By Eoghan Cormican
The Cork football team to face Tipperary in Saturday’s Munster SFC semi-final contains two championship debutants.
Goalkeeper Mark White and corner-back Kevin Flahive will make their first championship starts for Cork at Semple Stadium.
Their inclusion comes as no surprise, with White having been between the sticks for four of Cork’s Division 2 league games, while Douglas defender Flahive started all but one of Cork’s spring fixtures.
Aidan Walsh will line up beside Ian Maguire at midfield for what will be the Kanturk native’s first appearance in a red shirt in 2018.
Walsh missed Cork’s opening two league games due to his involvement with the Kanturk intermediate hurlers and was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the spring when sustaining a shoulder injury during Kanturk’s All-Ireland club final win in Croke Park.
Luke Connolly, named at corner-forward, is another who’ll make his first Cork appearance of the year in Thurles. Connolly was club-tied with Nemo Rangers throughout January, February and March.
His club-mate Paul Kerrigan is listed among the subs despite having undergone surgery on his finger after Nemo’s All-Ireland club final defeat to Corofin.
Said manager Ronan McCarthy on Monday evening: “Paul, in recent weeks, has been able to do anything where the ball isn’t coming at him full pace. A shooting drill is no problem, but he can’t do or hasn’t done contact training or ball handling drills where the ball is coming at him at real pace."
Brian Hurley, who has not featured for the county since 2016 because of two successive hamstring injuries, is named among the replacements.
Six Cork subs — Anthony Casey, Sam Ryan, Matthew Taylor, Cian Kiely, Stephen Sherlock, and Ronan O’Toole — have never played championship for Cork.
Seán Powter (hamstring), Donncha O’Connor (hamstring) and Brian O’Driscoll (hamstring) are not included in the squad.
CORK (Munster SFC semi-final v Tipperary): M White (Clonakilty); K Crowley (Millstreet), J O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), K Flahive (Douglas); S White (Clonakilty), S Cronin (Nemo Rangers), T Clancy (Fermoy); A Walsh (Kanturk), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s); K O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh), M Collins (Castlehaven), R Deane (Bantry Blues); J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), C O’Neill (Ballyclough), L Connolly (Nemo Rangers).
Subs: A Casey (Kiskeam), S Ryan (St Finbarr’s), J Loughrey (Mallow), M Taylor (Mallow), C Kiely (Ballincollig), R O’Toole (Éire Óg), P Kelleher (Kilmichael), C Vaughan (Iveleary), M Hurley (Castlehaven), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s), B Hurley (Castlehaven), P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers).
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.