O'Connor free to play as Counihan names side

Influential Cork half-forward Donncha O'Connor has been cleared to play for the Rebels in this Sunday's GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay against Kerry, after having his four-week suspension overturned by the GAA's Central Hearings Committee (CHC) at Croke Park last night.

Influential Cork half-forward Donncha O'Connor has been cleared to play for the Rebels in this Sunday's GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final replay against Kerry, after having his four-week suspension overturned by the GAA's Central Hearings Committee (CHC) at Croke Park last night.

O'Connor was dismissed in the 50th minute of last Sunday's 3-7 to 1-13 drawn encounter against the Kingdom, following a perceived slap by O'Connor on Kerry defender Aidan O'Mahony, which resulted in referee Joe McQuillan producing a straight red card.

However the Ballydesmond clubman successfully appealed his suspension, and is now free to play in Sunday's encounter.

Following the incident, there were calls from Cork Chairman Mick Dolan to rescind O'Connor's suspension, after he believed that O'Mahony had made too much of the incident.

"I think the other man over-reacted and it is something similar to what we see in other games," Dolan stated.

"I feel sorry for Donnacha, who was harshly done by. He was walked into it and apparently he had to put up with some fierce verbal abuse.

"Lots of people don't realise the verbal abuse in certain matches. The two teams have met so often over the last five years that it seems familiarity breeds contempt."

Sunday's game will be the 18th Senior Football Championship meeting between the sides over the last ten years.

O'Connor had been omitted from the team named last night by team manager Conor Counihan, with Kevin McMahon of Carbury Rangers included in the starting fifteen at O'Connor's expense.

However Counihan may opt to start O'Connor on Sunday, now that the 27-year old is eligible to play.

McMahon has been named at left-half-forward, with Sean O'Brien moving to the wing, while in defence Ger Spillane moves to centre-half-back, with John Miskella on his right.

Earlier in the week there were concerns over a number of players who had picked up knocks and bruises during the drawn encounter, but the good news in relation to team captain Graham Canty is that he came through the match unscathed and is picked to line out at midfield this weekend.

Although Nicholas Murphy's stint as a replacement for Alan O'Connor after 21 minutes was a successful one, the Carrigaline clubman is once again named on the bench for Sunday's encounter.

CORK (SF v KERRY): A Quirke; D Duggan, D Kavanagh, A Lynch; J Miskella, G Spillane, K O'Connor; A O'Connor, G Canty; S O'Brien, P O'Neill, K McMahon; D Goulding, M Cussen, J Hayes.

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