SEÁN ÓG Ó hAILPÍN has ruled himself out of Saturday night’s replay of the Munster SHC final with Waterford, with his hamstring injury requiring “two to three weeks” to heal.
Ó hAilpín picked up the injury after half-time last Sunday and was replaced by Sarsfields’ Ray Ryan.
“I got a ball off Cathal Naughton and was coming out of a tackle and when I took a stride, I felt my hamstring going,” said Ó hAilpín. “I tried to run on it for a minute or two afterwards, I could half-jog but couldn’t sprint. The best thing there is to come off. You’re no good to the team.”
Ó hAilpín missed league games this spring with a hamstring problem but this is a different problem.
“It’s down the bottom of the muscle towards the knee. The best case scenario is that it will be two to three weeks out anyway, so that means there’s no chance of me playing in the replay next Saturday evening.
“As a player, you never like missing big games through injury. But I won’t be sitting back this week, crying and feeling sorry for myself. I’ll be down at training, geeing up the lads who will be playing. Injured players don’t travel with the team so I’ll be sitting in the stand next Saturday.”
Ó hAilpín told website Joe.ie that Cork’s easy win over Limerick “wasn’t ideal preparation for a Munster final”.
“The game against Waterford will bring on our lads a ton,” he added.
“Looking back at Sunday’s game, we felt we lost it, we won it and we lost it again in the end. That’s how it feels. You’re three points ahead with seconds to go, and the game looks over, so a draw will always feel like a defeat.
“From my angle on the sideline I found it baffling how that free at the end could be given. I think John Mullane said that one of our lads played the hurley but I don’t think the Waterford player could have got to the ball in any case.
“However, a lot of people were saying that Ben O’Connor’s free in the first half was wide so maybe that was karma at the end. What goes around comes around. Whatever, the lads will put it behind them and prepare for next weekend.”
Ó hAilpín expects Cork to be better on Saturday.
“I’ve no doubt you’ll see a different Cork side next Saturday. You certainly won’t see a repeat of the first half performance, when we just let Waterford do whatever they wanted.
“They dictated the play. Denis was reading out a few stats at half-time. Puck-outs won, breaking ball won. They slaughtered us — everywhere.
“The game will bring Waterford on a lot too but we’re just focusing on ourselves, on the things we can do better. And there’s a lot we can do better.”
Waterford have better news of injuries, with selector Padraig Fanning saying that midfielder Richie Foley was the only significant worry. However, Fanning said Foley is not in danger of missing Saturday night’s game.
“We have a few knocks,” said Fanning. “A few lads have dead legs and so on, what you’d expect after a hard championship match, but we think we’re okay, hopefully nothing’s flared up since last Sunday evening.
“Richie Foley had a cut finger and that had to be stitched up, he’s probably the only real concern. He took that injury into the game and it had to be fixed when it opened up again, but we’d be hoping the six days will help him recover for the replay.”
Fanning said he and the other members of the Waterford management will focus on the tactical approach to the replay rather than physical training in the six days available to them.
“I’d say Cork are treating this week the same as us,” said Fanning.
“Rather than any heavy training or anything, it’s a question of looking at what happened the last day, what worked and what didn’t, and to assess things generally. We’ll talk through tactics and the game plan again and see what we’ll do all over again.”
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