Spillane is one of two senior panellists, along with goalkeeper Patrick Collins, to be selected on the Rebels’ side for tomorrow’s Munster U21HC quarter-final with Waterford in Páirc Ui Rinn (7.30pm). Cork haven’t won a provincial title at the grade since 2007 and are nearly 17 years without an All-Ireland but the Castlelyons forward admits the expectations bring pressure.
“Even when I was young going to matches, the expectation is for Cork to win, with the county so big,” he says.
“The tradition for hurling is so powerful. You are expected to win and when you don’t, you’re ultimately seen as a failure and you’re bound to come in for criticism. I suppose it’s just a bit of pressure, you have to get used to.
“Our team, when I was U16, it was the first time Cork had ever won an All-Ireland [at that age]. We were confident then going into the minor. It does have an impact when you’re reading and Cork haven’t won in so long and they need to get it. I think if we won one at all at minor and U21, it would really bode well for the future and we’d drive on.”
Aside from full-forward Spillane and Collins, midfielder Rickard Cahalane is the only member of the Cork starting team to have featured in last year’s Munster U21 final loss to Clare. Corner-back Seán O’Donoghue, corner-forward Luke Meade and Dayne Lee, who is named as a sub, all featured for the county senior side in the Waterford Crystal Cup earlier this year.
Waterford features four of the starting 15 from the senior win over Cork — Austin Gleeson, Tadhg de Búrca, Colin Dunford and Stephen Bennett, while Shane Bennett, Tom Devine and Patrick Curran, who all came off the bench, are included. A third Bennett brother, Kieran is also selected for tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Tipperary manager Eamon O’Shea will run the rule over his walking wounded this evening — but insists only defender John Meagher is definitely ruled out of next Sunday’s Munster SHC semi-final against Limerick at this point in time. It is understood that All-Star forward John O’Dwyer sustained an ankle injury on a weekend training camp, while O’Shea is also monitoring the progress of 2014 Young Hurler of the Year Cathal Barrett, Lar Corbett and John McGrath.
Denis Maher and Michael Cahill are both on the comeback trail from injury and O’Shea accepts that some players may be undercooked as they prepare to meet a Limerick team with a championship win under their belts.
Speaking to Tipp FM, O’Shea said: “We’ll know more about the injuries tomorrow night — at the moment John Meagher is the only one ruled out.
“Cathal hasn’t done a lot of hurling, ‘Bubbles’ [O’Dwyer] is hurling away and has had bits and pieces. Larry Corbett and John McGrath, we’ll know for sure during the middle of the week.
“Denis Maher is making really good progress. He had a serious injury [dislocated shoulder] and was out for a serious length of time but the last few weeks have seen him come on a lot.”
P Collins (Ballinhassig); D Browne (Kanturk), A Dennehy (Charleville), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra); D Noonan (Glen Rovers), C Twomey (Newtownshandrum), N Cashman (Blackrock); R Cahalane (Ballymartle), M Brennan (Fermoy); K O’Neill (Watergrasshill), K O’Connor (Mallow), D Casey (Charleville); M O’Connor (Douglas), A Spillane (Castlelyons), L Meade (Newcestown). Subs: J Barry (Castlelyons), J Buckley (Charleville), M O’Keeffe (Fr O’Neills), K Histon (Cobh), S Hegarty (Dungourney), D Lee (Na Piarsaigh), D Geary (Fermoy), D Hannon (Newmarket), P Herlihy (Mallow).
B Nolan (Roanmore); S McNulty (DLS), K Bennett (Ballysaggart), C Gleeson (Fourmilewater); M Harney (Bonmahon), T de Búrca (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg), Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart); A Gleeson (Mt Sion), T Devine (Modeligo); C Dunford (Colligan), Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart), DJ Foran (Portlaw); R Donnelly (Dungarvan), C Curran (Brickey Rgrs), P Curran (Dungarvan).