OUTSTANDING club form has earned John Halbert his call up papers to the Cork senior hurling squad for this year’s championship.
The Watergrasshill youngster has been scoring freely with both his club and UCC in this year’s county intermediate and senior hurling championships and deserves his chance.
A member of this year’s county under 21 side, Halbert replaces his county colleague Paidí O’Sullivan who faces a knee operation. O’Sullivan, a student at Midleton CBS, will have his operation once he completes his leaving certificate exams next month.
He will be out of action for the rest of the season.
Other changes on the Cork squad see Jason Barrett get a recall for the first time since 2004, and Shane Murphy, who has been showing excellent form with county champions Erins Own, being drafted in for the first time. Apart from the unfortunate Cloyne youngster, Jonathan O’Callaghan and Pat Fitzgerald are the other players to lose out.
In all there are six changes from last year’s panel which sees Brian Corcoran, Wayne Sherlock, team captain Pat Mulcahy, Killian Cronin, Conor Cusack and Ciaran McGann depart the scene.
Diarmuid O’Sullivan continues to make progress on his injured eye. The Cork full back received an accidental elbow to the eye during Cloyne’s SHC game against Douglas, and there were fears he could miss the Clare match.
However, according to team mentor Martin Bowen, O’Sullivan is due to see the eye specialist this afternoon and is expected to get the all clear to resume training.
The complete new panel is:
Goalkeepers: Donal Óg Cusack (Cloyne), Anthony Nash (Kanturk), Martin Coleman (Ballinhassig)
Defenders: Brian Murphy (Bride Rovers), Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Cloyne), Cian O’Connor (Erin’s Own), Shane Murphy (do), Shane O’Neill (Bishopstown); John Gardiner (Na Piarsaigh), Ronan Curran (St Finbarr’s), Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (Na Piarsaigh), Kevin Hartnett (Russell Rovers), Peter Kelly (Erin’s Own), Graham Callinan (Glen Rovers)
Midfielders: Tom Kenny (Grenagh), Jerry O’Connor (Newtown), Kieran Murphy (Erin’s Own), Jason Barrett (Carrigtwohill).
Forwards: Niall McCarthy (do), Pa Cronin (Bishopstown), Timmy McCarthy (Castlelyons), Kevin Canty (Valley Rovers), Cathal Naughton (Newtown); Ben O’Connor (do), Neil Ronan (Ballyhea), Joe Deane (Killeagh), Kieran Murphy (Sars), John Halbert (Watergrasshill), Eoghan Murphy (Erin’s Own).
Cork will open the defence of their Munster title against Clare on Sunday, May 27 next in Thurles. Throw in is at 2 pm.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved