Minors have scoring power to advance to final

The Galway minor hurlers will be keen to produce a big performance when they take on the Leinster champions Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final this Sunday at Croke Park (2pm ).

Sunday will be Kilkenny's fifth championship game of the season. They beat Dublin by 3-15 to 1-17 in the Leinster final on the first Sunday in July, with team captain and full-forward Adrian Mullen hitting 1-9 (0-5fs ).

Mullen has been Kilkenny's stand-out player at this grade so far this season, and the Ballyhale Shamrocks youngster has hit 3-38 in the provincial championship in four games.

His scoring partner in the full-forward line is left corner forward Seán Ryan, who hit 2-2 from play in their victory over Dublin.

In the Clare game, Galway lined out with team captain Darren Morrissey (Sarsfields ) at number two and full-back was Turlougmore's Daniel Loftus, and the Galway full-back line will have to be on red-alert to keep that black and amber duo in check.

Famous Kilkenny names

Kilkenny have two famous hurling surnames in their full-back line. DJ Carey's son Michael lines out at full-back, and right corner back Tommy Ronan, is son of former star Adrian Ronan.

Kilkenny have had three extra championship games against Westmeath, Wexford and Laois, compared to Galway's one against Clare, and those extra games will have given Kilkenny team manager Pat O'Grady a better chance to blend his team for championship action.

However, Galway manager Jeff Lynskey is well used to such a scenario and he is up-beat about his team's chances.

"We have prepared well over the past few weeks and months," he says. "We played Dublin in a high quality game last Sunday and nearly all the lads played against Cork last week in the U17 tournament, so our preparations have been good. We won't be using lack of championship games as an excuse for anything."

Lynskey, who has been in charge of the minors for the past few seasons, was pleased with his team's performance in their quarter-final win over Clare.

Galway won by 2-19 to 1-12, and the Liam Mellows' man will be looking to Jack Canning, Conor Walsh and Seán Bleahane to keep up their good scoring ratio.

"We had 11 different scorers in the game with Clare which was good to see. The panel has worked very hard over the past few months, and in our two recent games with Cork and Dublin, a good few lads have put their hands up for starting places, and spots on the 24 to tog out this weekend which is what you want to see. It makes our job a lot harder in picking a starting team, but every squad needs serious competition for places and we certainly have that."

With Galway in action in the senior game at 4pm, Lynskey is hopeful of good support for his team on Sunday.

"Hopefully our lads will give the Galway supporters plenty to cheer about. Good support is a help to any team at any level. Kilkenny is a fine side. They will be hard to beat, but it is a challenge we are happy to take on. Our players know if they play to their potential, they will be very hard to stop too."



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