Attacking strengths should see Cork through

FOR the third year in a row, Cork and Kerry clash at the opening stage of the U21 grade and each of the previous meetings has produced the All-Ireland champions.

Considering that trend both will be of the opinion that if they surmount this hurdle, they can make a serious stab at national honours.

For Kerry the primary objective will be simply turning up to perform, something they failed miserably to do in last year’s corresponding fixture where they suffered a thumping defeat.

They possess survivors from that game, whose input will be crucial for a Kerry success. John Buckley is a big name at midfield after a terrific Sigerson Cup campaign, while Barry John Walsh offers a focal point up front. There are other able attackers as well in senior panellist James O’Donoghue and Daithi Casey. The defence is light on experience however, and they’ll need starring displays from Peter Crowley and Barry Shanahan.

The All-Ireland champions are a strong outfit. They have concerns with a serious hamstring injury afflicting centre-back Aidan Walsh and if he fails to make it, Liam Jennings is likely to fill in. Cork have a formidable midfield pairing in Chris O’Donovan and Eoin Keane, but it is the weapons in their attacking arsenal that make their aspirations of success most plausible.

Barry O’Driscoll, Ciarán Sheehan and Mark Collins all know where the posts are, wing-forward Kevin O’Driscoll possess boundless energy, while Paul Honohan and Jason Sexton are good ballwinners close to goal. Those offensive strengths could be decisive.

Verdict: Cork

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