Offaly setting sights on u21 semi-final spot

Offaly face east side neighbours Kildare tonight in the BGE u21 Leinster hurling championship in hope to set up a provincial semi-final showdown with the winners of Laois and Carlow.

St Conleth’s Park Newbridge (7:30pm) – Kildare v Offaly

This will be a favourable draw for the faithful who has reached the semi-final of the competition in the past two years and will be hoping to continue that trend tonight.

To take a glance at the 2015 year, Offaly and Kildare were defeated by the eventual Leinster champions Wexford. Kildare lost out at the quarter-final stages while Offaly eased past Westmeath to fall short in their semi-final vs the yellow bellies.

Players contest a high ball

Players contest a high ball in last years u21 semi-final

Match images of the 2014 u21 Leinster BGE semi-final:

Kildare won the u21 B all-Ireland championship in 2014 and were defeated in 2015 by Wexford in the A competition. This Lilywhite side are currently on an upward curve and will have no fear against Offaly.

The current Offaly squad oozes with senior inter-county experience with five current senior players under Eamonn Kelly. Fresh from their victory over Kerry at the weekend, Padraic Guinan, Cillian Kiely, Adrian Cleary, Oisin Mahon, Ben Conneely and Liam Langton will play a big role in the provincial clash.

Padraic Guinan otherwise known as Podge will pick up a mid-field role. He will be joined by St.Rynagh’s Ben Conneely and senior sub keeper Oisin Mahon. Shinrone’s Adrian Cleary will sit at number 13 and will be hoping to return as the same form he did in last years games. Interestingly enough, senior stars Cillian Kiely and Liam Langton are not named on Ned O’Connor and Stephen Byrne starting side for this evening’s game.

Emmet Nolan will return to wear the faithful jersey at number 11 as the birr man opted out of the senior squad earlier in the year.

Emmet Nolan pushes Off Wexford tackling

Emmet Nolan pushes Off Wexford tackling

Shamrock’s brothers David and Johnny O’Toole Greene will also line out for the green, white and gold with David captining the side from full-back.

Johnny O'Toole Green grasps the ball from the air

Johnny O’Toole Green grasps the ball from the air

Shinrone’s Conor Doughan will miss the game this evening and the remainder of the inter-county championship as senior boss Eamonn Kelly told Midlands 103 at the weekend post their final round robin round.

Offaly haven’t made an u21 final appearance since ’08 and Offaly will be focusing on changing that this year.

Teams for the Leinster u21 BGE quarter-final

Kildare: TBC

Offaly: Eoghan Cahill, Craig Taylor, David O’Toole Greene (Capt), Paddy Delaney, Dan Doughan, Ben Conneely, James Hardiman, Darragh Wyer, Padraic Guinan, Johnny O’Toole Greene, Emmet Nolan, Ronan Hughes, Adrian Cleary, Oisin Kelly, Dylan Murray.

Other quarter-finals taking place tonight: 

TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar (7.30) – Kilkenny v Westmeath
Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow (7.30) – Carlow v Laois

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