Kerry give rising star O’Sullivan nod

DARREN O’SULLIVAN, the 20-year-old whiz kid from Glenbeigh, will make his provincial senior championship debut when Kerry take on Tipperary in the Bank of Ireland Munster SFC semi-final at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on Sunday.

He was introduced as a substitute in last season’s All-Ireland defeat by Tyrone but earns his starting spurs at right corner-forward as the champions, unimpressive in their first round victory over Waterford, continue their bid to retain their Munster title.

O’Sullivan’s inclusion marks the only change in personnel from the team that did not inspire last time out, and Eamonn Fitzmaurice gives way.

Team captain Declan O’Sullivan moves to right half-forward, with Bryan Sheehan donning the number 14 shirt and Eoin Brosnan taking over at centre-forward.

League champions Kilkenny have made three changes to their team to play Westmeath in their opening defence of the Leinster SHC at Mullingar on Saturday.

Former All-Star Noel Hickey, Richard Power and Aidan Fogarty are all injured. The latter two have been out of action for a number of weeks but Hickey picked up a leg injury during training at the weekend.

Hickey’s place in defence has been taken by Donncha Cody, son of Kilkenny manager Brian Cody. Willie O’Dwyer comes in on the half-forward line instead of Power, while Fogarty’s place at top of the right goes to Eoin McCormack.

There are two championship debutantes on the Wexford hurling team to play Offaly in Sunday’s Leinster semi-final in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny.

Richie Kehoe of Faythe Harriers, who is eligible for the U-21 grade again in 2007, has been named at right half-back and will be making his full inter-county senior debut.

The other newcomer is Oulart-The Ballagh’s Stephen Doyle, a member of last year’s All-Ireland-winning Intermediate team, who is chosen at right corner-forward. Des Mythen is ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, the GPA last night said certain elements in the GAA administration had “little or no regard” for certain county teams, as the players’ organisation came out in support of three county panels at loggerheads with their respective county boards.

The GPA said that though the disputes involving the Clare footballers and hurlers of Wicklow and Donegal were not related, a systematic player welfare audit would help pre-empt such difficulties in the future.

Elsewhere, Galway footballers have suffered a serious blow with the news that the versatile and long-serving Paul Clancy is out for the year with a career-threatening injury.

He suffered a knee injury playing for Moycullen against Caltra in a club championship game on Monday, and was carried off late in the game.

A scan in Dublin confirmed he has torn his cruciate ligament and will require surgery and a lengthy recovery period.

Clancy’s injury comes a week after Joe Bergin was ruled out for up to six weeks.

The double injury blow reduces the options open to Galway boss Peter Ford and his selectors ahead of Sunday week’s Connacht semi-final clash with Roscommon at Hyde Park.

Clancy, an All-Ireland winner in 1998 and 2001, has had to deal with several serious injuries during his lengthy inter-county career. He is one of the most versatile players in Ford’s squad, having won both his All-Ireland medals as an attacker. Last year he manned the troublesome centre-back spot.

KERRY (SFC v Tipperary): D, Murphy; A. O’Mahony, M. O’Se, T. O’Sullivan; T. O’Se, S. Moynihan, M. Lyons; D. O’Se, K. Donaghy; Declan O’Sullivan, E. Brosnan, P. Galvin; Darren O’Sullivan, B. Sheehan, C. Cooper.

KILLKENNY (v Westmeath SHC): J. McGarry; M. Kavanagh, JJ Delaney, D. Cody, J. Tyrrell, J. Tennyson, T. Walsh, D. Lyng, R. Mullally, W. O’Dwyer, M. Comeford, E. Larkin, E. McCormack, H. Shefflin, J. Fitzpatrick.

WEXFORD (v Offaly SHC): D. Fitzhenry; M. Traveres, D.O’Connor; K. Rossiter capt; R. Kehoe, D. Ruth, D. Lyng; T. Mahon, D. Stamp; M. Jacob, E. Quigkey, R. McCarthy; S. Doyle, M. Jordan, R. Jacob.

Subs: M White, P Roche, K Kavanagh, C Kenny, W Doran, M.Furlong, D Mythen, S Nolan, P.J. Nolan, P Codd, P Doran, M Doyle, .O’Neill.

MAYO (Christy Ring Cup v Carlow): T. Duffy; B. Delaney, P. Hunt, K. Healy; G. Whyte, P. Barrett, D. Walsh; S. Broerick, S. Coyne; D. McConn, P. Higgins, D. McDonnell; S. Hunt, K. Higgins, A. Freeman.

DERRY (v Longford, Nicky Rackard Cup): K Stevenson; S McCullagh, E McKeever, A Rafferty; P Sweeney, C Brunton, R McCloskey; P O’Kane, E Farren; R Convery, G Biggs, D McGrellis; S McBride, P Hearty, J O’Dwyer.

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