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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 3°C
# Rising Stars
6 players to watch - Munster U21 hurling final: Tipperary v Clare
The sides clash in Semple Stadium tonight.

TIPPERARY WELCOME REIGNING champions Clare to Semple Stadium for tonight’s Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling championship final.

Here’s six players who will have a key influence on shaping the outcome of the game.

TIPPERARY:

1. Niall O’Meara

O’Meara is an ambitious young hurler and on the record with his desire to break through to the Tipperary senior squad, possibly as early as next year.

The Kilruane MacDonagh’s player is a younger brother of current Tipp senior panellist and former U21 star Brian.

And the indications are that Niall could emerge as a more consistent player than his elder sibling.

Tipp’s captain was man of the match in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 semi-final victory against Cork – even though teammate Jason Forde scored 2-8.

Tipperary’s Niall O’Meara

2. Jason Forde

The Silvermines star is in devastating scoring form for Tipperary in this year’s Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 championship.

The flame-haired attacker helped himself to 1-8 in the quarter-final victory over Limerick, before adding 2-8 as the Premier County steamed past Cork in the semi-finals.

At club level, Forde enjoyed a stellar campaign in the North divisional senior hurling championship but Silvermines suffered a heavy final defeat recently against Kildangan.

Forde, a county senior panellist this year, will want to get that setback out of his system quickly when he returns to the blue and gold this evening.

Tipperary’s Jason Forde

3. Bill Walsh

Walsh is one of the unsung heroes of this U21 campaign for Tipperary.

The Carrick Swan player is an unpolished gem with an eye for goal. Not many outside of his home town had heard of Walsh before he produced a fine performance against Waterford in a challenge game back in May.

The full-forward scored a point in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 quarter-final victory over Limerick before he notched 2-1 in the semi-final rout of Cork.

Will provide Clare’s senior full-back David McInerney with a stern test.

Tipperary’s Bill Walsh

CLARE:

1. Pádraic Collins

Collins is the name on everybody’s lips following a string of scintillating displays for both the Clare seniors and U21′s.

He was superb when the Banner County came through against Wexford in extra-time in the senior qualifier and THAT reverse handpass was one of the highlights of the All-Ireland quarter-final victory over Galway.

Collins, who will operate at centre forward this evening, was man of the match in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 semi-final defeat of Waterford at Walsh Park.

Clare’s Padraic Collins

2. Tony Kelly

Another of Clare’s senior stars will have the licence to roam in the crucial middle third battleground this evening.

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Kelly in full flight is a frightening prospect as his hard-running game allows him to punch holes in opposition defences.

And there are few finer sights in modern day hurling than Kelly when he’s scorching through and popping over points off his left hand side.

A pivotal figure for Clare’s U21 and senior sides, Kelly’s form this season has him firmly on course for an Allstar.

Clare’s Tony Kelly

3. Seadna Morey

Morey made his name as a superb corner back for the Clare minors but is being utilised further out the field for the U21′s and seniors.

He’s been tried at midfield for Davy Fitzgerald’s seniors in this year’s championship but it was Morey’s brilliance in the Clare half-back line that saw him  named as Bord Gáis Energy’s breakthrough player of 2012.

Morey won back to back Munster minor titles in 2010 and 2011 and he could emulate that feat as an U21 hurler this evening.

Clare’s Seadna Morey

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