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Dublin: 2 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019

6 players to watch as Offaly host Dublin in the Leinster U21 hurling final

We take a closer look at six players who should have a key influence on the proceedings in O’Connor Park.

Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

OFFALY ARE AIMING to avoid a third straight Leinster U21 hurling final defeat as they welcome Dublin to Tullamore on Wednesday night.

Dublin are bidding to secure a provincial U21 title for the first time since 2011 and they arrive on the back of wins over Wexford and Westmeath.

The Faithful had an easier path to the final with victories over Kildare and Carlow.

We take a closer look at six players who should have a key influence on the proceedings in O’Connor Park.

The game throws on Wednesday night at 7.30pm and coverage starts on TG4 from 7pm.

1. Sean Treacy (Dublin)

Treacy featured for Dublin’s senior side as their campaign ended against Cork on Saturday. He helped Cuala to the Dublin SHC title last October and plays an important role on the half-forward line of this Dublin U21 side.

Treacy, younger brother of fellow senior player David, scored a crucial goal when Dublin dumped out three-in-a-row Leinster champions Wexford in the quarter-final.

2. Emmet Nolan (Offaly)

Nolan featured for the Offaly seniors off the bench last Saturday when they fell to Wexford in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

He has become the vocal point of the Offaly U21 attack and bagged 2-2 as they brushed off Carlow in the last four.

Nolan and fellow inside forward Oisin Kelly have nine goals between them in the two games in this competition so far. How Dublin deal with their dual-threat will go a long way to determining the outcome of this one.

Chris Bennett on the attack Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

3. Chris Bennett (Dublin)

Bennett is to the fore of a talented crop of emerging Dublin hurlers. Drafted into the senior team’s starting line-up against Cork on Saturday night, he gave a mature display far beyond his years.

Offaly will need to keep a close eye on the 20-year-old, who dispatched two sublime goals against Westmeath in the semi-final. Bennett finished the game with 2-6 (2-2 from play) in a man-of-the-match display.

4.  Cillian Kiely (Offaly)

The Kilcormac/Killoughey clubman picked up a shoulder injury in the first-half of Offaly’s win over Carlow and as a result missed the senior side’s qualifier defeat to Wexford.

Kiely forms part of a potent Offaly full-forward line that posted 5-5 between them in the semi-final. He faces a race against time to be fit to play a part tonight and his absence would be a major blow to Offaly’s hopes of taking their first Leinster title at this grade since 2000.

5. Shane Barrett (Dublin)

The anchor of the Dublin defence, Barrett and his fellow senior panelists will be hoping to make amends for their three point defeat to Cork in the All-Ireland qualifiers last weekend.

The Na Fianna man, 20, will be hoping to drive Dublin forward from the half-back line and provide a steady platform around the middle third. The last time Dublin brought the Leinster U21 hurling title back to the capital in 2011, Liam Rushe was a dominant presence at centre-back.

Now is the time for Barrett to follow in Rushe’s footsteps and lead the Dubs to victory.

Dylan Murray Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

6. Dylan Murray (Offaly)

In Murray Offaly have an extremely reliable dead ball shooter. He posted 0-2 and 0-6 from placed balls in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively and his accuracy in front of the posts is central to Offaly’s hopes.

Murray likes to to dictate play from centre-forward, and if his club colleague Kiely fails to return from injury in time to start, Murray will be required shoulder some of the scoring burden from play.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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