Cork door remains open for Mulcahy

THERE’S no place for last year’s captain, Pat Mulcahy, after the Cork hurling selectors yesterday trimmed the panel to 30 players.

But, according to selector Martin Bowen, Mulcahy has not retired and the door remains open for the Newtownshandrum defender to rejoin the squad.

Said Bowen: “We have tried some new players and we will continue to experiment for the league. But we will also continue to monitor what is happening throughout the county and we will act accordingly. We haven’t seen Pat yet, but he’s a top-class hurler and I’m sure something will happen soon.”

Coach Gerald McCarthy is aware of the Mulcahy situation and, as far as he is concerned, the player is still in the frame. It is understood Mulcahy is taking a breather from inter-county hurling. Struggling for form at the end of last season, the player is waiting to get back into action to assess his progress.

Mickey O’Connell, Jonathan O’Callaghan and Graham Callinan have been included. All three fell out of favour with the previous selectors but, following impressive displays in recent Waterford Crystal and challenge games, they have been given the nod.

Other newcomers to the squad include Pat Fitzgerald (Erin’s Own), his team-mate Eoghan Murphy, Valley Rovers’ Kevin Canty and Páidi O’Sullivan (Cloyne), one of the most exciting youngsters in the county. He is a younger brother of Diarmuid.

Conor Cusack and Ciarán McGann, both involved in 2006, have lost out on this occasion. Brian Corcoran has retired and the O’Connor twins, Ben and Gerry, were not considered because of injury.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny defender Michael Kavanagh will miss the start of the Allianz NHL. The experienced St Lachtain’s clubman, holder of four All-Ireland senior medals, has been ruled out of the February 18 clash against Dublin with a foot injury.

Kavanagh expects to return in the next few weeks, possibly against Tipperary on March 4.

Kavanagh (27) is preparing for his tenth season of intercounty hurling with Kilkenny and he has been a model of consistency at corner-back for the Cats.

“We’re up there to be knocked and everybody will be relishing the chance to play us,” said Kavanagh. “But the incentive for us is to win back-to-back All Irelands.”

Cork panel: A. Nash, M. Coleman, D. Óg Cusack, D. O’Sullivan, W. Sherlock, C. O’Connor, B. Murphy, J. Gardiner, P. Fitzgerald, K. Cronin, P. Kelly, G. Callinan, S. Óg Ó hAilpín, R. Curran, T. Kenny, K. Hartnett, S. O’Neill, K. Murphy (Erin’s Own), N. McCarty, T. McCarthy, M. O’Connell, K. Canty, P. Cronin, C. Naughton, N. Ronan, K. Murphy (Sars), Eoghan Murphy, P. O’Sullivan, J. Deane, J. O’Callaghan.

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