O’Neill, who has scored five points in two games against Dublin and Derry since returning from the third cruciate ligament injury of his career, replaces Daniel Goulding at right corner-forward as one of eight changes to Brian Cuthbert’s side.
Conor Dorman and Kevin Crowley, who play U21 against Kerry tonight, are in defence along with Eoin Cadogan and Clonakilty’s Tom Clancy. Aidan Walsh returns at midfield while Colm O’Driscoll and Donncha O’Connor are given starts in attack.
John McLoughlin, James Loughrey, Kevin O’Driscoll, Fintan Goold, Mark Collins, John O’Rourke and John Hayes are the other players to miss out.
Patrick Kelly, who appeared as a substitute last week in his first appearance since August, and Damien Cahalane, who has been out with a hip injury, will play with their clubs this weekend.
CORK (NFL v Mayo): K O’Halloran (Bishopstown); M Shields (St Finbarr’s), E Cadogan (Douglas), K Crowley (Millstreet); C Dorman (Bishopstown), T Clancy (Clonakilty), A Cronin (Nemo Rangers); A O’Sullivan (Castletownbere), A Walsh (Kanturk); C O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCárthaigh), P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers), T Clancy (Fermoy); C O’Neill (Ballyclough), B Hurley (Castlehaven), D O’Connor (Ballydesmond). Subs: D Hanrahan (Douglas), John McLoughlin (Kanturk), J Loughrey (Mallow), K O’Driscoll (Tadhg Mac Cárthaigh), F Goold (Macroom), M Ó Laoire (Naomh Abán), B O’Driscoll (Nemo Rangers), M Collins (Castlehaven), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), J Hayes (Carbery Rangers), D Goulding (Eire Óg).