Niall Geary, Paul Brophy, Dylan Mehigan and James Masters are all out for various reasons, while Derek Kavanagh and David Niblock are carrying injuries.
Coach Ephie Fitzgerald is furious with the County Board over having to play the game just six days after Cork’s All-Ireland semi-final. “Nemo are being treated disgracefully,” blasted the coach.
“We give the coach and five players to the county team; have co-operated fully with Cork all along and now, when we look for a fortnight between games like the hurling clubs got, we’re turned down.
“Clubs would be far better off if they didn’t have inter-county players. All we were looking for was fair play,” added Fitzgerald.
“Despite the loss of the four lads, I’m expecting another very close contest. There has been very little between the clubs over the years, and Clon, with no distractions, will be again very focused and hard to beat.”
Clonakilty are injury free, but must plan without Tony Anglin, who has a match ban to serve after being red-carded in the drawn game.
Martin O’Brien has recovered from a rib injury sustained in that game; training has gone well, but it will take a massive effort to dethrone the champions.
PAUL Goggin is out of the Sars team as the leg injury he sustained in the first round against Blackrock has not responded to treatment.
There has been a lot of criticism of the long gap between games, but Sars coach Bertie Óg Murphy argues that is has allowed clubs to complete their league programme.
“All the games we’ve played have been against clubs who are still in the championship or in a relegation battle, and they have been very competitive.
“We are top of the league now, which is great. Maybe there is a lesson there for the powers that be.
“It’s great to be hurling well into the season. I would be for postponing the championship for a month in the middle of the year to accommodate the inter -county team. It would also allow club players to take their holidays without missing out on important games.”
Imokilly are one of the few divisional teams who put in the preparation and they have been busy playing lots of challenge games. There has been very little between Sars and the East Cork division anytime they’ve met and it will be close again. But the club side, because they find it easier to get together, will fancy their chances.
JONATHAN O’Sullivan is out of the Ballyhea team as he has not recovered from the injury he picked up in the opening round against Delanys. But the return of one of their famous sons, Jack Russell, as coach, has the north Cork side in fine fettle. They will be hard to beat.
Not every intermediate club has a county senior with them and Neil Ronan will have a big say in the outcome, as will his cousin Ian, Eamon Morrissey, Muiris O’Sullivan and Eoin O’Sullivan.
Liam Beale is getting married today, which means his brother Alan, his best man, won’t play with Ballincollig. Another brother Derek will line out, along with Rory O’Doherty, Dan Murphy, Denis Twomey, John Miskella and Eoin O’Sullivan. But this may be a bridge too far for the Mid Cork men.
DESPITE having more pressing things on their minds, Erin’s Own can be relied upon to cause upsets in football and the Gaeltacht side cannot take anything for granted.
The Glounthaune club will be without captain Alan Lane, who is on holidays, but with most of the hurlers equally proficient with the big ball, the likes of Mark O’Connor, brother Cian, Shane Murphy, Joe Lyons and Darragh Dennehy will make it difficult for Cill na Martra.
Noel O’Leary will be the key player for the Mid Cork club, and with no hurling interference it’s hard to see them slipping up.
Cill na Martra.
TWELVE months ago Fermoy got a hiding from Carrigaline and while there won’t be a repeat of that scoreline (5-16 to 1-3), the Carrigdhoun side will still be favourites.
They will be without Tony O’Sullivan, but will include Cork’s Nicholas Murphy, his brother Peter, brothers Ken and Barry O’Keeffe, Tom Burke and Killian Forbes.
The word from the north Cork camp is they will field a young, enthusiastic team. They have recovered well from last year’s debacle and had an excellent league campaign. Their challenge will be led by the O’Callaghan brothers, Ian, Alan and Ronan, along with Noel Crowley and Richard Kelleher, but it’s difficult to see them reversing last year’s result.