Cork hurlers pick U20 graduate in key defensive role with new positions for Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon

Cork hurlers pick U20 graduate in key defensive role with new positions for Mark Coleman and Darragh Fitzgibbon
Darragh Fitzgibbon is usually up front for Charleville. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

GLEN ROVERS youngster Rob Downey has been named at full-back on the Cork team that travels to Walsh Park on Sunday for the opening game of the league against Waterford.

Downey excelled for the Glen in 2019, having made his Rebel debut during the summer. The 20-year-old is best known as a wing-back and impressed up front when he was a minor, but did spend time minding the square for his club last season and more recently with UCC in the Fitzgibbon Cup.

Glen Rovers' Robert Downey wins the ball from Na Piarsaigh's David Burke last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Glen Rovers' Robert Downey wins the ball from Na Piarsaigh's David Burke last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

There is a starting place too for Valley Rovers’ Chris O’Leary who impressed at right wing-back during the recent Munster League and starred for the College in last year’s Fitzgibbon Cup success.

Bill Cooper reverts to his role at midfield after figuring at centre-back in the pre-season competition. That berth will now be filled by Tim O’Mahony with O’Leary and Damien Cahalane flanking him.

Mark Coleman partners Cooper at midfield while an experienced attacking sextet has been named.

UCC have used Mark Coleman in midfield. Picture: Denis Minihane.
UCC have used Mark Coleman in midfield. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Of course, Cooper and O’Mahony could end up switching before the sliotar is thrown in on Sunday.

Seamus Harnedy will be at right half-forward, Darragh Fitzgibbon on the 65 and Aidan Walsh on the left. Coleman has the passing and movement to thrive at midfield while Fitzgibbon generally hurls in the forwards for Charleville and UCC.

Current UCC manager Tom Kingston is a brother of Kieran's.

Conor Lehane is named at right full-forward, Shane Kingston, fresh for hitting 0-7 from play in the Fitzgibbon Cup against UCC, will be on the edge of the square with new team captain Patrick Horgan on the left.

Colm Spillane is on the subs bench, his first competitive involvement in over a year while young guns Sean O’Leary-Hayes, Sean Twomey, and Brian Turnbull are also included among the substitutes.

Alan Cadogan, also recovering from injury, is also in the squad.

Christopher Joyce and Mark Ellis are still recovering from injury and were not considered for this assignment while Declan Dalton and Ger Millerick were not considered either because of the exertions with Fr O’Neill’s in recent times.

Daniel Kearney has stepped away from the Cork squad this year because of work commitments, having been a vital cog in midfield or wing-forward since 2012.

CORK (v Waterford): A Nash; N O’Leary, R Downey, S O’Donoghue; C O’Leary, T O’Mahony, D Cahalane; B Cooper, M Coleman; S Harnedy, D Fitzgibbon, A Walsh; C Lehane, S Kingston, P Horgan (c).

Subs: P Collins, S O’Leary-Hayes, C Spillane, D Lowney, L Meade, R O’Flynn, S Twomey, A Cadogan, M O’Halloran, B Turnbull, B Hennessy.

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