Cork hurling manager John Meyler expects Conor Lehane to return to action the weekend after next against Waterford but ruled Colm Spillane out of the same game.
Lehane limped off injured against Limerick last Sunday week while Spillane’s back issue has kept him out of action in Cork’s first two championship games.
“Conor (Lehane) is back running, and hopefully we’ll have him for Saturday week,” said Meyler.
“Colm’s doing some light running and the longer we’re in it the more chance there is of him getting back to play a game. But he won’t be back for Sunday week.
“Niall (O’Leary) has come in and done well, but he’s only a young fella learning the ropes, he’s 21 and has a long way to go. The same with Robert Downey, they just need to keep the heads down and to keep working hard.”
Cork bounced back with a good win over Limerick after disappointing against Tipperary in their opening game.
The two games were up and down and the performance against Tipperary, we spoke about that and then we went to Limerick and everything was good.
“The decision making was good, the work rate was good, our scores were very good - overall it was a very good performance but we need to build on that for Waterford the weekend after next.
“(The Limerick game) washed things out, it was a hot wash straight away and we got everything out of our system. In the old days you could have four or five weeks to think about a game like that, so it’s much better to have this format.
“You can get a game out of your system quickly, to forget about the Tipperary match and focus on the Limerick match. That’s one of the benefits of it.
“We’ve had a break now, so for our next game Waterford will have the advantage of a game, we’ll need to look at that as well. We’ve seen Waterford on tape, such as the league final against Limerick in Croke Park, and they were competitive in the league up to that game, which Limerick won easily enough. We’ll have an opportunity now to see them this weekend against Limerick again, down in Walsh Park.”
Meyler and his selectors gave the players a couple of days off after the Limerick win: “It was a huge high, so we gave them a few days’ break to recharge the batteries and refocus - to look at the positives and to focus on them for the next game.
“If you make changes and you win you’re 100 per cent right, but that's the whole idea behind having a panel, to be able to introduce Alan Cadogan after ten minutes when Conor Lehane got injured, that was hugely important, Maccie (Stephen McDonnell) came in for Sean O’Donoghue, Christopher Joyce, Shane Kingston and Declan Dalton came on, Declan got two points which were very valuable.
“The changes worked in that they all played well and the subs who came in had an impact on the game. So it all worked out, really.”
Meyler was happy with his panel, and with the return to form of players like Darragh Fitzgibbon.
“We looked at that (panel) purposely, and we brought in the likes of Aidan Walsh as well. It’s a 20, 21-man game so it’s all about the impact.
If you look at Declan Dalton, he came in and got two critical points at a vital stage for us, but Alan Cadogan coming on gave us huge impetus.
“Darragh’s had a really tough year - going to the All-Ireland senior semi-final last year, the All-Ireland U21 final, the club campaign with Charleville, UCC with the Fitzgibbon - he played no league match for us this year but he’s only finding his feet now for us. Mark Coleman the same.”
They’ll need to be, with Meyler underlining the competitiveness of the championship: “There are two games this weekend, they’re critical - no matter who’s playing, the four teams will want to win.
“We’re all aware of how competitive the Munster Championship is, and there’s no question on any day of a team not turning up. You never see that.”