Rebel management have divvied up the six games thus far between Ryan Price and Ken O’Halloran, who’ve played two each, plus Micheál Martin and Brendan O’Connell, one of whom is expected to add to their one game thus far against Kerry in Tralee.
Skibbereen’s Price did well in Sunday’s low-key victory against Down, saving well at his near post in the second period from Kevin McKernan. And while O’Halloran came into the campaign as Cork’s No 1, his hold on that status is no longer certain.
Bishopstown’s O’Halloran played in the opening-day win over Mayo and the heavy home loss to Roscommon. Brendan O’Connell of Glanmire — a former Irish amateur soccer international — took over for the defeat in Donegal.
Micheál Martin (Nemo Rangers) came in for the trip to Croke Park to face Dublin, a four-point loss, and was named to start against Monaghan but Price was a late replacement for him and the O’Donovan Rossa man retained his spot for Sunday’s win over Down.
Since the retirement of Kevin O’Dwyer — a Skibbereen native like Price — at the end of the 2005 season, Alan Quirke was the man in possession of the No 1 shirt in championship for 2006-12 inclusive, bar a three-game injury absence in 2007, when Patrick O’Shea (St Vincent’s) deputised.
With Quirke away on army duty at the start of 2013, O’Halloran took over and was in situ for the early part of the championship but Quirke returned for the All-Ireland qualifier games against Galway and Mayo. Since then, O’Halloran has played all of the championship games.
“We have four good goalies and there’s a big decision to be made there, they are all in the reckoning,” Healy said yesterday.
“We will cut it to three but they’ve all got game time, which was one of the key objectives of the League. There’s nine new players in from last year, and we need them to get game time.
“Luke Connolly, Kevin Crowley, Ian Maguire, Peter Kelleher, Ruairi Deane coming back — we need to see how they cope, and Kerry will be another big test. There’ll be a championship feel to it, because there is something riding on it for both of us. Our neighbours won’t want to be losing at home to Cork.”
Healy admitted his players looked like a side “pushing the wheel up the hill” in Sunday’s 0-12 to 0-7 win against a limited Down outfit.
“We were very conscious of needing the two points, and nervous of making mistakes as a result. The game just never took off. There was no flow. I’m not blaming the referee, though he seemed to be very fond of the whistle. Anyone watching it would have to say it was a poor game.”