Dublin and Clare do battle this weekend at Croke Park with a final berth in three weeks time up for grabs.
Shay Boland’s side had a good Leinster campaign as they recorded excellent victories over Kilkenny in the semi-final and Wexford in the final. They are a physically strong and athletic side who like to play a direct style of hurling.
There are several survivors from the side who lost out to Galway in last year’s All Ireland final and they will look to draw on that experience this weekend.
Paul Winters, Sean Treacy and dual star Cormac Costello were key performers in the provincial campaign and they are certainly players to look out for on Sunday.
Clare find themselves in an All Ireland semi-final despite losing twice in the Munster championship. After a one point defeat in the first round against Waterford they availed of the second chance they were given with wins over Cork and Limerick and then subsequently lost the Munster final against a very strong Tipperary side.
Down provided little resistance in the quarter-final so the Banner men should mainly be judged by their performance against Tipperary. A poor first half display left them well behind but they rallied well in the second half and subsequently lost by a four point margin.
Shane O’ Donnell, Bobby Duggan, Niall Decey and Jamie Shanahan were all impressive in the Munster final and team manager Eamonn Fennessy will hope that they can lead from the front again on Sunday afternoon.
Dublin enter this tie as favourites in the bookies and they will be confident of making their second final in succession. The Leinster minor championship was quite weak this year though and this should be noted. Clare will be battle hardened after four tough provincial games. Overall they appear to have a bit more class about them and should advance to the decider on September 9th.