Rebuilding begins as Fitzmaurice brings in Ó Sé and O’Sullivan

NEW Kerry U21 coach Eamonn Fitzmaurice has moved quickly to put an impressive back-room team in place for next season — including former Munster rugby forward John O’Sullivan as physical trainer.

Ex-senior selector Fitzmaurice will unveil former playing colleague Darragh Ó Sé and Dr Crokes coach Harry O’Neill as two of his three selectors next week as he begins the process of rebuilding the Kingdom’s tarnished reputation at under age level.

He has pulled off a coup in securing the services of O’Sullivan, who was recently forced to retire from the professional game in France with Agen because of a persistent neck injury. He played in the back row with Connacht and Munster before his move to France.

Fitzmaurice will add one more selector, probably from South Kerry, but the appointment of Kerry legend Ó Sé and proven coach O’Neill to his backroom team is a strong show of intent. O’Neill has already been involved in the senior backroom team and coached Dr Crokes to a Kerry SFC title last season.

It is 17 years since the Kingdom won a minor All-Ireland.

Meanwhile, Mayo boss James Horan has handed out five championship debuts for Sunday’s Connacht SFC opener against London in Ruislip. Robert Hennelly has got the nod to start in goal while the Feeney brothers, Alan and Richie start in defence, at full-back and right half-back, respectively. At midfield James Gibbons will make his bow alongside James Kilcullen while Jason Doherty, who shone during the league, has been named at left corner-forward. Despite being an injury doubt, Ger Cafferkey is named in the team at left corner-back. In all there are only seven survivors from last July’s qualifier defeat to Longford with Cafferkey, Donal Vaughan, Chris Barrettt, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon, Trevor Howley and Alan Freeman all selected here.

Cork have named five of the team that started in last year’s All-Ireland decider for Sunday’s Munster IHC semi-final against Tipperary. Wing-back Tadhg Healy, centre-back Mark Ellis, midfielder Brian Corry, centre-forward Michael O’Sullivan and left half-forward Colm Casey all started in that final defeat to Kilkenny last August. Seamus Corry and Brian Lawton, who were both introduced as substitutes in that game, have been handed starting berths on this occasion.

MAYO (SF v London): R Hennelly; T Cunniffe, A Feeney, G Cafferkey; R Feeney, D Vaughan, C Barrett; J Kilcullen, J Gibbons; A Campbell, A Moran, A Dillon; T Howley, A Freeman, J Doherty.

Subs: D Clarke, D Geraghty, P Gardiner, A O’Shea, E O’Reilly, L Keegan, T Mortimer, K McLoughlin, C O’Connor, J Burke, E Varley.

CORK (IH v Tipperary): D McCarthy (Ballymartle); J Carey (Dripsey), R Cashman (Kilbrittain), S White (Ballygarvan); T Healy (Buttevant), M Ellis (Millstreet), S Corry (Ballymartle); B Corry (Ballymartle), M Sexton (Kilbrittain); D Drake (Carrigaline), M O’Sullivan (Tracton), C Casey (Inniscarra); J Wall (Kilbrittain), T Murphy (Carrigaline), B Lawton (Castlemartyr).

Subs: C Cronin (Lisgoold), E Conway (Fr O’Neill’s), E Brosnan (Meelin), M O’Sullivan (Ballyhea), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), B Coleman (Ballyhea), B Withers (Banteer), C O’Donovan (Valley Rovers), D Fitzgerald (Charleville).

OFFALY (SH v Dublin): J Dempsey; M Verney; D Kenny; S Egan; D Hayden; R Hanniffy; D Morkam; C Mahon; D Molloy; B Carroll; G Healion; C Egan; S Dooley; J Bergin; D Currams.

OFFALY (SF v Wexford): A Mulhall; B Darby; S Brady; S Pender; S Lonergan; R Brady; K Slattery; R Dalton; N Smith; C McManus; S Ryan; A Sullivan; B Allen; N Dunne; N McNamee.

WEXFORD (SH v Antrim): C O Connell; C McGuinness; C Donnelly; K Molloy; A Graffin; M Herron; C Herron; P Shiels; B McFall; S McRory; K Stewart; N McManus; C McCann; D Hamill; E McCloskey.

ANTRIM (SH v Wexford): C O’Connell; C McGuinness, C Donnelly, K Molloy; A Graffin, M Herron, C Herron; P Shiels, B McFall; S McRory, K Stewart, N McManus; C McCan,, D Hamill, E McCloskey.

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