Cork footballers hoping to shine after Spanish siesta

Brendan Larkin

The following night Billy Morgan’s side make their 2005 competitive

debut in the McGrath Cup against Limerick under lights at Newtownshandrum (7pm).

This year’s competition has reverted back to a knockout system because of the inclusion of the third level institutions, something that will pose a problem for the Cork team management.

Selector Colman Corrigan who didn’t make the trip for business reasons, said they and his colleagues are torn between fielding a strong side and giving a chance to opportunity to a number of newcomers.

“Many of the newcomers have won nothing at inter-county level and need the experience, but if we were to field an experimental side on Monday night and lose, there are no more games for us in the competition,” he said.

“Personally I will be pushing to field a strong team. Limerick are one of the top teams and will provide us with a very good test. You can play all the challenge games you like, but there is no substitute for competitive matches. and I would be anxious we do well in the McGrath Cup which would give us a run of good quality games.

“We have been back training since last September and the response has been excellent. An inordinate amount of work has been put in terms of challenge games, and a rigorous weights programme.

“I feel we are making steady progress. The newcomers, all members of last year’s U21 team, are full of enthusiasm and that has rubbed off on the more established players.

“One of the biggest problems Cork football has had in recent years is a desperate lack of physical strength. We’ve worked extremely hard on that aspect over the winter months. You will see a huge improvement in that area once the season gets under way.

“The trip is no holiday. The squad train three times a day, starting at 9am and finishing at 10pm. Everyone is enjoying the experience despite the toughness of the programme.”

Limerick, who defeated Waterford IT in the preliminary round, will again be without the services of captain.

Muiris Gavin, who is on his honeymoon, Jason Stokes, Stephen Lucey and Seamus O’Donnell, all of whom are injured.

Given our injury problems I would expect Cork to be too strong for us on Monday,” said Limerick boss Liam Kearns. “It should be an interesting game for both counties, under lights.”

The other ties in the competition sees Cork IT face city rivals UCC at the Mardyke on Saturday, while All-Ireland champions Kerry travel to Clonmel to play Tipperary on Sunday. Waterford entertain Tralee IT in Kill (Co Waterford) also on Sunday. The four quarter-final gates will be donated to the South Asia Disaster Fund. The counties will also forego their expenses, which will also be donated to the fund.

Admission is E5 but the Munster Council hopes patrons may wish to contribute more.

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