CORK football manager Conor Counihan is “fairly optimistic” that captain Graham Canty will be available for selection for the All-Ireland senior football final against Down.
Canty has struggled with a hamstring injury for much of the summer, while fellow veteran Anthony Lynch has also been injured for much of the 2010 campaign, and Fintan Goold is trying to overcome a more recent knock.
At last night’s media briefing in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Counihan said: “Yeah we’d be fairly optimistic on that one (Canty).
“Fintan (Goold) seems to be going in the right direction as well and we’ll know more about Anthony (Lynch) at the weekend.”
Counihan said there was no hard and fast cut-off date by which players would have to prove their fitness.
“I suppose we analyse that on a day-to-day basis. Obviously we’ll be making serious decisions on Saturday but if we felt that it needed another couple of days then we’ll do that.”
Canty himself will try to prove his fitness this weekend: “Yeah, the injury has come on very well in the last couple of weeks, hopefully I’ll take part in full training this weekend with a view to being available for selection.”
Meanwhile, the manager added that Cork had not gone on any training camps in the run-up to the final.
“Training is pretty standard,” said Counihan, “Hopefully the intensity is picking up, but no, we wouldn’t be doing anything different.
“We’ve gone the scenic route in the backdoor so we had a few more weekends than we wanted. Fellas have probably seen enough of one another maybe.”
Wing-back Noel O’Leary, meanwhile, said winning the All-Ireland “would be one of the great achievements of my life,” adding that Down are playing the better football at this stage and deserve to be favourites.
“The way we’re looking at it, it’s a different year and a different way of looking at things,” said O’Leary. “We’re playing for once a different team, and that’s a bit of a difference. Down are playing serious football.
“People are rating us on last year, but they are certainly favourites in my eyes going into this game. They are playing the better football, we’re not. That’s not trying to blow them up or anything, because we feel we’re ready to put on a performance the next day. It’s going to be a huge battle but we’re ready for it.
“We feel the same as we did last year: an All-Ireland final is an All-Ireland final no matter who you are playing. You always look forward to it. ”
Asked if Cork are better equipped to win this year, the Cill na Martra man said the new players have “added to the show”.
“I suppose you could be equipped as much as you want, but it’s all about doing it on the day. Look, things are tipping away. We have a few lads brought in and they are doing the business.
“They are young and mad for it, and they have added to the show. But that’s fine and well; on the day, it has to be done and that’s what it’s all about.”
Elsewhere, Tipperary full-back John Coghlan last night lost his appeal against the suspension incurred for tomorrow night’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21HC final against Galway in Semple Stadium.
The CCC upgraded the yellow card Coghlan received against Antrim in the semi-final last month to a red card, which prompted the player to seek a hearing into the decision in Croke Park last night.
Tipperary county board secretary Tim Floyd accompanied Coghlan to last night’s Croke Park hearing, which lasted for over two hours.
Coghlan’s absence means Tipperary will be forced into at least one change when they select their starting XV today.
Captain Pádraic Maher could be asked to move from centre-back to full-back with Brendan Maher tipped to slot in at centre-back.
Galway boss Anthony Cunningham has named an unchanged team for tomorrow night’s game.
Corner-forward Richie Cummins has recovered from the ankle injury that forced him off at half-time of the semi-final win over Dublin to take his place in the team.
Bernard Burke, who came on and grabbed the crucial second goal against Dublin, has to be content with a place on the bench.
Kerry have made three changes for the All-Ireland U21B hurling decider against Meath tomorrow night.
James O’Connor replaces PJ Keane at left corner-back, Paul Geaney is introduced into the attack for Richard Nolan at left half-forward, while Padraig Boyle is named instead of Andy McCarthy at full-forward.
Meanwhile, Mick O’Dwyer has still to let Wicklow know his decision whether he intends staying on as manager for another year.
At a county board meeting a week ago last Monday, Wicklow acceded to his request for an extra 10 days to reflect on his future.
GALWAY U21: C Finnegan; D Connolly, P Gordon, G O’Halloran; S Óg Linnane, D Burke, N Donoghue; J Coen, B Daly; J Regan, N Quinn, E Forde; R Cummins, G Burke, G Kelly.
KERRY U21: JB O’Halloran; N Young, D O’Sullivan, J O’Connor; A Royle, B O’Leary, P Monson; R Kenny, D Fitzelle; D O’Connell, P Costelloe, P Geaney; S Nolan, P Boyle, J Flaherty.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved