Rebels make sweeping changes for clash with Sligo

Manager Brian Cuthbert has made six changes for Cork’s crucial All-Ireland football qualifier with Sligo.

The beaten Munster finalists have responded to their double-scores defeat by Kerry with changes in defence, midfield and attack for the trip to Tullamore.

Brian O’Driscoll is drafted into the half-back line while his brother, Colm, starts at wing-forward. Ian Maguire comes in at midfield alongside Aidan Walsh.

Mark Collins starts at centre- forward, while former All Star Colm O’Neill and Donal Óg Hodnett are both set to start in corner-forward positions.

The sweeping changes were prompted by the double-digits setback at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and mean that a string of household names make way.

Dual player Damien Cahalane as well as 2010 All-Ireland final stars Paddy Kelly and Daniel Goulding have been left on the bench.

Fintan Goold, Barry O’Driscoll and John O’Rourke have also dropped out of the team for the Round 4A tie at O’Connor Park.

Opponents Sligo are not without their own difficulties and key attacker David Kelly has emerged as a major injury concern.

The corner-forward suffered a hamstring strain on Sunday in a team training session and Sligo manager Pat Flanagan has rated him as doubtful ahead of the midlands trip.

St Vincent’s star Brendan Egan is also a doubt, while Pat Hughes and full-back Johnny Martyn, who felt faint at training, are also battling to be fit for the encounter with the Rebels.

“David Kelly had a hamstring strain on Sunday and is a big concern,” said Flanagan.

“We are doing our best in a hope to get him right. But we won’t know until closer to the game if he’ll be okay.

“Brendan Egan is another guy who had a hamstring problem following on from the Limerick match. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he’ll be okay for the game.

“Pat Hughes has a bit of ankle trouble but he’s not doing too bad and Johnny Martin had a bit of a scare there on Friday.

“He had a bit of a problem and had to attend the hospital with it. He’s out of the hospital now so hopefully he’s okay.”

Wins against Wicklow and Limerick have lifted the mood in the Sligo camp since their Connacht championship exit to Galway. But Flanagan admits they face a massive step up against Cork this Saturday.

“It’ll be tough, Cork are a good side,” he continued. “But we are in a good position, we’re in the last 12 in the county.

“The whole thing is trying to be better again the next day, and trying to get to another level every game we play and see where it takes us. Hopefully we can be better the next day.”

CORK (SFC v Sligo): K O’Halloran; J Loughrey, E Cadogan, N Galvin; M Shields, T Clancy (Clonakilty), Brian O’Driscoll; I Maguire, A Walsh; P Kerrigan, M Collins, C O’Driscoll; C O’Neill, B Hurley, D Óg Hodnett.


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