Cork’s side for tonight’s Munster U21HC semi-final against Waterford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (7.30pm) will feature five players who have played in this year’s provincial senior championship while none of the Déise side saw action.
Captain Shane Kingston, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Tim O’Mahony, and Robbie O’Flynn all had senior game-time but, while Peter Hogan, Darragh Lyons and the now-injured Conor Prunty were on Derek McGrath’s Waterford panel, none played.
However, Cork coach Denis Ring feels that, while his team are strong favourites, that precise fact could help the visitors in that they will have had more time to work together and gel as a team.
“We’ve seen a lot of Waterford,” he says, “they played tournament games against Kilkenny in Graigue-Ballycallan and against Tipperary in Clonmel and they were very impressive. They beat Tipp by 1-24 to 2-18 and I think Tipp were only missing two players.
“They beat Limerick and Dublin as well, so their form is very good and they probably possess a little bit more cohesion than us.
“I work down here [Ring is principal of Blackwater CS in Lismore] so I’d know better than most, and I’ll probably be coming up against a few past pupils.”
For Ring, the lack of collective preparation is the big variable for his side, but he feels that there is a strong base built among the squad.
“Until you go out and play, you just don’t know,” he says.
“As well, it’s a group that’s particularly committed, there’s a great bond there since their minor days and that’s been built up over time, it’s not as if we’re trying to get a team together from scratch.” The game had originally been set for Páirc Uí Rinn – where Cork would have done much of their training – but has been moved to the newer stadium. Does that remove any home advantage?
“You could look at it like that,” Ring said, “but it’s the county ground and it’s a great opportunity for these players to play there. I’m sure you could say that for Waterford too but it’s a fantastic stadium and it’s there to be used. From the county board’s perspective, it’s there to be used and it’s a comfortable place to watch a game so there are benefits for everyone.”
CORK (U21HC v Waterford):
G Collins (Ballinhassig); D Lowney (Clonakilty), D Griffin (Carrigaline), N O’Leary (Castlelyons); E Murphy (Sarsfields), M Coleman (Blarney), B Hennessy (St Finbarr’s); C O’Leary (Valley Rovers), D Fitzgibbon (Charleville); R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own), D Dalton (Fr O’Neills), S Kingston (Douglas); L Healy (Sarsfields), T O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), J O’Connor (Sarsfields). Subs: Shane Hurley (St Finbarr’s), S Smyth (Midleton), J Cashman (Blackrock), E Roche (Bride Rovers), D Connery (Na Piarsaigh), C Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), M O’Halloran (Blackrock), A Myers (Sarsfields), S Condon (Harbour Rovers).
WATERFORD (U21HC v Cork):
B Nolan (Roanmore); J Curran (Dungarvan), M Daykin (Mount Sion) D Lynch (Passage); C Lyons (Ballyduf Lower), J Henley (Tallow), G Cullinane (Passage); A Casey (Ballyduff Upper), M Mahony (Ballygunner); E Meaney (De La Salle), P Hogan (Ballygunner), J Kennedy (Mount Sion); JP Lucey (Shamrocks), D Lyons (Dungarvan), N Montgomery (Abbeyside).
LIMERICK (U21HC v Tipperary):
J Power (Monaleen); B Timmons (Murroe-Boher), J Adams (Ballybrown), J Flynn (Patrickswell); W O’Meara (Askeaton), K Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh); P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock), M Mackey (Adare); B Ryan (South Liberties), B Murphy (Doon), C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh); P Casey (Na Piarsaigh), S Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon), M O’Dwyer (Monaleen).
TIPPERARY (U21HC v Limerick):
C Barrett (Clonmel Óg); P Campion (Drom & Inch), B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), K O’Dwyer (Killenaule); C Flanagan (Newport), P Cadell (JK Brackens), D Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore); G Browne (Knockvailla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), C English (Fr Sheehy’s); J Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs), P Feehan (Killenaule), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash); D Gleeson (Ballinahinch), J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg), L Fairbrother (JK Brackens).
DUBLIN (U21HC v Wexford):
D Perry (St Vincent’s); S Howard (Fingallians), P Smyth (Clontarf), D Ryan (St Brigid’s); E Conroy (St Maur’s), C Burke (St Vincent’s), D Gray (Whitehall Colmcilles); F Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes), C Ryan (Craobh Chiaráin); C Dowling (Lucan Sarsfields), P Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields), R Hayes (Kilmacud Crokes); C O’Sullivan (St Brigid’s), D Burke (Na Fianna), C Currie (Na Fianna).
GALWAY (U21HC v Kilkenny):
E Murphy (Tommy Larkins); I O’Shea (Athenry), F Burke (St Thomas’s), S Bannon (Clarinbridge); J Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly), M Hughes (Liam Mellows), S Loftus (Turloughmore); T Monaghan (Craughwell), J Grealish (Gort); S Bleahan (Ahacragh-Fohenagh), B Concannon (Killimordaly), C Fahy (Ardrahan); E Niland (Clarinbridge), J Canning (Portumna), K Cooney (Sarsfields).
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