TG4 make inspired decision for tonight's feast of under-21 action
We'd better enjoy it while it lasts.
The provincial under-21 championships kicked into gear last week but the show only really begins when the TG4 coverage does. The TG4 coverage continues on Wednesday night and it could be for one last time.
Over the last number of years, the under-21 hurling championship has been a banger always. Enthralling games by the number, there was always a propensity for a shock in the age group - take for example minnows Westmeath knocking out the might of Kilkenny in Leinster a couple of years ago.
The games always delivered. Involving players transitioning from the cusp of adulthood to senior level, these lads are coming into their own just in time for the TG4 cameras.
Remember the Clare teams of years gone by. Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin free styling their way to three All-Irelands in a row with Shane O'Donnell lording it inside.
That's what it's all about. There's always a buzz in the midweek air when the 21 championship rolls into town and we get to have a closer look at the youngsters who've been lighting it up at senior level. It's always good to see them with the shackles off in their own age group and on Wednesday and Thursday night, the shackles will be nowhere to be seen.
As of next year or the year after, under-21 hurling will be no more. Hurling will be following football's lead into doing away with the 21 age group to make way for under-20 games. Why fix what isn't broken we refrain? For now we might as well make the most of it.
On Wednesday night, TG4 will broadcast live what is bound to be a titanic tussle of a Leinster semi-final between Galway and Kilkenny.
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) June 15, 2018
A curtain raiser for the senior final between the same counties in a fortnight's time, there is plenty at stake in the Tullamore last four clash and it is certainly the tie of this round of fixtures.
Kilkenny's team features four senior stars in Richie Leahy, John Donnelly, Martin Keoghan and Bill Sheehan. These four made their names in the Cats' victorious National League campaign and they'll be aided and abetted by an abundance of young talent alongside them.
Ballyhale Shamrocks star Adrian Mullen has been named at half forward, the St. Kieran's College student has ripped it up at minor and schools level in recent years. A familiar Tullaroan name will be manning the edge of the square, he's the more famous Tommy's cousin.
Manager DJ Carey's son takes a place on the bench while half back Shane Murphy is another in that famous Glenmore clan. Interestingly, Martin Keoghan, who's been playing at half forward under Brian Cody, will be in the centre of defence for this one. He has played at number six for St. Kieran's College teams before.
The Noresiders will take some stopping but last year's minor champions Galway have plenty of firepower to do it. Sean Loftus, Thomas Monaghan, Jack Grealish and Brian Concannon all have senior experience in maroon, with the latter making his championship debut against Offaly a couple of weeks ago.
Here's their starting XV.
After that then, the channel that keeps on giving will have deferred coverage of Cork and Waterford's offering going at it. Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston and Tim O'Mahony will lead the Rebels into battle against the Déise for whom Ballygunner's Peter Hogan is the leader.
— Waterford GAA (@WaterfordGAA) June 19, 2018
Then, on Thursday night, we'll have Tipp vs Limerick live on TG4. A feast of hurling, sit back and enjoy it.