Following their heavy defeat by All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in the Allianz Hurling League final, Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy has made six changes to the starting 15 for Sunday’s Munster SHC semi-final against Tipperary.
Out go keeper Martin Coleman, defenders Stephen McDonnell and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, midfielder John Gardiner and forwards Luke O’Farrell and Niall McCarthy (inj.), in come Anthony Nash, Conor O’Sullivan, Tom Kenny, teenager Darren Sweetnam (his championship debut), and Newtownshandrum teammates Cathal Naughton and Jamie Coughlan.
Tipperary too have rung the changes, manager Declan Ryan and his co-selectors retaining Conor O’Brien, Shane McGrath and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, all of whom came on and played well in the final-quarter win over Limerick in the quarter-final, in place of Donagh Maher, James Woodlock and the vastly experienced Eoin Kelly, all of whom were replaced in that game.
In Leinster, Ryan O’Dwyer returns from suspension and replaces David Treacy for their semi-final against champions Kilkenny tomorrow afternoon.
It’s a big weekend too for the hurlers of Limerick and Wexford, both of whom will be favoured to advance in the All-Ireland qualifier series against Laois and Westmeath respectively on Saturday evening. Both managers have shown full confidence in those who started in their respective losing quarter-finals, Liam Dunne (Wexford) going with exactly the same 15 that lost by just a point against Offaly, John Allen (Limerick) making only two changes from the team that performed so well for 55 minutes against Tipperary, both of those changes injury enforced, with former centre-back Brian Geary replacing Conor Allis on the 40, Niall Moran coming in to full-forward in place of his former student at Árd Scoil Rís, Kevin Downes.
In Ulster, four changes for Monaghan from the team that beat Antrim in the starting 15 to face Down in the football semi-final this Sunday. Drew Wylie, Darren Hughes (team captain), Pete Dooney and Kieran Hughes replace Donal Morgan, Kieran Duffy, Matthew McKenna and Christopher McGuinness. Star forward Tommy Freeman is again held in reserve, despite his two-point cameo appearance against Antrim.
Down manager James McCartan has made just one change from the team that beat Fermanagh. Gerard McCartan comes in at left-corner-back in place of the suspended Aidan Brannigan. Dan Gordon (foot) and Benny Coulter (ankle) are both ruled out though injury.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved