Nov 4th: Quarter-finals – Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) v Oulart-The-Ballagh (Wexford), Parnell Park; Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) v Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly), Dr Cullen Park, Carlow; Rathdowney-Errill (Laois) v Clonkill (Westmeath), O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Nov 18th: Semi-final – Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow)/Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly) v Rathdowney-Errill (Laois)/Clonkill (Westmeath).
Nov 25th: Semi-final – Ballyhale Shamrocks/Dicksboro v Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin)/Oulart-The-Ballagh (Wexford).
Dec 2nd: Final
CARLOW – Mount Leinster Rangers
How have they reached this stage? There was no questioning Mount Leinster Rangers superiority in their recent county final as they thumped Erins Own by 3-13 to 0-6. The success marked their fifth title in seven years and they also contested the other two deciders in that time frame.
What’s their track record at this level? The Carlow club competed previously in the Leinster SHC when they lost out to Dublin’s Craobh Chiarain in 2006 by 2-9 to 0-9 and Kilkenny’s Ballyhale Shamrocks in 2007 by 1-14 to 0-11. They then regraded to intermediate level and last February won that All-Ireland title with a 1-13 to 1-11 win over Armagh’s Middletown.
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? Frank Foley, Edward Coady, Richard Coady, Eddie Byrne, Hugh P O’Byrne and Paul Coady were all part of the Carlow senior hurling setup this season.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? Byrne, who was a member of the county U21 side last year, is an impressive attacking talent and he grabbed 0-3 in the recent county final success.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Glenmore’s Thomas Mullally has been in charge of the club’s senior hurlers for the past six seasons.
The odds on a title win? 40/1.
DUBLIN – Kilmacud Crokes
How have they reached this stage? For the first time in 27 years, Kilmacud Crokes were crowned senior hurling kingpins in Dublin recently after defeating Cuala by 2-10 to 0-9 in the final.
What’s their track record at this level? Kilmacud Crokes have previously competed in the Leinster SHC in 1974, 1976 and 1985 but failed to reach the decider in each of those three campaigns.
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? Defender Niall Corcoran along with attacking pair Ryan O’Dwyer and Ross Carroll all featured for Anthony Daly’s Dublin senior hurling side this year while Rory O’Carroll is established at the heart of the county’s football side.
Bill O’Carroll, Jack Doughan and Kevin O’Loughlin all started for the Dublin U21′s in last year’s All-Ireland final while goalkeeper Matthew Collins is a former Cork minor.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? Oisin O’Rorke came on as a substitute in the recent county final after a summer where he impressed as a livewire attacker in the Dublin minor hurling team that contested the All-Ireland final.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Gearoid Ó Riain is at the helm of the club based in Glenalbyn.
The odds on a title win? 8/1.
Kilmacud Crokes Ross O’Carroll raises the Dublin senior hurling trophy recently. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
KILKENNY – Ballyhale Shamrocks/Dicksboro
How have they reached this stage? Both teams booked their places in Sunday week’s decider on Noreside with semi-final wins last weekend. Ballyhale Shamrocks were 1-17 to 2-10 winners over O’Loughlin Gaels while Dicksboro knocked out reigning champions James Stephens by 1-15 to 0-16.
What’s their track record at this level? Ballyhale Shamrocks are strong competitors at this level with Leinster titles to their credit in 1978, 1980, 1983, 1989, 2006, 2008 and 2009 while they lost the finals in 1988 and 1991. They also have won five All-Ireland club titles. Dicksboro have experienced just one provincial campaign but lost out to Offaly’s St Rynagh’s in the final in 1993.
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? From Kilkenny’s All-Ireland conquering team in September, Ballyhale Shamrocks have the trio of Henry Shefflin, Michael Fennelly and Colin Fennelly while Dicksboro’s senior representative is Cillian Buckley. Recent Allstar winner TJ Reid is currently out injured for Ballyhale Shamrocks.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? Ballyhale Shamrocks Alan Cuddihy is a tidy and efficient defender while for Dicksboro both Martin Gaffney and Oisin Walsh impressed on the county U21 team that reached this year’s All-Ireland final.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Ballyhale Shamrocks are managed by Tommy Shefflin while Ger Henderson is at the helm for Dicksboro.
The odds on a title win? Ballyhale Shamrocks 8/11 and Dicksboro 12/1.
