McDonnell set for Cork return in 2019

Stephen McDonnell.

Michael Moynihan

The Cork senior hurlers may have former captain Stephen McDonnell back in their ranks next year after the Glen Rovers man missed out on the 2018 season.

McDonnell took the year off and thus missed out on Cork’s second consecutive Munster title, having captained the side to provincial honours in 2017.

The defender was a crucial cog in Cork’s defence last year and was missed this season, though the Rebels again made the All-Ireland semi-final, where they were beaten by Limerick in extra time.

Sources close to the Cork senior hurling team said yesterday that McDonnell is in line for a return to the Rebel colours for 2019, however, a move which would bolster manager John Meyler’s hand considerably when taken in conjunction with Alan Cadogan’s expected return to play next season.

Douglas clubman Cadogan impressed in the early part of the season but an operation on knee ligaments in May ruled him out for the season.

Though he was able for light training with his Cork teammates in the run-up to the All-Ireland semi-final, and togged out for that game, sources in the camp said it had come a couple of weeks too early for the sharp-shooting forward.

With Cork impressing on their way to the U21 All-Ireland decider against Tipperary, beating Wexford 3-26 to 0-13 in the All-Ireland semi-final last weekend, Meyler looks to have a strong hand ahead of next year, though forward Declan Dalton is a doubt for the U21 All-Ireland final having picked up a knee injury in the win over Wexford.

The venue and time for that final have yet to be determined.

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