SUNDAY: Cork v Derry, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 2pm.
THE footballers will hope for better fortune, when it’s their turn to wear the specially commissioned black jerseys in honour of Tomás MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney.
The hurlers paid for a slow start against Limerick last week and manager Ronan McCarthy won’t need reminder of how his charges weren’t exactly bolt lightning out of the blocks either against Tipperary.
Cork’s management make five changes in personnel, handing Anthony Casey the number 1 jersey as part of the squad rotation policy and selecting Clonakilty’s Maurice Shanley at full-back for his first outing of 2020.
Club colleague, Liam O’Donovan, also starts in a re-shaped defence which has Sean Powter at centre-back and Tomás Clancy in the corner.
There are a couple of alterations up front, too, with Paul Kerrigan making the 15 for his seasonal start and Damien Gore in the other corner, sandwiched in between Luke Connolly, scorer of two crucial goals in Thurles.
On the bench, Michael Hurley has overcome the niggle which kept him out last week and there’s a first appearance of the season for Kevin O’Donovan.
Cork are in the ideal position, top of the pile with a maximum return from four games to lead by three points from a clutch of chasers with only two more outings to come after Sunday.
Irrespective of what happens elsewhere once Cork can defeat Derry and Louth, also at home on March 15, then they will make an immediate return to Division 2.
Derry are one of those in the group behind, having been promoted from Division 4 last season.
Manager Rory Gallagher, the former Donegal All-Ireland winner, however, had less lofty ambitions setting out.
“The first condition is to make sure you are not in a position to go down and we are in a strong position now from that point of view,” he said after last week’s home win over Louth.
In their first game Derry drew with Leitrim 2-11 to 1-14 and needed a couple of late points to salvage a result.
Shane McGuigan came off the bench to score 1-1 with Emmett Bradley claiming the other goal in a 1-2 haul.
Away to Down in their second game, Derry came up two points shy, going down by 0-14 to 0-12, McGuigan scoring 0-7, 0-4 frees.
But, they bounced back to inflict a 0-10 to 0-6 defeat on a Tipp side that was reduced to 12 players at one stage.
Gallagher is striving for a level of consistency from his side, which, again, blew hot and cold against Louth.
“We were 1-4 to 0-1 up, playing brilliantly and then we mixed the brilliant with the not so good. We showed a lack of consistency and a lack of composure, a lot of insecurities, after that.
“At half-time, we had played well enough to be winning by six or seven points and all of a sudden you’re a point down a few minutes into the second half.
“A bit of anxiety comes into it.
McGuigan is the biggest threat to Cork’s perfect record because if he receives any kind of regular supply he will score.
But the ace marksman acknowledged the extent of the challenge facing Derry after last week’s performance.
“We made too many mistakes, elementary handling errors, which allowed Louth go forward. We know we have sort out those errors to have any chance of beating Cork,” he said.
McCarthy wants his players to apply themselves from the get-go.
“I’ve said over the last two-and-a-half years that you don’t know how games are going to go, but you play with courage for 76 minutes or whatever,” said McCarthy.
CORK: 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); J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers); S White (Clon) B Hartnett (Douglas); P Kerrigan (Nemo Rangers), L Connolly (do), D Gore (Kilmacabea).
Subs: MA Martin (Nemo Rangers), S Ryan (St Finbarr’s), J Loughrey (Mallow), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), S Meehan (Kiskeam), P Walsh (Kanturk), E McSweeney (Knocknagree), C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), M Hurley (Castlehaven), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), M Collins (Castlehaven)