Shamrocks gear up for Leinster final

It’s a strange thing to say about a club that extends their season into the following calendar year, but the jury is still out on whether or not 2021 has been a successful year for the Shamrocks hurlers.

Their primary aim was to win the Offaly intermediate championship, and their shock final defeat to Birr means that they will remain at that level in 2022.

On Saturday, however, they have a glorious chance to win perhaps a more prestigious trophy, in the form of the AIB Leinster junior club title.

On the face of it, the task in front of them looks gargantuan. Kilkenny clubs have won this competition on 15 of the last 18 renewals, and Shamrocks know all too well how good a junior club side from the Marble County can be. Seven years ago they had home advantage for their clash with Bennettsbridge, but lost out in a 1-20 to 0-3 landslide.

Even allowing for having to travel to Nowlan Park (throw-in 1pm), the men from Rahan and Mucklagh look to have a bit more about them this year, and it’s equally unlikely that Mooncoin have the same potential as Bennettsbridge, who went on to win the junior All-Ireland that year and the All-Ireland at intermediate level a year later.

This Mooncoin team has bounced up and down between intermediate and junior, and their success this year has largely come from scoring a ludicrous amount of goals – 17 in their last four championship matches.

A huge afternoon is in store for Conor Condron, Padraig Cantwell and the Shamrocks back division, and if they can somehow hold their own against the athleticism and power of this Mooncoin group, then an upset could be possible, albeit a lot of things would need to go the right way for Jimmy Conway’s side.

- Kevin Egan