TWO of the country’s brightest young hurling talents are set to put their senior intercounty championship debuts on hold due to their Leaving Cert commitments this summer.
Cork attacker Conor Lehane and Limerick defender Declan Hannon have both linked up with their respective county squads over the past couple of months to gain senior experience yet neither will feature in the early stages of the Munster senior championship and will instead focus on their studies.
The Leaving Cert commences this year on Wednesday June 8th with the Cork seniors facing Tipperary on May 29th in the quarter-final while the Limerick seniors play Waterford in the semi-final on June 12th. Lehane and Hannon both played for their county U21 teams last summer despite still being eligible for the minor grade, yet neither county is in action until the Munster U21HC until July.
Midleton CBS student Lehane starred for Cork in the pre-season Waterford Crystal Cup competition this year and registered 0-7 in their final defeat against Waterford. He has not featured for Denis Walsh’s side in the league campaign with a knee injury preventing him from lining out against Galway earlier this month.
“Conor has been carrying an injury over the last few weeks”, revealed Cork boss Denis Walsh. “He was picked to play in our league match against Galway where we’d hoped to have a look at him but he’d been advised by the medical people not to play after getting a knock to his knee. He needs to give it three or four weeks and by the time that injury comes right, he’ll have the exams coming up. Realistically for the first round of the championship, he won’t be playing as that’s very close to his exams.”
Hannon has been to the fore in Árd Scoil Rís’ progression to Saturday week’s All-Ireland Colleges decider against St Kieran’s and picked up his second Dr Harty Cup medal last month. He was listed as a substitute in Limerick’s opening Division 2 tie against Clare in Ennis but was not introduced.
“He’s doing his Leaving Cert and is also playing with Árd Scoil Rís, so we’re not considering him at the moment”, stated Limerick manager Donal O‘Grady. “The Leaving Cert is his priority right now. He will be focused on getting the points he wants for university and Árd Scoil Rís are going very well in the All-Ireland colleges competition. He does come in with us the very odd time but we don’t want to put any pressure on him to come into the senior panel. We’ll have a look at things then in the summer and he’ll probably play for the Limerick U21’s then. That’s my policy with Declan.”
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