Tipp's Kelly to take part in All-Ireland poc fada

Tipperary ace Eoin Kelly will grace the Annaverna Mountain for the first time since 2006 this Saturday, as the 2010 M Donnelly All-Ireland Poc Fada competition plays out at the Louth venue.

Tipperary ace Eoin Kelly will grace the Annaverna Mountain for the first time since 2006 this Saturday, as the 2010 M Donnelly All-Ireland Poc Fada competition plays out at the Louth venue.

Fresh from his All-Ireland quarter-final exploits last Sunday at Croke Park, Kelly comes in as a late call-up, taking the place of his Premier County colleague Brendan Cummins, a former winner of the event.

Roscommon's Gerry Fallon will be back to defend the title he won for the first time last year - Cummins was the runner-up - and he certainly faces some stiff competition.

Along with Kelly, the reigning provincial Poc Fada champions are set to take part - Derry's Ruairí Convery is the Ulster champion, Laois man Eoin Reilly will represent Leinster, UCC student Séamus Coffey was the Munster winner and Galway's James Skehill will compete for Connacht.

Also facing the challenge of the tough 5km course will be Kilkenny's All Ireland winning goalkeeper James McGarry, Down duo Graham Clarke and Karol Keating, along with Brendan McNamara (Clare), Donal O’Brien (Mayo) and Meath's Neil Hackett.

Yesterday at Croke Park the draw for the pairs competition took place, which will see the duo with the lowest combined score take home the trophy.

The players will play in the following teams: (Team A) Ruairi Convery & Donal O’Brien, (B) Gerry Fallon & James Skehill, (C) Graham Clarke & Eoin Kelly, (D) Eoin Reilly & Karol Keating, (E) James McGarry & Neil Hackett and (F) Brendan McNamara & Seamus Coffey.

Waterford's Patricia Jackman will be back on the famous mountain course to defend her Camogie All-Ireland Poc Fada title against the challenges of Connacht champion Stephanie Gannon (Athenry, Galway), Leinster winner Voureen Quigley (Kilkerley, Louth), Munster champion Jacqui O'Connor (St. Ibarr's Shelmeliers, Wexford), Ulster champion Fionnuala Carr (Down), Armagh champion Bernie Murray (Cullyhanna) and Louth champion Catriona Cantwell (St. Anne's).

The hurlers in this year's Under-16 Poc Fada competition are Patrick Nugent (Antrim), Sean Barry (Waterford), Owen Tracey (Galway) and Dónall Connolly Jnr (Louth).

Chairperson of the national Coiste of An Poc Fada, Donie Nealon, is expecting another great day's action.

"This is a very unique sporting event. We can expect a close contest," said the former Tipperary star hurler and Munster Council secretary.

Louth's Pat Hamilton, who serves as secretary of the National Poc Fada Committee, reminded all those intending to attend the event that they should come prepared for the rugged mountain course.

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