Cork football panel back training with these key players still on club duty

Cork football panel back training with these key players still on club duty

Colm O'Cllaghan, Éire Óg, and Mattie Taylor, Mallow, remain on club duty as the Cork footballers return training. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

ONLY about one-third of the last Cork football team to play a match, the 3-13 to 3-11 Division 3 league win over Derry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh back in March, have finished with their clubs in the county championships.

Another third are still involved, three more players are injured while the five substitutes who came on that afternoon, when Cork wore the commemorative black jerseys, are also in action with their clubs.

Currently, keeper Anthony Casey (Kiskeam), Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty), Sean Powter and Brian Hartnett (Douglas), Killian O'Hanlon (Kilshannig) and John O'Rourke (Carbery Rangers) are not club-tied and available for Cork training.

Clon wing-back Liam O'Donovan is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury while club colleague Sean White missed the defeat by St Finbarr's in the county championship.

Fermoy's Tomás Clancy was injured on his return with his club recently, having been sidelined with an ankle injury until then.

Defenders Paul Ring (Aghabullogue) and Mattie Taylor (Mallow), midfielder Ian Maguire (St Finbarr's) and forwards Paul Kerrigan and Luke Connolly from Nemo Rangers and Kilmacabea's Damien Gore are heavily involved in the club championships.

And it's the same situation regarding the replacements on who came on against Derry, a game which left Cork needing just one point from their remaining games at home to Louth and away to Longford to earn promotion back to division 2.

James Loughrey (Mallow), Kevin O'Donovan (Nemo Rangers), Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree), Michael Hurley (Castlehaven) and Cathail O'Mahony (Mitchelstown) all have pressing club matters on their minds for the moment.

And even some of the unused substitutes that afternoon are in the same position, players like Kanturk's Paul Walsh, who is operating on three fronts, football and hurling with his club, and Duhallow in premier senior, and Colm O'Callaghan from Eire Og, who are also doubly involved.

Keeper Micheal Aodh Martin, the Nemo Rangers skipper, and St Finbarr's defender, Sam Ryan, also have important games looming on the horizon.

The delay in playing two games in the premier senior championship, Nemo Rangers-Ballincollig and St Finbarr's-Newcestown, because of Covid-19 hasn't helped the Cork situation either.

As the fixture schedule stands at the minute, the top-tier county final is pencilled in for the weekend of October 10-11, a mere week before Cork return for the first time in over seven months.

A Nemo-Haven final, which is what the bookies are expecting, would have a minimum of seven players expected to be involved with Cork.

And that's not factoring in other competitions featuring county players which means a waiting game for the moment by those concerned, the players themselves, Cork management and county board planners.

It's literally game by game and week by week at this stage and there's a strong possibility that some of the lower grade county finals may have to be delayed to accommodate Cork, depending on what clubs are involved and no one is sure of anything just yet.

What is definite is Cork's Munster semi-final against Kerry on Sunday, November 8 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh with a 4pm throw-in, depending, of course, on sport being allowed operate in the pandemic.

It places even more importance on the outstanding league games in assessing player form and fitness levels.

The Louth game is expected to be fixed for Saturday, October 17 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh before Cork complete the longest league season by travelling to Longford the following Saturday.

The Munster championship starts on October 31 with Waterford hosting Limerick in Dungarvan.

The following day Tipperary meet Clare in Thurles with the semi-final on November 7.

The Munster final is planned for Sunday, November 22 at 1.30.

The last Cork football team was: 

A Casey (Kiskeam); T Clancy (Fermoy), M Shanley (Clonakilty), P Ring (Aghabullogue); L O'Donovan (Clonakilty), S Powter (Douglas), M Taylor (Mallow); I Maguire (St Finbarr's), captain, K O'Hanlon (Kilshannig); S White (Clonakilty), J O'Rourke (Carbery Rangers), B Hartnett (Douglas); P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers), L Connolly (do), D Gore (Kilmacabea). 

Subs: C O'Mahony (Mitchelstown) for Connolly injured 25, K O'Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for O'Donovan 36, E McSweeney (Knocknagree) for Hartnett 45, M Hurley (Castlehaven) for Kerrigan 62, J Loughrey (Mallow) for Powter 64.

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