Cork boss Conor Counihan has named an unchanged team from that which defeated Tyrone in the semi-final last month, yet could be forced into an alteration before throw-in if Carey is unavailable. The Clyda Rovers defender will be given every chance by Counihan to prove his fitness. But, if he fails to recover, Kieran O’Connor and Eoin Cadogan will be the leading candidates to replace him.
O’Connor started in the drawn Munster semi-final against Kerry and in the narrow Munster final success against Limerick. Cadogan, who only linked up with the panel after the Cork hurlers’ All-Ireland exit against Galway, has only featured briefly, introduced late on in the semi-final win over Tyrone.
Cork field only eight survivors from the side that started in the last All-Ireland final meeting between the counties in 2007, although both Daniel Goulding and Anthony Lynch were introduced as subs. Alan O’Connor, Patrick Kelly, Paul Kerrigan, Colm O’Neill and Carey, if fit, will be making All-Ireland final debuts.
Counihan insists the nature of Kerry’s huge victory in the 2007 final will have no bearing on Sunday’s match. “People will say different things, but the reality is we’re two years on from 2007. We’re three or four months on from the Munster semi-final. It’s a whole new game. The score is nil all and that’s where you’re started from. The reality is 19 years is too long a time for Cork to be without an All-Ireland. It’s just too long. We went through a period of that time when we were successful but didn’t build on it afterwards. Hopefully that can all change now next Sunday.”
Meanwhile, injury worries over four Mayo minor players have abated, allowing them to take their place in the Westerners starting side for Sunday’s All-Ireland MFC final clash with Armagh at Croke Park. The two stars of the semi-final win over Down – goalkeeper Micheál Schlingermann and corner-forward Cillian O’Connor – have recovered, together with full-back Keith Rogers and half-back Caolan Crowe.
MAYO (MF v Armagh): M Schlingermann; M Walsh, K Rogers, D Gavin; C Charlton, S McDermott, C Crowe; D Kirby, A Farrell; B Ruttledge, D Coen, F Durkan; A Corduff, A Walsh, C O’Connor.