Kilkenny attacker Ger Aylward will be travelling to Portlaoise to play in the upcoming Leinster U21 final. INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Laois chairman: "We're delighted at the sporting gesture that Kilkenny have made."

The Cats have agreed this year’s Leinster U21 hurling decider to the home ground of opponents Laois.

LAOIS CHAIRMAN Brian Allen has praised Kilkenny GAA chiefs for their ‘sporting gesture’ in handing home advantage to the O’Moore County for this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U21HC final on July 11th. The decider had originally been pencilled in for Nowlan Park but following consultations with Leinster Council officials, the Cats agreed to allow Laois stage the game in O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.

The game is a massive occasion for Laois as their victory in last week’s semi-final against Carlow ensures they will contest their first decider in this grade since 1990 and will be bidding for their first title since 1983. And after the heavy defeat their senior side suffered in the All-Ireland qualifiers last Saturday against Limerick, Allen admits that underage progress is vital for the county.

“It’s huge for us to be in a final and we’re delighted at the sporting gesture that Kilkenny have made,” the Laois chairman told this afternoon. “The Leinster Council asked Kilkenny would they consider it and in fairness they agreed. It’s brilliant that we can hold a game like this at home and hopefully we’ll have a great crowd there to support the players. We need to try to develop hurling in the county and the development of our underage teams is a good sign of that. We’re in a Leinster U21 final and our minor’s reach the semi-final this year. That’s positive after the disappointment the senior side have had of late.”

Meanwhile eight of the Kilkenny U21 side that defeated Wexford in last week’s semi-final clash are involved in the county’s intermediate panel that travel to Wexford Park for tomorrow night’s Leinster IHC final. Four players are named on the team with Brian Kennedy starting at wing-back, Joe Lyng playing at midfield, Walter Walsh lining out at full-forward and Ger Aylward picked at corner-forward. Jason Corcoran, Luke Harney, Cathal Kenny and Geoff Brennan are all named amongst the substitutes.

KILKENNY IH: R O’Neill (Kilmacow); M Phelan (Glenmore), A Walsh (Mooncoin), S Norton (Emeralds);  B Kennedy (St Lachtain’s),  P Hartley (Tullogher Rosbercon), P Phelan (Emeralds); P Murphy (Blacks & Whites), J Lyng (Rower Inistioge); N Walsh (Slieverue), R Hickey (Lisdowney), J Brennan (St Patrick’s); R Walsh (Danesfort), W Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon), G Aylward (Glenmore). Subs: J Maher (St Lachtain’s), J Corcoran (John Lockes), L Harney (Kilmacow), C Kenny (Barrow Rangers), G Brennan (St Patrick’s), P Cleere (Blacks & Whites), N Doherty (Galmoy), B Staunton (St Patrick’s), S Burke (John Lockes).

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