Leinster Senior Hurling Championship final
Dublin v Kilkenny, Saturday, 7.15pm, Croke Park, Live on RTÉ
by Aaron Dunne
The ‘confidence’ that will be flowing through the veins of Mattie Kenny’s Dublin hurlers can springboard them to a shock Leinster final victory over Brian Cody’s Kilkenny on Saturday, according to Conal Keaney.
“I just think they needed that confidence. And it think they’ve got that now after the Galway win.
“It was great to see it,” Keaney said of the epic semi-final win two weeks ago.
“Especially against one of the so-called top teamns in Galway. And it was great to do two performances against Antrim and Galway back to back in the Championship.
“So let’s hope we get another big one on Saturday against Kilkenny.”
If Dublin could string three more such performances together the Liam MacCarthy would be residing on Liffeyside. And according to Keaney there really is no reason why Dublin fans shouldn’t dare to dream.
“I don’t think there’s any reason that they couldn’t. I just think they need that confidence. And it think they’ve got a good bit of confidence from that.
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DUBLIN GAZETTE’S SPORTS EDITOR AARON DUNNE’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CONAL KEANEY
“After the Antrim game, people were saying that was a potential banana skin, and then going on and relatively comprehensively, beating Galway.
“I know it was only four points but they beat them pretty well and that’s going to give a lot of thise lads a great boost.
“There are a lot of thise lads who are new enough to the scene and they haven’t really had those sort of success at Croke PArk against the top teams so that’s gonna be great for them going into the Leinster final.”
“It’s not good enough to say you’ve got to a Leinster final, Dublin need to push on now. No one will ever remember you if you’re beaten in a Leinster final.
The worst news to come from that Galway defeat was the injury to full-back Eoghan O’Donnell.
The Whitehall Colmcille club man is widely regarded as the best full-back in the game, and he would have been tipped to play a key role in keeping tabs on Kilkenny’s star man TJ Reid.
“If Eoghan could get through the game it would be some boost. But hamstrings are funny, you never really know until you’re out there. You can do all the testing you want in a controlled environment, but it’s not until you’re out there in the white heat of Championship and you make that burst for that burst for the ball that you really know.
“Eoghan is a pivotal part of that team, and a great lad as well. He has a great attitude, so hopefully he’s fit and able to play,” Keaney added.
Whitehall star Eoghan O’Donnell, in action with Kilkenny’s TJ Reid (left) has been one of Dublin’s star performers in recent years but he will be badly missed if unfit to face the Cats on Saturday at Croke Park; Former Dublin dual star Conal Keaney pictured last week at an event for the Electric Ireland GAA All-IrelandMinor Championship finals. The Ballyboden club man believes this could be a season to remember for Dubs fans across both codes.
Picture: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
PHOTO CAPTION – Conal Keaney teams up with Electric Ireland for the 2020 Electric Ireland GAA All-Ireland Minor Championship Finals 8/7/2021 – ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne