CORK captain Graham Canty remain a fitness doubt for Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC decider despite being last night named at centre-back in their starting 15, while fellow defender Eoin Cadogan has been handed his first senior intercounty football championship start by manager Conor Counihan.
Canty, who has only played 35 minutes of football since the All-Ireland quarter-final against Roscommon in early August, is likely to undergo a fitness test before Sunday’s game on the hamstring injury which has curtailed his training since the semi-final win over Dublin.
Cadogan’s inclusion at right corner-back sees John Miskella make way in the only change to the line-up from the Dublin tie. If Canty is ruled out, Miskella is the likely replacement.
Down have delayed naming their side until tonight, but manager James McCartan is unlikely to deviate from the team that claimed honours in the semi-final against Kildare, with captain Ambrose Rogers set to miss out again through injury.
Cork’s selection remarkably marks the first football championship start for 24 year-old Douglas player Cadogan, who has had his football involvement restricted in recent seasons due to his dual player status. Cadogan has made five championship substitute appearances – in the 2007 All-Ireland semi-final against Meath, last season’s All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone, last year’s All-Ireland decider against Kerry, last June’s Munster semi-final replay clash with Kerry and last month’s All-Ireland semi-final tie against Dublin.
Counihan has resisted the temptation to start midfielder Nicholas Murphy and attacker Colm O’Neill after both played pivotal roles when introduced against Dublin last month. In all Counihan has named ten of the team that started last September’s All-Ireland final against Kerry with Cadogan, Ray Carey, Paudie Kissane, Aidan Walsh and Ciaran Sheehan the players drafted in instead of Kieran O’Connor, Anthony Lynch, Miskella, Murphy and O’Neill.
Meanwhile John Brennan was last night ratified as Damian Cassidy’s successor as Derry senior football boss at a county board meeting. The Lavey native has developed a reputation as one of the best managers in club football in recent years, with a CV that boasts county titles in Derry, Antrim and Tyrone, and was widely tipped to land a job he has been heavily linked with in the past.
The make-up of Brennan’s backroom setup has not been announced but it was revealed that he has his four-man team in place, with strong speculation that 1993 All-Ireland winning captain Henry Downey will be involved.
Brennan was in charge of Lavey last Sunday when they were defeated by Ballinderry in the Derry county senior football semi-final.
“I am pleased to have been selected as the manager of the Derry senior football team for the year 2011. I look forward to getting good support and I hope we can have a successful year,” stated Brennan last night.
Meanwhile, Tyrone boss Raymond Munroe has drafted goalkeeper Colm Spiers in for his championship debut in Sunday’s All-Ireland MFC final against Cork.
Spiers comes in for injured netminder Mark McReynolds in the only change from the semi-final win over Mayo.
TYRONE (MF v Cork): C Spiers; S McGarrity, C Clarke, HP McGeary; N Sludden, M Donaghy, E Deeney; H Óg Conlon, C Grugan; R Donnelly, T Canavan, R Devlin; S Tierney, J McCullagh, R O’Neill.
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