Cork boss Kieran Kingston has revealed that Conor Lehane is on crutches after suffering a recurrence of the ankle ligament injury which threatened his participation in Sunday’s Munster SHC semi-final victory over Waterford.
Lehane played, and scored four points against Waterford, before going off injured in the 68th minute.
Kingston can’t see Lehane being fit enough to play for Midleton against Erin’s Own in the club championship next Sunday and admits that it’s a waiting game as the player is due to undergo an MRI scan later today.
Kingston said last night: “Conor’s on crutches and we won’t know for a couple of days, until the swelling goes down, how serious it is.
“Basically, he just re-did the old injury. There was always a risk coming into the game. He was on crutches a week before the match and to get on the field and do what he did, was unreal. His club are playing at the weekend and I couldn’t see him being right for that.
“A bit like the last time, we’ll give him every chance but with an injury like that, we’ll have to wait for the swelling to go down, and see if there’s any more damage. He’d be a big loss.”
Kingston has described the prospect of facing Clare on July 9 in Thurles as “the biggest challenge we’ve faced this year — and for the last number of years.”
Kingston said: “It’s early days and we didn’t think about Clare or anything like that, or a Munster final, for a second prior to Sunday’s game.
“Once the game was over, our thoughts turned to that, of course. I would think Clare are smiling playing Cork instead of Waterford.
“We’re coming up against a team with players who have All-Ireland U21 medals, and senior medals from 2013.
“They won the league last year and this is the biggest challenge we’ve faced this year and for the last number of years.”
Kingston also insisted that he has “no problem whatsoever” travelling to Thurles again. It had been thought that the provincial hurling and football deciders would take place at the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh but a missed deadline means that the new venue will be christened instead with All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals on July 23.
Kingston said: “We have no problem whatsoever with the game not being in Cork, because we’ve been to Thurles twice already this year for two big games in front of big crowds. Cork supporters like going to Thurles, and the team likes going to Thurles.”
Expectation levels are rising in Cork on the back of victories over Tipperary and Waterford but Kingston stressed: “It’s early days. We have nothing won. There’s still an awful lot to do still.”
But Kingston admits that putting back-to-back performances together, something that had proven problematic in previous seasons, provided huge satisfaction. He added: “We spoke about that as far back as January, right through the Munster League, as something that we were trying to eradicate, that inconsistency not just from game to game, but also within games. It’s something we’ve placed a huge amount of emphasis on.”
Kingston insisted Cork had not put a huge amount of thought into how Waterford might set up, sweeper or otherwise. He explained: “If you get over-focused on that, it takes away from what you’re trying to do. The most important thing was to get our house in order as best we could. We can’t control the opposition.”
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