LAOIS – Rathdowney/Errill
How have they reached this stage? Rathdowney-Errill lifted their fourth county title in seven years recently with a 0-17 to 0-14 victory in a final replay against reigning champions Clough-Ballacolla.
What’s their track record at this level? Rathdowney-Errill have endured a luckless run on the provincial stage beaten in the opening round in 2006 by Rathnure (2-13 to 0-14), in 2008 by Ballyhale Shamrocks (1-18 to 1-11) and in 2010 by O’Loughlin Gaels (3-16 to 0-14).
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? Brian Campion, Joe Fitzpatrick and Shane Dollard all have prior inter-county senior hurling experience while Darren and Ross King were both part of the Laois U21 setup that reached this season’s provincial decider.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? Ross King is a superb young talent who shot a combined total of 1-18 between the recent drawn and replayed Laois county final.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Frank McGrath is in the managerial hotseat for the Laois club.
The odds on a title win? 33/1.
OFFALY – Kilcormac/Killoughey
How have they reached this stage? Kilcormac/Killoughey made history by winning their first ever Offaly senior title earlier this month with a four-point win over St Rynagh’s. The victory helped atone for three final losses (2002, 2007 and 2009) as well as six semi-final defeats over the past decade.
What’s their track record at this level? This is unchartered territory for the club in moving out of their county borders to represent Offaly in Leinster.
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? Conor Mahon featured at centre-forward when Offaly exited this summer’s championship against Cork while Ger Healion and Daniel Currams have recent outings with the Faithful county’s senior team.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? A county U21 in 2010, Currams is a key component of the current Kilcormac-Killoughey side who this year gained the unique distinction of having senior football and hurling championship appearances with Offaly to his name.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Offaly’s former All-Ireland winning midfielder Danny Owens pulled the strings in enabling Kilcormac-Killoughey to claim this year’s historic county success.
The odds on a title win? 5/1.
Offaly’s Conor Mahon will be at the heart of Kilcormac-Killoughey’s drive for success. Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
WESTMEATH – Clonkill
How have they reached this stage? Clonkill defeated Raharney by 2-16 to 2-11 in the recent Westmeath decider to grasp the trophy for the fourth time in six years.
What’s their track record at this level? Clonkill have competed admirably at senior level in Leinster, losing out by two points last year to Ballyboden St-Enda’s while previously to that in 2009 they were defeated by three points against Tullamore after earlier beating Laois side Clough-Ballacolla in that campaign.
In 2008 Clonkill were crowned All-Ireland intermediate champions when they secured an exciting 4-15 to 3-14 victory over Galway side Tommie Larkins in Croke Park.
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? There is a core of Clonkill players in the Westmeath senior side with Adam Price, Alan McGrath, Paddy Dowdall, Brendan Murtagh and Eoin Price all starting in the county’s All-Ireland championship preliminary round loss to Wexford this summer.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? Full-forward Cathal Scally shone for the county minors this summer and raised a vital green flag during Clonkill’s county final win.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Pat O’Toole is the experienced manager who is currently in charge of Clonkill.
The odds on a title win? 16/1.
WEXFORD – Oulart-The-Ballagh
How have they reached this stage? Once more Oulart-The-Ballagh were champions in the south-east winning their fourth successive county senior title this year. The final victory came against Faythe Harriers by 2-12 to 0-13.
What’s their track record at this level? The Wexford club have plenty hard luck stories to tell. They are still searching for their first provincial title after losing the last two finals – against Offaly’s Coolderry by four points last year and Kilkenny’s O’Loughlin Gaels by three points in 2010.
The club were also defeated in the 1994 final by Birr of Offaly and in the 1995 decider by Glenmore of Kilkenny.
Any inter-county stars of note on the pitch? Oulart-the-Ballagh have a team packed with inter-county players. Keith Rossiter, Darren Stamp, David Redmond, Garrett Sinnott, Rory Jacob and Shaun Murphy were all part of Liam Dunne’s county senior setup this year.
Which young gun should we keep an eye on? Sinnott, who lined out for UCD in last year’s Fitzgibbon Cup, has emerged impressively in attack and has graduated to the county senior team.
Who’s calling the shots on the sideline? Limerick man Pat Herbert has taken the reins this year, succeeding current inter-county manager Liam Dunne.
The odds on a title win? 9/2.