Cork hurling boss Denis Walsh has opted for experience rather than wholesale experimentation for next Sunday’s Thurles showdown with Tipperary (kick-off: 4pm).
Walsh has been forced into making three personnel changes from the championship team that saw action against Kilkenny in the 2008 All-Ireland semi-final with Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Brian Murphy and Joe Deane no longer available.
Eoin Cadogan will be filling the big boots of The Rock at full-back. Alongside him, Conor O’Sullivan is the only member of the team that lined out under Gerald McCarthy in the opening games of the National Hurling League to hold his place.
However, he has faced Tipperary in Thurles, playing corner-back when the new floodlights were unveiled.
Aisake Ó hAilpín comes into the attack in place of Deane.
There are two other changes from the team that lost to Kilkenny last August, Timmy McCarthy starts instead of Pa Cronin with Kieran ‘Fraggie’ Murphy replacing Cathal Naughton.
As expected the status quo has been retained in the half-back line and midfield, despite the strong claims of Ciarán McGann.
Young Ó hAilpín’s inclusion is a gamble as he has had to adjust since his return from the Australian Rules game. However he has performed well in training and in a recent challenge against Dublin.
He brings a strong, physical presence to the attack that contains a vast amount of experience in Ben O’Connor and Niall McCarthy.
Walsh declared at last night’s press briefing that he was very comfortable with the players he now has at his disposal and was very much looking forward to going back to a venue that was exceptionally good to him during an illustrious playing career.
“Thurles for Cork people is a very special place and for me personally it is a very special place as well.”
CORK: D Óg Cusack; S O’Neill, E Cadogan, C O’Sullivan; J Gardiner, R Curran, S Óg Ó hAilpín; T Kenny, J O’Connor; B O’Connor, N McCarthy, T McCarthy; K Murphy, A Ó hAilpín, P Horgan.