The rain has subsided, it’s a bright start to proceedings in Kilkenny and Carlow, so let’s take a look at some of Thursday’s headlines from the KCLR sports desk.
Beginning with Gaelic Games and while there are four live games on KCLR this weekend on the hurling front, a lot of eyes and ears are likely to be on Ballyhale Shamrocks and James Stephens on Sunday afternoon, the game serving as a repeat of last year’s county final.
One of the big factors for the Village this season has been the presence of former Kilkenny senior hurling manager turned James Stephens manager Brian Cody on the sidelines. He’s been speaking with our Edwina Grace as part of the Kilkenny Lions Club hamper appeal launch and suggests while this weekend’s game will be a big one, they’re very happy to be in it.
It will be the fifth meeting in as many years for the Village and the Shamrocks in the Championship and they already served up a cracker in the tail end of the league with Shamrocks virtually rising from the dead to close a 10-point gap and earn a draw in that game.
Our Kilkenny Hurling Podcast has been breaking down the matchups this week with Eddie Scally reckoning one James Stephens man could prove quite a handful for the defending county champions. Find out who he’s talking about from the 1 hour 20 minute mark on this week’s podcast.
That game throws in at 3.15pm on Sunday and we’ll have full coverage with thanks to Gerry Comerford Drilling.
Elsewhere this morning, it’s being reported this week that scrapping of the likes of the Walsh Cup, Kehoe Cup and O’Byrne Cup, which would usually see Kilkenny and Carlow’s hurlers and footballers out in January, will be on the table for discussion at the GPA’s AGM in Portlaoise this weekend.
Members are expected to be balloted to look at campaigning for the removal of the pre-season competitions. Last year’s O’Bryne Cup had awful trouble with three counties pulling out at various stages citing unavailability of players or injuries.
On the local front, yesterday proved to be a busy enough day on the schools calendar, despite the weather, and there’s more of the same today.
CBS Kilkenny are away to St. Peter’s College wexford in Leinster junior hurling action while in Carlow, Presentation College Carlow are due to take on Clonaslee from 11am with Knockbeg College meeting Colaiste Iosagain Portarlington at midday while in the football, Cross & Passion College Kilcullen host Tyndall College from lunchtime.
We’ve also been asked to say the “best of luck” to both sides tonight in the Duggan Steel U13 C Hurling Championship Shield Final with Blacks and Whites taking on Cloneen in Dunmore from 7pm.
Handball and racing
The Annual Handball collection will take place inside the grounds of UPMC Nowlan Park this Sunday as part of the senior county hurling semi-finals. All clubs in the county are being requested to send at least 3 members to volunteer on the day from midday, and it’s all for the handball cause.
In racing, Kilkenny’s Gowran Park are getting ready to bid farewell to the flat racing season for another year. Their Flat Season Finale will be a two-day affair running this coming Monday and Tuesday at the Kilkenny race course. We’ll have more on that over the weekend.
Drogheda United look set for US investment with news that the Trivela Group will acquire 100% of the club, possibly a first for League of Ireland football. They also have an involvement with English League Two side Walsall.
Wayne Rooney has been appointed new Birmingham City manager having had his stint at DC United in the MLS ended by mutual consent. John O’Shea is part of the new management team, as is former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole.
And New Zealand will name their team to face Ireland in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final later today.
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