North Tipperary is this week preparing for a novel Hibernian Inn-sponsored senior hurling final between Kildangan and Silvermines in MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on Sunday, July 28th (throw-in 7pm).
The fortunes of the ‘Mines are guided by Thurles’ Paddy Moore. Indeed, Silvermines, led by Jason Forde and Orrie Quirke, have proven an absolute revelation in this year’s championship. Having beaten Ballina comprehensively in the 2012 county intermediate hurling final the ‘Mines then took provincial honours, but were misfortunate to miss out on an All-Ireland title - Kilkenny’s Clara put paid to their chances in a dramatic semi-final.
The ‘Mines entered the north championship as distinct outsiders, but went about their business in enterprising fashion and topped a group comprising of Toomevara, Roscrea and Burgess to see their way through to the semi-finals where Paddy Moore’s men accounted for Portroe.
Silvermines will enter Sunday’s final full of confidence, but are commonly regarded as underdogs against a Kildangan side managed by Séamus Gleeson and coached by Portumna’s Johnny Kelly - Kelly managed the Galway side to back-to-back All-Ireland club titles in 2008 and 2009.
Kildangan have respresented a consistent force in the north championship and claimed the Frank McGrath Cup as recently as 2008 when beating Burgess in a dramatic decider.
This year Kildangan were fortunate to earn a draw against Nenagh Éire Óg in their opening game and although they subsequently suffered a defeat against defending north champions Portroe positive results against Kilruane and Moneygall saw Séamus Gleeson’s men through to the quarter-finals.
There Kildangan met and defeated the Templederry Kenyons before emphatically seeing off Toomevara at the semi-final stage.
Now while Kildangan have taken some time to get going the style of their most recent wins over Toomevara and Templederry makes Séamus Gleeson’s men favourites for this final. Kildangan have plenty of experience while Joe and Tadhg Gallagher are in superb form up front.