Laois axe Byrne and Fitzgerald

LAOIS have axed full-back Colm Byrne and right-corner forward Ian Fitzgerald for their Leinster SFC final replay with Westmeath at Croke Park on Saturday.

Regular left-corner back Joe Higgins takes over the full-back position with left-half back Paddy McDonald now displaying his wares in the left corner of defence.

Centre-forward Kieran Fitzpatrick moves to left-half back with Michael Lawlor assuming responsibilities as leader of the attack. Brian McDonald goes from left-full forward to right-corner forward. Garry Kavanagh is given at starting position at full-forward, with Colm Parkinson adopting the role of left-corner forward, while right-half forward Ross Munnelly, who went off in the drawn game last weekend with an ankle injury, has been given the green light to start.

Timmy McCarthy is back in favour with the Cork selectors and has been given a starting place on the side for next Sunday’s Guinness All-Ireland SHC quarter-final showdown with Antrim at Croke Park.

After a sub-par performance in the Munster final defeat by Waterford the Castlelyons player was relegated to the substitutes for the crunch qualifier with Tipperary. However, when sprung from the bench to replace his namesake Garvan from the Sarsfields club, McCarthy exploded into action and hit a super goal and a point to make a most important contribution to Cork’s triumph. McCarthy takes over the left-half forward position with Garvan McCarthy sitting out the start on this occasion. This marks the only change from the side that took the field for the commencement of the Tipp game, with Tom Kenny and Jerry O'Connor continuing their midfield partnership, Ben O'Conor again at right half forward and Kieran Murphy of Sarsfields at top of the right.

Antrim have also made one change on their side from the team that defeated Down in the Ulster final replay. Liam Richmond is recalled at left half forward with Liam Watson moving to right corner forward in place of the relegated Darren Quinn.

Brian Lohan is given little chance of being fit for Clare’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final clash with Kilkenny in Croke Park on Sunday. The Banner full back was substituted before half time in their qualifier victory over Offaly last Saturday with a recurrence of a hamstring injury which has dogged him for most of the season.

Clare coach Anthony Daly won’t announce his team until later in the week, but is resigned to be without his All Star full back. Lohan’s brother Frank who was moved back following Brian’s departure, is expected to retain the position.

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody will be forced to make at least one change from the team which trounced Galway in the qualifiers.

Wing forward Conor Phelan is ruled out for the next six weeks after breaking a thumb in the recent Leinster U21 hurling final win over Wexford. John Hoyne is a likely replacement. Cody will name his team tonight.

Antrim coach Dinny Cahill will have a full squad to pick from for their quarter-final tie with Cork. All players came through last weekend’s workout against Waterford who took two teams north for a series of challenge games. Cahill will name his team tonight after training.

The football camps of Limerick, Derry, Fermanagh and Donegal report no major injury problems ahead of their All-Ireland qualifiers on Saturday, but have postponed naming their teams until later in the week.

However Donegal boss Brian McEniff won’t have Brian McLoughlin and Eamon McGee after he disciplined them for misbehaviour following the defeat by Armagh in the recent Ulster final.

Westmeath manager Páidí Ó Sé is also in the happy position of having no injury worries for Saturday’s Leinster final replay against Laois and will announce his team tomorrow night after training.

CORK (SHC v Antrim): D. og Cusack; W. Sherlock, D. O'Sullivan, B. Murphy; J. Gardiner, R. Curran, S. og O'h-Ailpin; T. Kenny, J. O'Connor; B. O'Connor, N. McCarthy, T. McCarthy; K. Murphy, B. Corcoran, J. Deane.

ANTRIM (SHC v Cork): D.D. Quinn; M. Kettle, K. Kelly, B. Heron; M. McCambridge, K. McKeegan, J. Campbell; J. Connolly, C. Heron; M. Herron, C. McGuckian, L. Richmond; L. Watson, P. Richmond, B. McFall.

LAOIS (SFC v Westmeath): F. Byron; A. Fennelly, J. Higgins, P. McDonald; D. Rooney, T. Kelly, K. Fitzpatrick; P. Clancy, N. Garvan; R. Munnelly, M. Lawlor, C. Conway; B. McDonald, G. Kavanagh, C. Parkinson.

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