Weather set to play ball for Drumcullen's final showdown

WITH the long range weather forecast predicting heavy rain and wind for much of this week and the weekend, it looks as if Drumcullen will finally get to play their eagerly anticipated Leinster Final this Sunday.

WITH the long range weather forecast predicting heavy rain and wind for much of this week and the weekend, it looks as if Drumcullen will finally get to play their eagerly anticipated Leinster Final this Sunday.

Originally due to be plated in late November, the game fell foul of the weather on a number of occasions but it finally looks as if it will go ahead this Sunday in Rath with a throw-in time of 2pm.

Paddy Kirwan's Offaly Intermediate champions are up against the Kilkenny Junior Champions John Locke's.

Both sides have had a two month hiatus since their respective semi-finals which were played on November 14. Drumcullen defeated Delvin in fogbound St Loman's Park in Mullingar by 5-13 to 1-5 on that day while John Locke's had one point to spare over Adamstown of Wexford with the Kilkenny side prevailing by 0-11 to 0-10.

Previous to their route of Delvin, Drumcullen had a comfortable win over Dublin side Thomas Davis while John Locke's proved too strong for Laois side Ballyfin.

Drumcullen took a deserved if brief break from training over the Christmas period but were back at work on New Year's Day in preparation for Sunday's game.

They will need to be at their best as they will face a far sterner test this Sunday than they did in the previous rounds of the provincial campaign.

The Kilkenny side are a resilient outfit as they showed in their eventual County Final victory over Barrow Rangers. In that decider, they came from six points behind to force a replay before eventually coming through. They lost the 2009 Junior final to Blacks and Whites before bouncing back in 2010.

After two years in the Intermediate ranks, Drumcullen returned to the Senior ranks this year with a win over St Rynagh's in the decider.

Newly crowned Offaly Intermediate Hurler of the Year Conor Gath will lead the Drumcullen challenge and there are no major injuries to report with Paddy Kirwan expected to be able to select his team from a fully fit panel.

This will be the third time since 2000 that Kilkenny and Offaly teams have met in this championship. Galmoy beat Belmont 1-14 to 1-9 in 2004 and Tullogher-Rosbercon beat Ballyskenagh 1-16 to 2-7 in 2008.

It is hoped that a large crowd from around the county will come out and support Drumcullen on their quest for provincial glory.