COLM Spillane makes a welcome return for the Cork senior hurlers at the Mardyke tomorrow night for the annual Canon O’Brien Cup match featuring Cork against UCC, 7pm.
The Castlelyons star was absent for all of last year’s campaign and it is almost two years since he wore the Cork jersey.
It also sees a first start of the year for Cork regulars including Anthony Nash, Eoin Cadogan, Seamus Harnedy, with captain for the year Patrick Horgan and Colm Barry among the subs.
It’s an important warm-up game for both with Cork playing Limerick next Sunday in the final of the Munster League and UCC about to embark on the Fitzgibbon Cup trail. There are 16 UCC players involved with the Cork training group under Kieran Kingston and it’s likely that all will feature here.
Cork held a two-day training camp in Fota over the weekend as they intensify preparations for the start of the National League which begins with an away game against Waterford on the last Sunday of the month.
The likes of Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston, Mark Coleman, Eoghan Murphy, UCC’s Fitzgibbon Cup captain and Robbie O’Flynn are all expected to feature with UCC, with Tommy O’Connell, Brian Turnbull and Jack O’Connor all starting for the Rebels..
UCC should also have Kerry star Shane Conway and Kilkenny’s Bill Sheehan in their ranks for a contest that is always popular with Cork fans.
Cork will face a strong challenge from Limerick next weekend in the Munster League final after John Kiely’s team proved too strong for Clare last Sunday.
Kiely was in experimental mode for that game although experienced hands like Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Darragh O’Donovan, and Tom Morrissey featured.
David Reidy was the scoring hero on the day, putting 1-12 on the board.
This competition has served both counties well in recent times, Limerick winning it in 2018 before going on to win the All-Ireland while Cork were victorious in 2017 in advance of their Munster championship win of that year. There is no admission fee for tonight’s game with patrons asked to contribute to the chosen charity, in this case St Columba’s Douglas GNS with a facility for deaf children.
Cork: A Nash; C Spillane, E Cadogan, S O’Donoghue; C O’Leary, B Cooper, D Cahalane; T O’Mahony, T O’Connell; C Lehane, L Meade, S Twomey; J O’Connor, S Harnedy, B Turnbull.