Only one injury for Cork as they prepare for Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A final against Kilkenny, goalkeeper and captain Dónal Óg Cusack ruled out for the season.
A major blow, admits selector Seanie McGrath, but already they have had to move on.
“For Dónal Óg personally, it’s a huge disappointment but we can only try to take the positives from it and we’re still confident we have two good goalkeepers to take his place. It’s an opportunity for Anthony (Nash) and Martin (Coleman) to step forward but it’s also an opportunity for one of the more experienced guys to take on the mantle of responsibility.”
It’s not the end of Dónal Óg’s involvement either. “He’s still going to be an integral part of the camp, he’s got a huge contribution to make in the dressing room.”
As for everyone else, clean bill of health. “In the three weeks between the two Tipp games we had a few club games and you’re always worried about fellas picking up injuries — we saw what happened to Richie Power in Kilkenny during the week. Thankfully, between all the club games, the training, the Tipp game the last day, everyone bar Dónal Óg Cusack has come through fine. Niall McCarthy and Luke O’Farrell were struggling with a few injuries, the same with a few others but they’ve all come through unscathed.”
Exam-tied teenagers Darren Sweetnam and Conor Lehane will also come into the mix. “Darren has probably the bigger exams with the Leaving Cert, he’ll be finished nine or 10 days before the championship, but that’s for later down the line. They’ll both be considered though.”
In other injury news, along with Richie Power, Kilkenny will still be without Henry Shefflin while Richie Hogan eased himself back into the picture with a club game last week. In Clare, manager Davy Fitzgerald reports the news on their young star forward Darach Honan is not good. “Darach and Paddy Vaughan are still working their way back while Diarmuid McMahon is very close to being match fit. I’d like to see Darach back playing a bit. It will probably be July I’d say — if we are still in Championship — before we’d have him. He had the two hips done (operated on).”
On referees, however, and after his outburst following Clare’s loss to Kilkenny in the league semi-final, Davy felt he has said enough. “I made the comments, that’s it, it’s over and I have no notion of talking about them again. I said something on my mind, I told the truth as I saw it.”
* The 13th annual All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge takes place from Thursday, September 13 to Saturday, September 15. The competition, at Waterford Castle GC, is in aid of the Waterford Hospice and the Alzheimer’s Society. Places are limited, further information is at www.gaagolf.com.
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