Shields full-back as Cork unchanged

MICHAEL SHIELDS continues at full-back, with Ray Carey and Anthony Lynch holding down the corner-back positions as Cork announce the same starting side that defeated Armagh in their final group qualifying game for Sunday’s Allianz NFL Division Two final against Monaghan at Croke Park.

However, manager Conor Counihan and his selectors have made a number of positional switches. Noel O’Leary is st right half back with Graham Canty moving to centre-back and Ger Spillane now occupying the left half back berth.

Alan O’Connor and Nicholas Murphy continue their midfield partnership and the half forward line of Paul O’Flynn, Patrick Kelly and Paul Kerrigan remains in-tact. But up front James Masters is shifted to right corner forward, with Donnacha O’Connor at full-forward and Daniel Goulding lining out at top of the left. In the Armagh game Goulding started in the right corner, with Masters at full-forward and O’Connor on the left.

The selected side shows four changes from the team that lost to Monaghan in the preliminary rounds. Noel O’Donovan, Kieran O’Connor, Conor McCarthy and Fintan Goold are on the bench with Anthony Lynch, Graham Canty, Patrick Kelly and James Masters taking over. Although O’Donovan, Pearse O’Neill, Derek Kavanagh and John Miskella returned to club duty at the weekend after recovering from injury, the Cork selectors have decided to remain with a winning combination.

Derry manager Damian Cassidy will delay naming his panel to face Kerry in the NFL final on Sunday, until after training tomorrow night. Captain Fergal Doherty and Paddy Bradley are expected to return, although Patsy Bradley, Sean Marty Lockhart, Paul Bradley and Niall McCusker are all unavailable.

There are 11 changes to the Tipperary team to play Down in the Allianz NFL Division 3 final tomorrow evening from the team which played Longford in the last round of the league.

Goalkeeper Paul Fitzgerald returns, along with Conor Morrissey, Ciarán McDonald, Brian Fox and Christy Aylward in defence. George Hannigan and Brian Jones are at midfield and there are four changes to the attack with Sean Carey, Niall Fitzgerald, James Tierney and Barry Grogan making their return.

Sligo have made eight changes from the side that defeated Wicklow for tomorrow’s Allianz NFL Division 4 final against Antrim in Longford. Philip Greene, Noel McGuire, Michael McNamara, Jonathan Davey, Tony Taylor, Sean Davey, Adrian Marren and David Kelly return to the side with Jason Farrell, Patrick Naughton, Paul McGovern, Barry Kivlehan, Stephen Gilmartin, Eamon O’Hara, Keith Raymond and Stephen Coen losing out. Kenneth Sweeney is named at full forward although there are doubts about the Geevagh club man’s fitness.

Defender Damien Burke has been appointed captain of the Galway football team for the championship. The Corofin clubman said he is relishing the challenge as Galway bid to retain their Connacht football title.

“It is a huge honour. Captaining your county is the sort of stuff you dream about and I am really looking forward to it,” said the 25 year old.

Burke, who made his senior debut under John O’Mahony in 2004, was nominated by Corofin to skipper the side — in Galway, the county champions have the honour of selecting the captain.

“We are back training hard for the championship. We were disappointed not to make the league final but we know we have a lot to do. At this stage everything is geared towards the start of the championship,” said Burke, whose father Pat played with current boss Liam Sammon on the Galway team during the 1970s.

Galway will open their championship campaign when they take on London in Ruislip on May 24.

CORK (SF v Monaghan): A. Quirke; R. Carey, M. Shields, A. Lynch; N. O Leary, G. Canty, G. Spillane; A. O’ Connor, N. Murphy; P.O’ Flynn, P. Kelly, P. Kerrigan; J. Masters, D. O Connor, D. Goulding.

TIPPERARY (SF v Down): P. Fitzgerald; C. Morrissey, C. McDonald, A. Morrissey; B. Fox, H. Coghlan, C. Aylward; C. Hannigan, B. Jones; S. Carey, N. Fitzgerald, B. Mulvihill; J. Tierney, B. Coen, B. Grogan.

SLIGO (SF v Antrim): P. Greene; C. Harrison, N. McGuire, B. Donovan; M. McNamara, N. Ewing, J. Davey; E. Mullen, T. Taylor; S. Stenson, A. Costello, S. Davey; D. Kelly, R. Sweeney, A. Marren.


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