FIVE WATERFORD PLAYERS who featured in last Sunday’s Munster senior hurling final defeat against Tipperary will line out for the county U21 side when they face Clare in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21HC semi-final tomorrow evening in Cusack Park in Ennis at 7.30pm.
Goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe, centre-back Philip Mahony, wing-forward Gavin O’Brien and full-forward Pauric Mahony all started in the senior tie in Páirc Uí Chaoimh while wing-forward Martin O’Neill was introduced as a substitute during that game.
Waterford boast a strong side with wing-back Eoin Madigan and midfielder Jake Dillon both having featured in the De La Salle side who have claimed Munster club honors in recent years while corner-forward Brian O’Halloran started for the Déise senior side that faced Tipperary in the 2010 All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final.
WATERFORD U21H: Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner): Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater), Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner), Mark Wyse (Passage); Ray Barry (Lismore), Philip Mahony (Ballygunner), Eoin Madigan (De La Salle); Padraig Prendergast (Lismore), Jake Dillon (De La Salle); Gavin O’Brien (Roanmore), Eamonn Murphy (Dunhill), Martin O’Neill (Mount Sion); Fionán Murray (Cappoquin), Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner), Brian O’Halloran (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg).
Meanwhile there is action tonight in the Bord Gáis Energy Ulster U21HC with both semi-final clashes down for decision. Down face Derry in Casement Park at 7.30pm with Derry trying to reach their first provincial final since 2009 while Down last contested a title decider the previous year in 2008.
Down team manager, Martin McCusker, has a full panel to pick from and will be relying on big performances from four of the Down senior panelists including influential cousins Donal and Michael Hughes. Derry will have to do without influential senior panellists Paddy Kelly and Michael Warnock who have both been ruled out through injury. Without two of their leading team members, they will be relying on big performances from midfielder Charles Gilmore and ace marksman Alan Grant.
DOWN U21H: G. Acheson, J. Smyth, M. Hughes, N. Whyte, B. Nicholson, B. Toner, J. McGrath, D. McManus, J. Gilmore, C. Baille, D. Hughes, A. Smyth, C. Duggan, C. Dorrian, D. Toner
DERRY U21H: O. O’Doherty, M. Taggart, C. McGurk, C. McIntyre, D. Shields, K. McKaigue, E. Cassidy, C. Gilmore, D. O’Neill, C. Convery, A. Grant, S. McGuigan, T. McCloskey, S. Farren, C. O’Kane
Meanwhile in Páirc Esler in Newry at 7.30pm, Antrim face Armagh in the other last four clash. This is a repeat of the 2010 and 2011 Ulster Finals when Antrim emerged victorious on both occasions. Antrim go into this game with one main injury doubt hanging over midfielder Conor Laverty. Team manager Johnny McIntosh will be looking to captain Conor McCann for leadership while four of the panel were involved with the Loughgiel Shamrocks team that was crowned All-Ireland senior club champions on St Patrick’s Day last.
Armagh won’t be fazed however as their team contains no less than nine senior panelists that helped guide the Orchard County to victory over Louth in this year’s Nicky Rackard Cup final. Conor Corvan on the edge of the square and his Lámh Dearg club mates Dean Nugent and Mark Taol are their key players.
ANTRIM U21H: J. O’Mullan, C. Murray, R. Gillan, F. Donnelly, J. McShane, M. Donnelly, J. McCouaig, A. McKeown, C. Laverty, M. Devlin, K. McKernan, D. McKinley, S. Smith, C. McCann, N. Elliott.
ARMAGH U21H: S. Doherty, M. Garvey, F. Corvan, A. Mackle, S. Reneghan, C. Mc Kee, N. Greene, M. Lennon, J. King, D. Nugent, T. Duffy, M. Toal, D. Magee, C. Corvan, M. Lennon.