Walsh bloods Rebel trio for Tipp clash

CORK hurling boss Denis Walsh last night handed out three full championship debuts for Sunday’s Munster quarter-final against Tipperary in Semple Stadium.

There is a first taste of senior inter-county championship action for right corner-back Stephen McDonnell from Glen Rovers who impressed during this spring’s league campaign. Centre-back William Egan and right corner-forward Luke O’Farrell are both thrust into the action from the start for the first time, having made their championship bows with substitute appearances last summer. Overall, the Cork starting 15 has undergone a major overhaul since their last championship outing against Kilkenny in last August’s All-Ireland semi-final, with only eight survivors from that game.

McDonnell, captain Shane O’Neill and Egan all feature in defence instead of Shane Murphy, the injured Ronan Curran and Sean Óg Ó hAilpín. There is a new partnership at midfield in Patrick Cronin and Lorcan McLoughlin with Tom Kenny and Cathal Naughton both starting on the bench.

While in attack O’Farrell and Paudie O’Sullivan command starting places ahead of Kieran Murphy and Jerry O’Connor, who are named amongst the replacements.

Only five of the Cork team are over the age of 25 and only that quintet — Donal Óg Cusack, John Gardiner, Brian Murphy, Ben O’Connor and Niall McCarthy — have won All-Ireland senior hurling medals on the field of play.

Tipperary boss Declan Ryan has an injury concern over midfielder Shane McGrath ahead of Sunday’s clash as he is battling a knee problem. If the 2008 All Star does not make it in time, James Woodlock is tipped to partner Gearóid Ryan at centre field. Clonoulty-Rossmore defender John O’Keeffe and JK Brackens attacker Shane Bourke are both in contention to make their championship debuts.

Meanwhile Michael Meehan is unlikely to be fit for Galway’s Connacht championship opener against Mayo or London next month due to a troublesome ankle injury. Defenders Darren Mullahy and Niall Coyne face a race against time to be fit. Mullahy has a hamstring problem and Coyne injured his back.

Tipperary senior footballers George Hannigan and Philip Austin will turn their attentions to hurling this weekend after lining out against Kerry in last Sunday’s Munster SFC quarter-final. The duo have been named at full-back and wing-forward respectively in the Tipperary intermediate hurling team to face Cork in Semple Stadium at 1.45pm next Sunday. Former senior panellists Alan Byrnes, Thomas Stapleton, Darragh Hickey and Evan Sweeney will all feature while last year’s All-Ireland U21 winning goalkeeper James Logue also starts.

CORK (SH v Tipperary): D Óg Cusack (Cloyne); S McDonnell (Glen Rvs), E Cadogan (Douglas), S O’Neill (Bishopstown); J Gardiner (Na Piarsaigh), W Egan (Kilbrin), B Murphy (Bride Rvs); L McLoughlin (Kanturk), P Cronin (Bishopstown); B O’Connor (Newtownshandrum), C McCarthy (Sars), N McCarthy (Carrigtwohill); L O’Farrell (Midleton), P O’Sullivan (Cloyne), P Horgan (Glen Rovers). Subs: M Coleman (Ballinhassig), E Dillon (Milford), C O’Sullivan (Sars), J Nagle (Midleton), T Kenny (Grenagh), J O’Connor (Newtownshandrum), C Naughton (Newtownshandrum), K Murphy (Sars), M Cussen (Sars), J Coughlan (Newtownshandrum), B Cooper (Youghal).

TIPPERARY (IH v Cork): J Logue (Ballingarry); A Byrnes (Shannon Rvs), G Hannigan (Shannon Rvs), K Maher (Lorrha and Dorrha); J McLoughney (Toomevara), T Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons), R Sherlock (Silvermines); J Ryan (Drom/Inch), P O’Dwyer (Éire Óg Annacarty); D Hickey (Boherlahan Dualla), W O’Dwyer (Carrick Davins), P Austin (Borrisokane); E Sweeney (Loughmore-Castleiney), P Ivors (Ballingarry), R McLoughney (Kilruane McDonaghs).

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