Corcoran in as three McCarthys start in Cork half-forward line

BRIAN CORCORAN will make his first championship start in two-and-a- half years and rookie Garvan McCarthy will make his senior debut as Cork throw down the gauntlet to Waterford in Sunday's Guinness Munster SHC final.

Corcoran lines out at full-forward with newcomer McCarthy at right half forward as the Cork selectors have made other changes from the side that beat Limerick in the semi-final.

John Gardiner has been selected at right half back with Tom Kenny moving to midfield to the exclusion of Mickey O'Connell, who has been troubled with an ankle injury of late.

Doubts had been expressed about the availability of Gardiner after he had broken a finger but he has now been given the all-clear and following his towering display in the second-half of the Limerick match, when he was switched back to right half, it is little surprise that he has been kept there.

Kenny will be partnered at midfield by Jerry O'Connor, whose right half forward position has now been allocated to surprise choice McCarthy. The 24-years old Sarsfields player was a member of the Cork minor team that won the All-Ireland in 1998. Subsequently he figured at U21 level, but now he is catapulted into the senior limelight following a fine display in a recent trial game against Clare.

It was this game which also influenced the selectors to start Brian Corcoran. Hurler of the Year in 1992 and 1999, the Erin's Own maestro scored 3-2 off the mighty Brian Lohan in that recent challenge.

After a meteoric rise to stardom, Corcoran established himself as one of the most majestic defenders to grace hurling in the modern era. His Herculean exploits in the successful 1999 All-Ireland campaign elevated him to one of the all-time greats.

He subsequently announced his retirement after Cork lost to Limerick in the Munster championship of 2001 but ended his exile this season and came on as a sub in both the first round against Kerry and in the semi- final game with Limerick when he scored one glorious point after falling to his knees 35 metres from goal.

Corcoran's inclusion means that Joe Deane moves to left half forward, with Jonathon O'Callaghan sitting out the start of the final, which has really captured the imagination of the public if one is to judge by the frantic demand for tickets.

Apart from the selection of John Gardiner at right half back, the defence is the same that started against Limerick an endorsement of the impact Brian Murphy of Bride Rovers has made since being drafted in at left corner back.

Niall McCarthy continues to hold down the centre-forward berth, with Timmy McCarthy once again at left half forward and team captain Ben O'Connor in the right corner.

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