With less than 24 hours until Limerick and Kilkenny meet in the 2017 All Ireland U21 final, excitement is building for the highly anticipated clash.
— BGEGAA (@BGEGAA) September 8, 2017
Ahead of the game we caught up with Mossy O’Brien to get his thoughts ahead of the titanic game.
“We’re very confident in our panel. We’ve seen that throughout the season. We’ve played something like 25 guys so far and we’ve massive faith and trust in them. We’ve a panel of 37 so we’ve massive trust in what we have as a unit.”
The game is a repeat of the 2014 minor final where Limerick entered the game as heavy favourites. However, on the day Kilkenny out-witted the Treaty men to pick up a 2-17 to 0-19 victory and secure the title. O’Brien most certainly isn’t taking this Kilkenny side for granted.
“They are the team to beat to be fair. The form has shown true from minor three years ago.”
However, it’s been nine years since Kilkenny have won a 21s All Ireland title. Likewise there is huge expectancy in Limerick that this side can push on Saturday and into the future with the senior team.
This year Limerick have entered each of their four games as favourites and come out with a victory on each occasion. With wonderfully talented forwards at their disposal, Pat Donnelly’s side have come up against a sweeper in each round of the champions thus far, something O’Brien has noted in training.
“The game-plan is simple enough with us. We haven’t over-thought it or try to out think anything. It’s straight-forward, we’re playing straight up 15 man hurling.
Its about delivering the ball into our inside guys. We’ve faced sweeper systems a good bit, trying to avoid that if possible, while supplying our forward line with as much ball as we can get.
In training it’s simply trying to replicate that as best as we can.”
The Limerick selectors will know that have a special group of players on their hands who have been highly consistent over the last couple of years. Indeed nine of the starting XV from the 2014 minor final are named to start on Sunday while seven of that fifteen already have an U21 All Ireland medal after being part of the 2015 side.
“We back the players 100\%. We are very confident in their ability. We have no control on what way a team comes out to play. We come out to play an expansive game, we trust our players and they’ve been performing on that basis.”
O’Brien, despite being confident in his teams ability is cautious ahead of the challange is not taking anything for granted this Saturday.
“I’ve no doubt that this is going to be another 10-15\% step up again against Kilkenny so it’s looking to embrace the challange and look forward to it.”
Only time will tell but if Limerick can play to their potential there is great hope that they can win a second U21 title in just three years.
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