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Angry Cats to claw O'Moore

A COMMON mantra from gobsmacked neutrals emerging from Croke Park last Sunday was that someone would pay for this - that Kilkenny's next championship opponents would be in for an unmerciful backlash.

They were doubtless thinking of Brian Cody's quarter-final rivals, but the Laois U21 hurlers could now find themselves caught up in the collateral damage of last weekend's Leinster SHC earthquake.

That's because two Kilkenny seniors consumed by that Galway blitzkrieg - Richie Doyle and Cillian Buckley - will start for the county U21s in tonight's Bord Gáis Energy Leinster showpiece against the midlanders.

"I just want to kickstart the thing again, back to the U21 team and hopefully start from scratch again," Buckley revealed.

"(Sunday is) still on the mind alright but I can't dwell on it for too long. I have no plans on losing two in the one week. It means more to me."

Here's another motivation for Kilkenny to avoid an even bigger upset than Sunday: defeat would leave the Cats without a provincial crown in any of the three main grades (minor, U21 and senior) for the first time since 1989.

We can't quite see it happening, notwithstanding that Laois already possess 'ambush' credentials having stunned Dublin at the quarter-final stage.

They were less impressive when struggling past Carlow, whereas Kilkenny recovered from a slow semi-final start against Wexford (falling 1-4 to 0-1 adrift at one stage) to run out emphatic 11-point winners. Backboned by the 2010 All-Ireland winning minors and the '09 team that reached the final, Kilkenny look unbackable - a bit like Sunday!

ODDS: Laois 10/1, Draw 25/1, Kilkenny 1/33

VERDICT: Kilkenny