Youths ready to begin title defence

THE Kilkenny & District League will begin the defence of their youths All-Ireland title this weekend.

THE Kilkenny & District League will begin the defence of their youths All-Ireland title this weekend.

The new campaign will see Ronnie Grace’s side kick off at home to West Waterford/East Cork this Saturday in Derdimus (2pm).

“It’s a new season and a new team,” said Grace. “We’re ready to give it our best.”

This year’s competition has a familiar ring to it for the champions. Drawn in Group Two, Kilkenny have been pitted with the same opposition as last season. Following the WWEC game they are away to the Waterford League on the weekend of November 26/27, with the last game at home to Tipperary’s TSDL a week before Christmas.

However, that’s where the familiarity ends. Jason Mahony is the sole survivor from the team who beat Cork 4-2 in the final in Castlecomer, but with players like Andy Valentine, Ciaran Wallace and Ciaran Bowe in their ranks they are backboned by several of the side who tasted Leinster glory with Kilkenny’s under-16s last season.

“It will be interesting to see how we get on, but I know the lads will stand up and show what they are made of,” Grace added. “We’re ready to take each step as it comes, but we’ll give it our best.”

The team will have a training session this evening (Wednesday) on the Astro-Turf pitch at Derdimus, with all players to be in attendance by 6.45pm. Players will also meet in Derdimus at 1pm on Saturday for the game. Players with queries can contact Ronnie Grace, tel 086-2621519.

Kilkenny & District League panel - Jason Mahoney (Freebooters), Eoin Maher (Evergreen), Ciaran Bowe (Clover United), Aaron Molloy (Freebooters), Vinny Teehan (River Rangers), Shane Butler (River Rangers), Ciaran Wallace (Deen Celtic), Andy Valentine (Freebooters), Nathan Culleton (Freebooters), Jimmy Fox (Clover United), Cian Morton (Evergreen), Eamon O’Reilly (Fort Rangers), Paddy Cahill (Freebooters), Dara Egan (River Rangers), Stephen Finan (Clover United), Dara Fitzpatrick (Clover United), Emmet Nugent (Fort Rangers), Tadgh Sullivan (Lions), Ronan Delahunty (Lions), Michael Vaughan (Lions), Davy Burke (Newpark/Ormonde Villa), Gary Mason (Thomastown United).