What would you think if the English Premier League leaders (Manchester United) were to play the Championship leaders (Reading) while second placed Premier League outfit (Manchester City) play third place Arsenal for the right to play in the Premier League Final?
You’d probably think it was a bit odd. That is exactly what the GAA have done however as they have pitted Division 1A winners (Kilkenny) against Division 1B winners (Clare) while second and third from Division 1A (Cork and Tipperary respectively) play-off for a place in the Division 1A final. It is the way it is however and there is not a lot we can do about it.
All-Ireland champions Kilkenny have made three changes to their starting line-up for the semi-final clash with Clare at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
Jackie Tyrell has recovered from injury to start at left corner back. Richie Power returns from suspension and will lead the line while John Mulhall will also come into the half-forward line.
The Cats have five players absent through injury. Their names are Noel Hickey, Michael Rice, Paddy Hogan and Aidan Fogarty, while Richie Hogan and Henry Shefflin continue their recoveries.
Coming in on the bench are 2008 All-Ireland minor winner Tomas Breen and Tommy Walsh’s brother, Pádraig.
Clare meanwhile will not name their starting XV until Sunday, though Banner manager Davy Fitzgerald has emphasized the importance of this fixture and for his players to learn from the opportunity to play the All-Ireland champions at this stage of the season.
Speaking to the Clare Champion, Fitzgerald stated: “What we have to do is to learn as much as we can from Sunday. We are playing a side that demolished Galway and they will be out to win by as much as they can.
“They don’t show any mercy to anyone. It’s a massive test for us. We are only a few months into a new team, who will give all they can for Clare.”
Clare centre back James McInerney will miss the game with a broken finger.
Clare (Senior Hurling -v- Kilkenny): TBC
Kilkenny (Senior Hurling -v- Clare): D Herity; P Murphy, J.J. Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, B Hogan, R Doyle; M Fennelly, C Buckley, T.J. Reid, R Power, J Mulhall; C Fennelly, E Larkin, M Ruth.