OVER seven months after their last game in Division 3 of the national football league, Cork resume hostilities against bottom side Louth at Páirc Uí Chaoimh tomorrow at 4pm.
The Rebels, who top the table with a maximum return from five games, last played in March against Derry at the same venue and only need to avoid defeat to win promotion.
While the concluding two rounds of games should be cleared by the following weekend, the big question is whether the championship can be completed in the allotted time.
At the time of lockdown Cork manager Ronan McCarthy wasn’t overly optimistic about a resumption this year though he’ll grab the games against Louth and Longford with both hands.
“I wouldn’t say I’m confident at all about the season finishing,” he said during the week.
“A lot of it is luck and I believe it’s close contacts which is the big issue really.
“To be fair to our guys from the point of view of training, they have stuck regimentally to the procedures, wearing masks in dressing rooms and all that kind of stuff.
“What you’d hope is that when there is a positive case that your close contacts are at a minimum and that’s all we can do from our end.
“Yet, that’s only where players are congregating, but they have to go to work, go to college.
“I wouldn’t say I’m confident, but I’d hope that by adhering to all the protocols we give ourselves the best chance,” he added.
Cork name their team later tonight and it’s expected to include Castlehaven pair, Mark Collins and Brian Hurley, for their first league appearances of the season.
Injuries ruled them out of the earlier games against Offaly, Leitrim, Down, Tipperary and Derry, but they were buzzing in helping the Haven reach the final of the Bon Secours county premier senior championship against the holders Nemo Rangers.
By my calculations, Cork have used 33 players to-date in their attempts to make a quick exit from Division 3, some 27 starters and another half-dozen from the bench.
A handful have been ever-present, captain Ian Maguire, Sean Powter, Mattie Taylor, Sean White and Brian Hartnett with the skipper the only player to line-out in the same position in all five games.
In defence, Powter and Taylor have worn numbers 2 and 7 four times apiece as well as 6 while White has led the attack on four occasions, too, with Hartnett at midfield and on both flanks of the half-forward line.
Powter is forced to sit out this game due to a hamstring niggle, which ends his streak while White was reported to be further along the road on his recovery from a similar injury, but whether the Clonakilty player is included or not remains to be seen.
The following are the players who started in the league and the number of times they wore that particular jersey.
Of course, numbers on jerseys mean very little these days, particularly with players assigned certain roles, like a man-marking task, for example.
The modern player is expected to defend and attack regardless of position.
No 1: MA Martin (Nemo Rangers) 4, A Casey (Kiskeam).
No 2: S Powter (Douglas) 4, T Clancy (Fermoy).
No 3: S Ryan (St Finbarr’s), T Clancy (Clonakilty) 2, J Loughrey (Mallow), M Shanley (Clonakilty).
No 4: P Ring (Aghabullogue) 3, S Ryan, K Crowley (Millstreet).
No 5: Crowley, T Corkery (Cill na Martra) 2, T Clancy (Fermoy), L O’Donovan (Clonakilty).
No 6: O’Donovan 2, Crowley, M Taylor (Mallow), Powter.
No 7: Taylor 4, C Kiely (Ballincollig).
No 8: I Maguire (St Finbarr’s) 5;
No 9: T Clancy (Clonakilty), Brian Hartnett (Douglas) 2, K O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) 2.
No 10: Hartnett, J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) 3, S White (Clonakilty).
No 11: White 4, O’Rourke.
No 12: R Deane (Bantry Blues) 3, Hartnett 2.
No 13: D Gore (Kilmacabea) 2, M Hurley (Castlehaven), Deane, P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers).
No 14: C Sheehan (Éire Óg) 3, L Connolly (Nemo Rangers) 2.
No 15: C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown) 4, Gore.
The following players were introduced as substitutes: Peter Murphy (Bandon), Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), Ryan Harkin (Mallow), Kevin O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaighs), Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree).