Canning leads u-21s into battle with the Banner

Galway’s hopes of advancing to a second All Ireland hurling final this year rest on the u-21s who face Clare on Saturday.

The two sides meet in the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling All Ireland u-21 Championship semi-final in Thurles. Kilkenny will play Antrim at Pairc Tailteann in Navan.

Once again it is a difficult task for Galway who have yet to contest a championship game, and they are up against a Clare side that has its tails up after winning their first u-21 Munster title. To do so they overcame Waterford in Dungarvan - an experience that has boosted the Bannersmen’s morale.

Last year Galway entered the semi-final as champions, having easily claimed their ninth All Ireland title against Dublin in 2007. Yet they came unstuck to a classy Kilkenny, failing to do themselves justice on the day.

Once again scoring ace Joe Canning leads Galway’s attack, despite revealing this week that he is ignoring medical advice to rest a groin strain for a year. Much will be expected of the Portumna marksman if Galway are to advance.

Clare, who, despite 12 appearances, had failed to win the Munster title until this season, showed tremendous character and hunger to overcome Waterford by 2-17 to 2-12. Galway have been warned, and they will want to emulate the minors who will now meet Kilkenny in the final following their 2-22 to 1-18 victory over Waterford at Croke Park.

Despite a slow start, a goal from full forward Ronan Badger set up Galway for a 1 - 12 to 0 - 11 half time lead with Richie Cummins and Shane Maloney also chipping in with three points each. Galway always had the edge in the second half, and although Waterford came within four when they scored a goal, Niall Burke struck for superb goal on 57 minutes to seal the issue.

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