Cork near full strength against weakened Cats

Jimmy Barry-Murphy has kept faith with the Cork side that bowed out of last year’s Championship by reinstating all but three of them for tomorrow’s Allianz League opener.

Cork near full strength against weakened Cats

The Rebels boss has included a dozen of the side that lined out in August’s heavy All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Tipperary.

Two of those that aren’t included, Shane O’Neill and Lorcan McLoughlin, are among the subs for the visit of Kilkenny while the third player, Stephen McDonnell, wasn’t considered due to injury.

Barry-Murphy will be looking for a strong response to the expression of confidence with Cork perfectly placed for a morale-boosting Division 1A, Round 1 win.

Even with intriguing internal switches like Aidan Walsh’s move to wing-back, they appear in a far healthier position than under-strength Kilkenny. Cormac Murphy gets his chance at wing back after a good outing for UCC against UL in the Fitzgibbon midweek.

Brian Cody has been forced to name an inexperienced team with just eight starters from the All-Ireland final replay win over Tipperary. A spate of high profile retirements, five in total, and the absence of the Ballyhale Shamrocks players has stripped Cody of his options. Richie and John Power and Eoin Larkin are injured too so Tomas Keogh starts in defence while Brian Kennedy, Walter Walsh, Mark Kelly and Jonjo Farrell, unused substitutes in the defeat of Tipp, are named.

Experienced Matt Ruth also returns to the line-up at wing-forward while All-Ireland winning captain Lester Ryan will start.

It means they come into the contest cold and will expect Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan, named at corner-forward, and Jackie Tyrrell to offer vital leadership.

Meanwhile, Tomas Waters will captain Wexford in his first league game since 2013. The former All Star nominated full-back missed all of 2014 after a serious knee injury that required five operations and hopsitalised him for 48 days.

CORK (NHL v Kilkenny): A Nash; D Cahalane, C Joyce, C O’Sullivan; C Murphy, M Ellis, A Walsh; D Kearney, P Cronin; S Harnedy, B Cooper, C Lehane; A Cadogan, P O’Sullivan, P Horgan.

KILKENNY (NHL v Cork): E Murphy; T Keogh, P Murphy, J Tyrrell; B Kennedy, K Joyce, C Buckley; C Fogarty, L Ryan; P Walsh, W Walsh, M Ruth; M Kelly, J Farrell, R Hogan.

WEXFORD (NHL v Antrim): M Fanning; E Moore, T Waters, C Kenny; P Foley, L Chin, D Redmond; P Morris, G Sinnott; I Byrne, D Waters, D O’Keeffe; K Foley, J Guiney, L Og McGovern.

ANTRIM (NHL v Wexford): C O’Connell; R McCambridge, N McAuley, A Graffin; T McCann, C McKinley, M Bradley; N McManus, C Johnson; P Shiels, D McKernan, C McCann; C Clarke, PJ O’Connell, E McCloskey.

GALWAY (NHL v Clare): C Callanan; J Hanbury, F Moore, R Burke; G McInerney, D Collins, P Mannion; I Tannian, J Cooney; P Brehony, J Glynn, D Higgins; J Regan, J Flynn, C Mannion.

LIMERICK (NHL v Waterford): N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, S Hickey; D O’Grady, W McNamara, T Condon; C King, P Browne; D Hannon, G O’Mahony, C Lynch; D Reidy, D Breen, A Breen.

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