Blow for Rebels as Cronin faces lay-off

PATRICK CRONIN is set to miss Cork’s entire National Hurling League campaign after suffering a serious knee injury. Cronin will be out of action for a minimum period of three months but it is hoped he may be able to make a return before Cork’s Munster SHC opener against Tipperary in Páirc Ui Chaoimh on May 31.

The Bishopstown attacker previously had cartilage surgery on his knee and it is a recurrence of that injury that means he will not line out for Cork this spring. Cronin burst onto the scene in 2007 making his senior championship debut for Cork against Clare and has since established himself as a regular fixture in the Cork half-forward line.

Meanwhile, Cork hurling boss Denis Walsh has named an experimental side for their first outing of the year in Sunday’s Waterford Crystal Cup, preliminary round tie against UCC in Páirc Ui Rinn.

Michael Cussen, who has thrown in his lot with the hurlers this season after spending the past few years on the Cork football panel, is named at full-forward in a starting 15 that includes only five members of last year’s squad – Martin Coleman, Shane Murphy, Ray Ryan, Graham Callinan and Paudie O’Sullivan. A number of players are involved with UCC and Cork IT in the pre-season competition but Walsh has still handed out several starting debuts. Amongst those selected are defensive pair David Cunningham and Darragh Rodgers, midfielder William Egan, and attacking duo Cian McCarthy and Andy Walsh.

Brian O’Connell has been confirmed as Clare’s senior hurling captain for the coming season, despite a change in team management. O’Connell led the Banner County for Mike McNamara’s two years in charge while new boss Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’Loughlin and his backroom team have clearly decided upon continuity as the Wolfe Tones clubman retains the captaincy.

Crusheen’s Pat Vaughan has been appointed as vice-captain in succession to Gerry O’Grady and is named at right corner back for next Sunday’s Waterford Crystal Cup opener against Waterford IT at Meelick. O’Connell, better known as a midfielder, is handed a new role at centre half back in a line which also contains the returning Gerry Quinn, who will play in the Clare colours for the first time since he was axed by McNamara last March.

Clare’s team contains four of last year’s victorious All-Ireland U21 winning team, namely Cian Dillon at full-back, Domhnall O’Donovan at right half back, John Conlon at right half forward and Colin Ryan in the left corner.

Elsewhere, three sides in Munster face a hectic schedule this weekend of two McGrath Cup ties in the space of twenty-four hours. Both preliminary round matches scheduled for last night fell foul for the weather with the ties in Dr Morris Park in Thurles and Staker Wallace GAA Grounds in Limerick postponed.

As a result the three preliminary round games in the competition will take place this Saturday with the winners of each tie slated to play a quarter-final tie on Sunday afternoon. In Leinster all eight O’Byrne Cup first round ties are still on course to take place on Sunday, with just one venue change seeing the Kilkenny and Offaly tie switched to Thomastown from Freshford.

There are expected to be some venue changes in the FBD Insurance League in Connacht with Tuam Stadium rated as doubtful to host the game between Galway and Sligo, while Ulster Council officials are optimistic the weekend’s Dr McKenna Cup matches will take place despite pitch inspections scheduled for the six venues in the northern province this morning.

CORK (SH v UCC): M Coleman (Ballinhassig); S Murphy (Erins Own), R Ryan (Sarsfields); D Rodgers (Brian Dillons), A Ryan (Midleton), J Nagle (Midleton); G Calnan (Glen Rovers), W Egan (Kilbrin): M Harrington (Douglas), C McCarthy (Sarsfields), M O’Sullivan (Dripsey); P O’Sullivan (Cloyne), M Cussen (Sarsfields), A Walsh (Killeagh). Subs: A Kennedy (Sarsfields), D McSweeney (Blarney), J Neville (St Finbarr’s), M Ellis (Millstreet), D O’Callaghan (Ballinhassig), A O’hAilpín (Na Piarsaigh), M O’Sullivan (Tracton), S O’Brien (Carrigaline), S Cronin (Erin’s Own).

