Cork give Miskella nod to face Louth

BALLINCOLLIG stalwart John Miskella makes his first start of the season as Cork take on Louth in the qualifying rounds of the Bank of Ireland All-Ireland SFC at Portlaoise on Saturday.

Miskella is a direct replacement at right half back for the suspended Noel O’Leary, while Conor McCarthy is re-introduced at right half forward in place of Fintan Goold.

Currently playing some superb club football, Miskella was drafted in as a substitute for the Tipperary and Kerry Munster SFC games, while McCarthy made starting appearances in the Limerick and Tipp matches, but lost out to Goold for the Munster final.

Meanwhile, Louth star Shane Lennon has warned Cork that they will have to play at the peak of their powers if they are to win this do-or-die contest.

Louth have been the surprise packet in the qualifiers and now have the Rebels in their sights after recording successive victories against Limerick and Kildare.

And forward ace Lennon has predicted that Louth will make life extremely difficult for the beaten Munster finalists Lennon, 21, said: “We’re not going out there just to make up the numbers and if we work as hard as we can and play the way we played last week (against Kildare), Cork will have to perform very well to beat us.”

Louth have regrouped well after crashing to Wexford in the Leinster championship. Following that defeat, two players left for America and five others quit the squad.

Lennon, who has played a part in all six of Louth’s championship games to date, reflected: “Losing seven players was naturally difficult — none of us really know why they went, they probably felt they had enough of it.

“Two or three of them were getting on in years and the other boys couldn’t give the commitment. But there were seven or eight lads from a development squad in training with us and they stepped up to the plate.

“Colm Judge is a player who was on that development squad but Eamonn (McEnaney) gave him a chance and he’s taken it.

“We’ve all dug deep in the last couple of games — we knew we were better than what we showed in Leinster. We set our target at the start of the year to make the last 12 of the championship one way or another and now we’ve got that far, we aim to go further.”

Derek Savage is doubtful for Galway, who face Meath in their qualifier in Saturday’s double-header programme at O’Moore Park. One of the speediest wing forward’s around, Savage damaged a hamstring in a club game over the weekend.

Both Tipperary and Wexford are awaiting fitness reports on key players before finalising their sides for Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC quarter final at Croke Park.

The Kelly brothers Eoin and Paul, corner back Diarmuid Fitzgerald, midfielder James Woodlock and utility player Shane McGrath are all currently on the Tipperary treatment table, while Kevin Kavanagh (groin) and Stephen Doyle (ankle), are Wexford’s main injury concerns.

CORK (SFC v Louth): P. O’Shea; M. Shields, G. Canty, K. O’Connor; J. Miskella, G. Spillane, A. Lynch; D. Kavanagh, N. Murphy; C. McCarthy, P. O’Neill, K. MacMahon; J. Masters, M. Cussen, nD. O’Connor.

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