

Wexford could be without up to seven players for the clash. Colm Kehoe (hamstring), Eoin Quigley (calf) and Niall Higgins (dead leg) are on the treatment table, while dual player Redmond Barry will not be considered due to the NFL final. Paul Carley and Willie Doran are also injury doubts.

Galway have an outside, if unlikely, chance of making the final, and they travel to Cork, who are looking for their first win in the second phase.

With that in mind, Cork attackers Joe Deane, Niall McCarthy and Neil Ronan, who all missed out on last weekend's defeat to Clare, return to the starting line-up.

Deane is back in his usual left corner-forward position, with McCarthy leading the attack in place of Pat Mulcahy. Ronan replaces Erins Own's Kieran Murphy at left half-forward.

John Browne comes in for Cian O'Connor at left corner-back, while Kevin Hartnett replaces Graham Callinan at right half-back.

John Gardiner deputises in the heart of defence for Ronan Curran, while Ben O'Connor is at right half-forward, with Sarsfields' Kieran Murphy moving from top of the left to top of the right.

Galway are looking for a recovery of their own after the league champions were comprehensively beaten by Tipperary last weekend.

Forwards Kevin Broderick and Eugene Cloonan have been finding it difficult to find the net in the second phase - the Tribesmen have yet to raise a green flag in the second round.

CORK (SH v Galway): D Óg Cusack; B Murphy, D O'Sullivan, J Browne; K Harnett, J Gardiner, S Óg Ó hAilpín; J O'Connor, T Kenny; B O'Connor, N McCarthy, N Ronan; K Murphy (Sarsfields), B Corcoran, J Deane.

TIPPERARY (SH v Kilkenny): B Cummins; P Curran, P Maher, H Maloney; D Fanning, E Corcoran, D Fitzgerald; C Morrissey, B Dunne; M O'Leary, F Devanney, J Devane; E Kelly, D Egan, P O'Brien.

More in this section

CourtsGaaHeathrowPlace: TipperaryPlace: Nowlan ParkPlace: WexfordPlace: VancouverPerson: ClarePerson: Brian CodyPerson: CodyPerson: Peter BarryPerson: James StephensPerson: Ken HoganPerson: Darragh EganPerson: Micheal WebsterPerson: Francis DevanneyPerson: John DevanePerson: Benny DunnePerson: Pa MorrisseyPerson: Tony GriffinPerson: Frank LohanPerson: Colm KehoePerson: Eoin QuigleyPerson: Niall HigginsPerson: Redmond BarryPerson: Paul CarleyPerson: Willie DoranPerson: Joe DeanePerson: Niall McCarthyPerson: Neil RonanPerson: DeanePerson: McCarthyPerson: Pat MulcahyPerson: RonanPerson: Kieran MurphyPerson: John BrownePerson: Cian O'ConnorPerson: Kevin HartnettPerson: Graham CallinanPerson: John GardinerPerson: Ronan CurranPerson: Ben O'ConnorPerson: Kevin BroderickPerson: Eugene CloonanPerson: D Og CusackPerson: D O'SullivanPerson: J BrownePerson: K HarnettPerson: J GardinerPerson: S Og O hAilpinPerson: J O'ConnorPerson: T KennyPerson: B O'ConnorPerson: N McCarthyPerson: N RonanPerson: K MurphyPerson: J DeanePerson: CumminsPerson: P CurranPerson: P MaherPerson: H MaloneyPerson: D FanningPerson: E CorcoranPerson: D FitzgeraldPerson: C MorrisseyPerson: B DunnePerson: M O'LearyPerson: F DevanneyPerson: J DevanePerson: E KellyPerson: D EganPerson: P O'BrienEvent: NFLOrganisation: NHLOrganisation: NATIONAL HURLING LEAGUEOrganisation: KilkennyOrganisation: LeinsterOrganisation: WexfordOrganisation: GalwayOrganisation: CorkOrganisation: TipperaryOrganisation: WaterfordOrganisation: SlaneysidersOrganisation: ClareOrganisation: Erins OwnOrganisation: Sarsfields'Organisation: SHOrganisation: Sarsfields
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