CLARE (SH v Waterford IT): P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, A Brigdale; D O’Donovan, B O’Connell, G Quinn; D McMahon, P Donnellan; J Conlon, G O’Grady, A O’Brien; M ‘Ogie’ Murphy, F Lynch, C Ryan.

McGrath Cup Preliminary Round Fixtures: Saturday January 16th: Tipperary v UL, Sean Treacy Park, 2pm; Limerick v WIT, Kilmallock, 2pm; Kerry v IT Tralee, Strand Road, 2pm.

More in this section

CourtsGaaPlace: Páirc Uí ChaoimhPlace: BishopstownPlace: Páirc Uí RinnPlace: MeelickPlace: Dr Morris ParkPlace: ThurlesPlace: Staker Wallace GAA GroundsPlace: LimerickPlace: ThomastownPlace: ConnachtPlace: Tuam StadiumPlace: Strand RoadPerson: CroninPerson: Patrick CroninPerson: Denis WalshPerson: Michael CussenPerson: Martin ColemanPerson: Shane MurphyPerson: Ray RyanPerson: Graham CallinanPerson: Paudie O’SullivanPerson: WalshPerson: David CunninghamPerson: Darragh RodgersPerson: William EganPerson: Cian McCarthyPerson: Andy WalshPerson: Brian O’ConnellPerson: O’ConnellPerson: Mike McNamaraPerson: Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’LoughlinPerson: Pat VaughanPerson: Gerry O’GradyPerson: Gerry QuinnPerson: McNamaraPerson: Cian DillonPerson: Domhnall O’DonovanPerson: John ConlonPerson: Colin RyanPerson: CorkPerson: M ColemanPerson: S MurphyPerson: R RyanPerson: D RodgersPerson: Brian DillonsPerson: A RyanPerson: J NaglePerson: G CalnanPerson: W EganPerson: M HarringtonPerson: DouglasPerson: C McCarthyPerson: M O’SullivanPerson: DripseyPerson: P O’SullivanPerson: CloynePerson: M CussenPerson: A WalshPerson: KilleaghPerson: A KennedyPerson: D McSweeneyPerson: BlarneyPerson: J NevillePerson: M EllisPerson: D O’CallaghanPerson: BallinhassigPerson: A O’hAilpinPerson: Na PiarsaighPerson: S O’BrienPerson: S CroninPerson: ClarePerson: P VaughanPerson: C DillonPerson: BrigdalePerson: D O’DonovanPerson: B O’ConnellPerson: G QuinnPerson: D McMahonPerson: P DonnellanPerson: J ConlonPerson: G O’GradyPerson: A O’BrienPerson: M ‘Ogie’ MurphyPerson: F LynchPerson: C RyanEvent: National Hurling LeagueEvent: Munster SHCEvent: Waterford Crystal CupEvent: McGrath CupEvent: O’Byrne CupEvent: Dr McKenna CupOrganisation: CorkOrganisation: TipperaryOrganisation: ClareOrganisation: UCCOrganisation: Cork ITOrganisation: Banner CountyOrganisation: Wolfe TonesOrganisation: CrusheenOrganisation: Waterford ITOrganisation: All-Ireland U21Organisation: MunsterOrganisation: LeinsterOrganisation: KilkennyOrganisation: OffalyOrganisation: FreshfordOrganisation: FBD Insurance LeagueOrganisation: GalwayOrganisation: Ulster CouncilOrganisation: SHOrganisation: Erins OwnOrganisation: SarsfieldsOrganisation: MidletonOrganisation: Glen RoversOrganisation: KilbrinOrganisation: St Finbarr’sOrganisation: MillstreetOrganisation: TractonOrganisation: Erin’s OwnOrganisation: WaterfordOrganisation: ULOrganisation: LimerickOrganisation: WITOrganisation: Kerry
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