The Kilkennny management team (from left) Noel Prendergast, Christy Walsh (manager) and J.J. Grace. Picture: Pat Moore
The Kilkenny junior footballers will be reaching for the stars when they entertain Meath in the All-Ireland junior football semi-final in Nowlan Park on Saturday (3pm).
The Cats, the British junior champions for the second time in three years, know they are up against it facing a squad brimful of talented players, but they are ready to have a go.
"We have to believe," suggested Kilkenny manager, Christy Walsh, a former Kerry and Munster hurler and footballer. "The challenge is huge against a team that will be able to play a fast, expansive game."
Kilkenny qualified for the semi-final two years ago, but they were well beaten by Mayo.
"The players have worked hard, and I would be confident they will give a good account of themselves," Mr Walsh added.
Kilkenny panel - James Culleton, capt (Mullinavat), James J. Sullivan (St Patrick's), James Mackey (Windgap), Richard O'Hara (Thomastown), Joe Fennelly, Ger Malone, Michael Jones, Michael Malone, Ian Duggan, Tom Aylward (all Mullinavat), Paddy McConigley, Philip Roche, Conor McDonald, John Mansfield (all Railyard), Tom Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks), James Nolan (Clara), Darragh Brennan (Carrickshock), David Kelly, John Walsh, Conor Joyce (all Rower-Inistioge), James Power (John Lockes), Eddie Moylan, Tom Kenny, Bill Sheehan (all Dicksboro), Pat Hartley, Cian O'Donoghue (both Tullogher Rosbercon), Ronan Coffey (Kilmoganny).
Manager - Christy Walsh; selectors - J.J. Grace (trainer), John Dowd, Noel Prendergast.
Football Board officers - Tom O'Reilly (chairman); Pat Mulrooney (secretary).