Cork unchanged for replay with Kilkenny

AFTER much soul-searching the Cork intermediate hurling selectors passed a vote of confidence in the side that started the drawn game for Saturday’s All-Ireland final replay with Kilkenny at Semple Stadium.

Despite losing a 13-point lead, following a sensational second-half comeback by Kilkenny, the Cork selectors have stood by their side, with Inniscarra's Jonathon Olden getting the green light to start at midfield and John Crowley from Newcestown holding down the right corner back berth.

During the Kilkenny game, Olden was replaced by Mallow’s Pa Dineen, while Crowley gave way to Brian O'Driscoll of Fr. O'Neill's.

In announcing an unchanged side, coach Johnny Keane admitted that to give away a 13-point lead was a huge disappointment, particularly in an All-Ireland final when the side were on the verge of putting back-to-back titles together. However, he explained, “what some people might not have realised is that the elements were really against us in those last 20 minutes of the drawn game and hopefully we will again be in a positive frame of mind for the replay.”

Kilkenny have made two changes in personnel for the second act of the drama. Right corner back Chris O'Neill and centre-forward Peter Cleere have been demoted to the substitutes bench. John Tennyson, who started the drawn game at right half back reverts to the right corner back position, with newcomer Sean Kealey wearing the number five shirt. Brian Phelan, who scored the golden equalising goal four minutes into injury time, moves from left half forward to centre-forward, with Eddie Walsh taking over the left half forward position to the exclusion of Peter Cleere.

Cleere started the drawn game in the centre-forward position but was replaced by Walsh as Kilkenny started their marvellous second-half comeback. Senior squad member Diarmuid Mackey, who was also called ashore during the course of the dramatic drawn encounter and replaced by J. P. Corcoran, has been given the nod to start in the left corner forward position again.

For their All-Ireland U-21 FC semi-final against Cork at Pearse Stadium, Galway on Sunday, the Armagh selectors are expected to include two sons of senior manager Joe Kernan, Stephen and Aaron, when they announce their team tonight.

CORK (IHC v Kilkenny): A. Nash (Kanturk); J. Crowley (Newcestown), L. Hayes (Dromina), R. McCarthy (St. Finbarr's); B. Walsh (Bride Rovers), T. Lordan (Courcey Rovers), D. Fitzgerald (Charleville): T. Healy (Buttevant), J. Olden (Inniscarra); J. Russell (Grenagh), D. Dineen, (Ballinhassig), B. O'Dwyer (Ballymartle); E. Conway (Fr. O'Neill's), R. Doherty (Ballincollig), S. Hayes (Courcey Rovers).

KILKENNY (IHC v Cork): R. O'Neill; J. Tennyson, S. Lanigan, P. Costello; S. Kealey, J. Costello, J. O'Neill; R. Power, C. Herity; D. Buggy, B. Phelan, E. Walsh; M. Grace, J. Power, D. Mackey.

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