WITH ace forward Eoin Kelly passed fit following a back injury, Tipperary have named nine of the side that started against Kilkenny in last season’s All-Ireland final for tomorrow night’s opening Allianz NHL game against the champions under lights at Semple Stadium, Thurles.
Although Thomas Stapleton, Pa Bourke, Lar Corbett and James Woodlock were not available because of injuries, manager Liam Sheedy has resisted the temptation to blood new players and the selected side have all previous experience of league hurling.
Meanwhile, Duhallow’s young star Lorcan McLoughlin makes his Allianz NHL debut for Cork when they take on Offaly at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday. Kanturk’s MacLoughlin, a member of the divisional side that won last season’s Cork U-21 county championship and who also captured an All-Ireland IHC medal, has been named at right half forward. Another debutante, Mark O’Sullivan from Dripsey, starts at centre-forward.
Donal Óg Cusack is in goal, while David Cunningham of Glen Rovers starts at full-back, flanked by Shane O’Neill and Shane Murphy. Bride Rovers’ Brian Murphy comes in at right half back, with the experienced duo of Ronan Curran and Sean Óg O hAilpín completing the half back line.
John Gardiner and Tom Kenny strike up a new midfield partnership. Regular centre-forward Niall McCarthy is now on the left flank of attack with team captain Kieran Murphy of Sarsfields, Aisake O hAilpín and Patrick Horgan forming a new-look full forward line.
Ballyduff Upper clubman Stephen Molumphy, who only returned from a six month tour of duty in Chad with the Irish Army last week, has been named at left full forward on the Waterford team to play Anthony Daly’s Dublin at Walsh Park on Sunday.
It will be a first start in the county team for Molumphy since last year’s All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny and manager Davy Fitzgerald has also given the captaincy to him.
However, with half a dozen of the most experienced members of the panel not being considered while they continue with their own individual fitness regimes, and with Eoin Kelly and Eoin McGrath out through suspension, Fitzgerald has given league debuts to defenders Jerome Meagher and Liam Lawlor, along wing forwards Maurice Shanahan and Tommy Connors whose brother Noel is also named at left full-back. UCC student Richie Foley is named alongside Dungarvan’s Jamie Nagle in a new midfield pairing and the most experienced sector is the full forward line in which Gary Hurney is named at number 14 flanked by the returning Molumphy and a bang in form Shane Walsh.
Clare introduce six members of last season’s All-Ireland winning U-21 side for their opening game in Division two against Down ar Cusack Park, Ennis on Sunday.
Cian Dillon starts at full-back, with Donal O’Donovan taking over the right half back position. Nicky O’Connell is named at midfield with Sean Collins at right half forward, John Conlon on the forty and Darach Honan at top of the right.
The Wexford team to play Westmeath in their opening game shows two new faces – Eoin Doyle and Darren Nolan playing at corner-back and wing-forward respectively. Doyle, from the Shelmaliers club, who is making his debut, is a student in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, while the Oulart-the-Ballagh clubman, Darren Nolan is also making his debut on the Allianz scene.
Dermot Flynn takes over in goal from the recently-retired Damien Fitzhenry and Keith Rossiter and Colm Farrell are both back in the fold following long term injury lay offs in 2009.
CORK (SH v Offaly): D. Óg Cusack; S. O’Neill, D. Cunningham, S. Murphy; B. Murphy, R. Curran, S. Óg O h-Ailpin; J. Gardiner, T. Kenny; L. McLoughlin, M. O’Sullivan, N. McCarthy; K. Murphy, A. O h-Ailpin, P. Horgan.
TIPPERARY (SH v Kilkenny): B. Cummins; C. O’Brien, P. Curran, B. Maher; D. Fanning, P. Maher, S. Maher; B. Dunne, S. McGrath; S. Hennessy, S. Callanan, H. Moloney; E. Kelly, M. Webster, N. McGrath.
WATERFORD (SH v Dublin); C. Hennessy; J. Meagher. L. Lawlor. N. Connors; D. Prendergast. M. Walsh. J. Murray; J. Nagle. R. Foley; M. Shanahan. K. Moran. T. Connors; S. Walsh. G. Hurney. S. Molumphy.
CLARE (SH v Down: P. Brennan, P. Vaughan, C. Dillon, B. Bugler, D. O’Donovan, B. O’Connell (capt.), P. Donnellan; J. Clancy, N. O’Connell; S. Collins, J. Conlon, F. Lynch; D. Honan, M. Flaherty, M. Ogie Murphy.
WEXFORD: (SH v Westmeath): D Flynn; E Doyle, P Roche, K Rossiter; D Stamp, C Kenny, R Kehoe; W Doran, C Farrell; D Lyng, PJ Nolan, D Nolan; R Jacob, S Banville, P Atkinson.
WEXFORD (Leinster U21 FC v Louth: M. Roche; J. Breen, C. Lane, M. Furlong; A. O’Brien, PJ Carroll, P. Kelly, Capt; A. Shore, J, Leacy; C. Carty, M. O’Regan; R Dunne; K. O’Grady, S. Gaule, J. O’Grady.
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