PATRICK HORGAN will lead out what is expected to be a strong Cork team for the opening game of the league against Waterford at Walsh Park on Sunday.
The new Cork captain, alongside the new management team, will be anxious to get off to a positive start and that might ensure that the emphasis is going to be on experience rather than being too experimental.
The expectation is that older hands like Anthony Nash, Damien Cahalane, Bill Cooper, Seamus Harnedy, Aidan Walsh, Conor Lehane, and Horgan will lead the way when the line-up is announced on Friday night.
Colm Spillane’s return to the defence during the Munster League, after a year’s absence, was a huge boost, but going on Kieran Kingston’s comment during the week, when he stated that he was not quite there yet, suggests he might be held in reserve for this assignment.
Younger players like Sean O’Donoghue, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Shane Kingston, on fire for UCC last weekend, will either start or feature off the bench.
Kingston and his management team experimented to a large degree during the pre-season Munster League which ended with a heavy defeat to Limerick.
Players like Chris O’Leary, Sean O’Leary-Hayes, Sean Twomey, and Brian Turnbull all made appearances at various stages and it seems certain Valley Rovers man O’Leary will be at five or seven to utlise his aerial ability.
He did well in the pre-season competition, along with Courceys’ Twomey, a powerhouse wing-forward.
The positioning of Copper will be interesting too. He lined out at centre-back in the Munster League but will he revert back to his more natural berth at midfield?
He could play six, with Tim O’Mahony in midfield, where he came on against Kilkenny last summer.
His versatility provides the selectors with options, but a decision must be made on what role is best suited for him.
Cork face a difficult campaign over the next few weeks, just two games at home and three away.
A win in Walsh Park would set it all up very nicely for the arrival of the All-Ireland champions from the Premier County next weekend.
Cork’s record in the secondary competition has not been illuminating in recent times and it’s all of 22 years since they were last victorious in it.