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6 Limerick and Kilkenny players to watch out for in the All-Ireland minor final

The teams meet in the curtain-raiser in Croker.

Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

1. Ronan Lynch, midfield (Limerick)

The Na Piarsaigh youngster has enjoyed a productive 2014 so far. The 2013 Munster GAA minor player of the year played a starring role in Ardscoil Rís’ run to the Dr Harty Cup title earlier this year.

He made his senior debut for Na Piarsaigh in their All-Ireland club semi-final defeat to Portumna, sending over two stunning sideline cuts in Thurles. Lynch has been in inspired form for Limerick minors too, scoring 0-13 in the semi-final win over Galway.

Destined for greatness.

Liam Blanchfield and Austin Gleeson Kilkenny's Liam Blanchfield shoots under pressure from Austin Gleeson of Waterford Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

2.  Liam Blanchfield, full-forward (Kilkenny)

Blanchfield has been a big part of Kilkenny’s scoring threat from play this year. A veteran of  the Cats’ 2013 campaign, he buried 2-3 in the Leinster final win over Dublin and added 0-3 against Waterford in the semi-final.

Blanchfield starred at midfield in the St Kieran’s side who beat Kilkenny BS to lift the Croke Cup back in April. A big threat to Limerick’s hopes.

Barry Nash with Conor Gleeson Limerick's Barry Nash will be a key player on Sunday. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

3. Barry Nash, centre-forward (Limerick)

Nash is another Limerick starlet with a bright future ahead. The South Liberties forward comes from a family steeped in hurling tradition. Nash’s father, Declan, won two Munster senior titles as did his Uncle, Mike. In fact, his first cousin is Cork’s Allstar goalkeeper Anthony Nash.

The latest hurler from the Nash production line scored 1-3 in the semi-final against Galway, in a powerful display from centre-forward. He will have a big role to play on Sunday.

Alan Murphy with David Prendergast Kilkenny’s Alan Murphy battles for possession in the semi-final. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

4. Alan Murphy, corner-forward (Kilkenny)

Murphy is the Cats’ leading scorer with 3-40 (3-8 from play) in just five games this year. Like Blanchfield he starred on this team last year and has been leading their charge towards the All-Ireland final in 2014.

He played a huge role in Kilkenny’s extra-time semi-final win over reigning champions Waterford, hitting 0-11 in a man-of-the-match display. Murphy’s accuracy from the placed ball is a vital cog in the Kilkenny machine.

5. Cian Lynch, wing-forward (Limerick)

Lynch captained the Ardscoil Rís side to the Dr Harty Cup title earlier this year, and was a sub the last time the school won the competition back in 2011 as a Junior Cert student.

Lynch’s uncle Ciaran Carey won a couple of Munster titles and three Allstars with Limerick during the 1990s. He bagged 1-2 in last year’s Munster minor final replay and has scored 1-11 en route to this year’s final.

Darragh Joyce Kilkenny wing-back Darragh Joyce. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

6. Darragh Joyce, wing-back (Kilkenny)

The younger brother of senior star Kieran made headlines in May 2013 when it appeared he was on the verge of signing for AFL side the Sydney Swans. Then just 16, Joyce impressed Aussie scouts while playing football for New Ross school Good Counsel, while also excelling at wing-back for Kilkenny’s minor hurlers.

Captaining Kilkenny this year in his first year as a minor, Joyce has been in fine form since his switch from midfield to wing-back earlier this summer. A physically imposing player at 6’2″, he has all the attributes to have a big impact on Sunday’s game.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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