Curran returns for Cork as McIntyre keeps faith in his Tribe

RONAN CURRAN will make his first championship start of the year for the Cork senior hurlers in Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC qualifier against Galway in Semple Stadium.

Curran was drafted into the team at centre-back by manager Denis Walsh in the only change from the qualifier win over Offaly last Saturday week. Curran’s introduction sees William Egan move to midfield to partner Jerry O’Connor.

Cork’s options were restricted at midfield by the loss of Patrick Cronin though suspension and Tom Kenny through injury, but Lorcan McLoughlin, who has also been affected by injury, is named amongst the substitutes.

An interesting inclusion on the bench is Midleton youngster Conor Lehane, who is available again having completed his Leaving Cert exams.

Opponents Galway have kept faith with the starting 15 that defeated Clare in the qualifiers last weekend.

It is the first time in this season’s championship that manager John McIntyre has named an unchanged team.

The introduction of Eamonn Fennell for the injured Michael Dara MacAuley is the only change in the Dublin team for Sunday’s Leinster decider against Wexford.

Kerry defender Tommy Griffin is poised for his first taste of competitive action this year with his club Dingle in the county SFC this weekend. Griffin has finally recovered from persistent ankle and hamstring injuries.

Leitrim manager Mickey Moran has revealed that Wayne McKeon was dropped from their panel recently because of discipline issues. McKeon was man-of-the-match in Leitrim’s surprise win over Sligo in the Connacht championship this year and is regarded as a key player for the county. However, he will not be involved as Moran’s side face Down in the second round of the All-Ireland football qualifiers this weekend.

Meanwhile, Sligo legend Eamonn O’Hara may be forced to quit football after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament playing for his club. The 35-year-old former All-Star suffered the injury when playing for his club Tourlestrane at the weekend.

Chairman of the Sligo County Board, Cyril Feehily, said that it is a devastating blow.

“I spoke with him last night and he was very philosophical about it all, but I am sure he is shattered. It is very tough on him suffering this injury so close to the end of his career. Hopefully we’ll see him back again, but it is a long way back from that injury. It would be very sad if he went out like that.”

O’Hara’s career has been plagued with injury problems and this latest blow is the second time he has suffered a cruciate ligament injury.

CORK (SH v Galway): D Óg Cusack; S McDonnell, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, S O’Neill; J O’Connor, W Egan; B O’Connor, C McCarthy, N McCarthy; L O’Farrell, P O’Sullivan, P Horgan.

Subs: M Coleman, E Dillon, S Murphy, J Nagle, L McLoughlin, C Naughton, J Coughlan, B Cooper, K Murphy, C Lehane, M Cussen.

GALWAY (SH v Cork): J Skehill; F Moore, S Kavanagh, D Collins; D Barry, T Óg Regan, A Cullinane; D Burke, A Smith; J Gantley, G Farragher, I Tannian; D Hayes, J Canning, A Kerins.

DUBLIN (SF v Kildare): S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, P Conlon; J McCarthy, G Brennan, K Nolan; D Bastick, E Fennell; P Flynn, A Brogan, B Cullen; E O’Gara, D Connolly, B Brogan.

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