Sean Óg at midfield as Cork give Sweetnam the nod

Cork senior hurling selector Seanie McGrath says Seán Óg Ó hAilpín has “trained superbly” since returning to the Rebels squad and will be expected to help his rookie midfield partner, Darren Sweetnam, through tomorrow’s Allianz HL opener against Waterford.

McGrath added that Ó hAilpín’s adaptability made him an obvious choice for midfield.

“The half-back line is strong, John Gardiner, William Egan and Ross Cashman are there on merit,” said McGrath.

“Sean Óg is an adaptable kind of player and he’s played there before for Cork. Obviously he’s someone with great leadership on the field, though when Jimmy Barry-Murphy brought him back he made it clear that Sean Óg was a player first and foremost, but he can offer you both.

“For a young buck like Darren Sweetnam, just out of minor, he’ll need some advice and encouragement from the man in midfield with him, so there could be a bit of both. We also felt playing midfield would suit him too, because his fitness would enable him to get up and down the field. He’s trained superbly in recent weeks and months and he looks as though he’s well up for it.”

Cork supporters will also have noted Stephen McDonnell moving from corner- to full-back and Ross Cashman getting the number six jersey.

“Jimmy’s made it clear from the very start that every fella is under scrutiny,” said McGrath. “Positions are up for grabs all over the field.

“Stephen [McDonnell] had a fantastic year last year, and he’s showed great adaptability with CIT — he played corner-back with Cork last year but he’s been at full-back with CIT and he’s played out around midfield for his club. He’s fit and strong and it’s a good chance for him to stake a claim to that position.

“Ross [Cashman] will be making his debut and he’s another versatile player. ”

McGrath added the Cork management expect their injured players to come back in the next few weeks; “Niall [(McCarthy], Cian [McCarthy] and Eoin [Cadogan] have injuries which are short to medium-term rather than medium- to long-term.”

Tipperary field just seven of the team that started last year’s All-Ireland final for Sunday’s Division 1A opener against Kilkenny while former Kilkenny four-time All-Ireland winner Willie O’Dwyer makes his competitive debut for Kerry away to Westmeath in Division 2A.

Pearse O’Neill and Clare’s Rory Donnelly have been added to the Munster panel along with Marc Ó Sé for Sunday’s M Donnelly Interprovincial final against Ulster in Armagh.

Meanwhile, former Dublin and Offaly manager Tommy Lyons claims he was asked to name his price when interviewed for an inter-county job.

“I was asked to put it in an envelope and give it to the treasurer what I wanted to get paid for doing the job and I told him what part of “I didn’t want to get paid!” did he not understand,” he said on RTÉ Radio One.

“So that was only a senior inter-county official as of only 12 months ago in a very clear breach of guidelines.”

CORK (SH v Waterford): D Óg Cusack; B Murphy, S McDonnell, S O’Neill; J Gardiner, R Cashman, W Egan; S Óg Ó hAilpín, D Sweetnam; C Lehane, P Cronin, C Naughton; P Horgan, P O’Sullivan, B O’Connor.

TIPPERARY (SH v Kilkenny): D Gleeson; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; S Maher, C O’Mahony, P Maher; B Maher, D Young; G Ryan, N McGrath, A Ryan; P Bourke, B O’Meara, J O’Brien.

ANTRIM (SH v Wexford): C O’Connell; A Graffin, C Donnelly, K McGourty; N McAuley, N McManus, S McCrory; K Stewart, B McFall; S McLaughlin, M Herron, C McFall; S McNaughton, K Sheeran, PJ O’Connell.

GALWAY (SH v Dublin): J Skehill; D Connolly, D Collins, G O’Halloran; T Óg Regan, F Moore, N Donoghue; D Burke, C Donnellan; C Cooney, N Burke, I Tannian; D Hayes, B Daly, J Regan.

LIMERICK (v Clare): N Quaid; P Browne, R McCarthy, T Condon; C Allis, W McNamara, G O'Mahoney; D O'Grady, J Ryan; D Hannon, D Breen, S Dowling; S O'Brien, N Moran, M Ryan.

KERRY (SH v Westmeath): B Rochford; R Horgan, T Murnane, P Costello; J Godley, J Casey, C Harris; D Dineen, J Griffin; D O’Connell, M Boyle, W O’Dwyer; P Boyle, S Brick, S Nolan.

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