Carey, Gardiner recover to line out for final

KILKENNY are set to name an unchanged team including DJ Carey for Sunday's Guinness All-Ireland hurling final, while John Gardiner is on course for a recall to the Cork team.

Holders Kilkenny, in line for the first treble in 26 years, have a concern about the fitness of defender Michael Kavanagh, but the expectation is that he will be able to play. Carey, however, has made a full recovery and is certain to take his place.

The Cork selectors are due to announce their line-up after training tonight and only one change is expected. John Gardiner, who missed the semi-final against Wexford after breaking a bone in his hand playing football with his club, is set to start. He was replaced by U-21 colleague Cian O'Connor from Erin's Own.

While O'Connor acquitted himself well on his championship debut, Gardiner should regain his right half-back berth. In last year's All-Ireland final, he lined out at midfield and missed a number of frees.

His best hurling was played in the second-half after he went to right half-back.

That was after he had swapped with Tom Kenny, who has since settled into this position extremely well.

The indications are that Pat Mulcahy will not be recalled and that Brian Murphy from the Bride Rovers club will continue at left corner-back.

Mulcahy, one of the stars in last year's final, has fought his way back after a car accident earlier in the year. However, it's felt he would need about another month of intense training to be fully match fit.

Kilkenny are likely to name their team tomorrow night.

Michael Kavanagh suffered a slight hamstring injury in training last Tuesday, but manager Brian Cody said last evening that he hoped his star corner-back "will be fine". And he confirmed that DJ Carey was back in full training.

"There is no problem with his fitness whatsoever," he added.

There has been some speculation that teenage sensation Tommy Walsh will be moved to attack fuelled after Carey suffered a hamstring pull.

Walsh played at right half-forward in last year's final and scored three early points which proved crucial.

All Cody would say was that the selectors had "an open mind" about Walsh's positioning. The indications are that he will again start in the half-back line.

CORK (probable): D. Óg Cusack; W. Sherlock, D. O'Sullivan, B. Murphy; J. Gardiner, R. Curran, S. Óg Ó hAilpín; T. Kenny, J. O'Connor; B. O'Connor (capt.), N. McCarthy, T. McCarthy; K. Murphy, B. Corcoran, J. Deane.

KILKENNY (probable): J. McGarry; M. Kavanagh, N. Hickey, J. Ryall; T. Walsh, P. Barry, J.J. Delaney; D. Lyng, K. Coogan; E. Brennan, J. Hoyne, D.J. Carey; J. Fitzpatrick, M. Comerford (capt.), H. Shefflin.

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