THE business end of the season is now fast approaching and a question that is often posed at this time surrounds the number of new players that might have put themselves in the frame for the inter-county team.
People will have different viewpoints on different players who might enter the equation, some believing that they have something to offer to Cork, others not.
Firstly, it has to be said that it’s unlikely that there will be wholesale changes to the starting 15 for the opening round of the Munster championship next May.
That’s not saying that the status quo will prevail but the bulk of this year’s championship team are still going to be the best choices when the new management team will make the final call.
That’s simply the way it is and will be.
However, you’d expect the door will be opened to a good few of the younger brigade during the national league, in particula,r those who were involved with the U20 team that lost out twice to Tipperary this season.
Those losses were fairly devastating to say the least as was the All-Ireland final defeat to Tipp again 12 months previous.
But we’ll introduce the old adage here of what does not kill you makes you stronger and hope that will apply to those young players going forward.
It must be said too that the gap between U20 and playing in an All-Ireland semi or senior final is considerable, the intensity levels are so fierce.
But, at the same time and despite those two crushing defeats to Tipp this year there is a lot of very good talent around and you would expect to see the likes of Conor O’Callaghan, Sean O’Leary-Hayes, obviously Rob Downey who excelled for the Glen last Saturday night against Newtown, Ger Millerick, Tommy O’Connell, Brian Turnbull and Daire Connery to enter the senior equation in 2020 under a management team that is 99.999% certain to be led by Kieran Kingston.
Some of them are already involved and others have been on an extended squad during John Meyler’s tenure Some of those aforementioned players must be looked at during the national league and if one or two graduate to the championship squad all the better.
It is certainly a nothing ventured, nothing gained situation with those players.
Deccie Dalton figured for the seniors this year and got exposed to life as an inter-county senior hurler.
He will be a year older, wiser and stronger next season and his impressive showings for Imokilly has to put them very much in the frame to be a serious starting contender in 2020.
A similar situation applies to Robbie O’Flynn and Jack O’Connor and you would expect Tim O’Mahony to feature more prominently as well.
And on O’Mahony, a decision has to be made on what is his best position, is he a defender, a midfielder or a forward?
The new management team must hope too that Colm Spillane returns to full health from his injury woe of this season and, let’s be honest, he was a massive loss this year.
You would expect the last four teams in the club championship to have a few players who might be considered for a role, be it in the Munster League or whatever.
The Barrs’ Billy Hennessy immediately springs to mind and Eoghan Finn too. In Carrigtwohill’s great win over Ballyhea, Sean Rohan caught the eye. Liam Gosnell is a good, young hurler and maybe one for future reference.
At this stage in the season all we are doing here is throwing out names that might, just might have something to offer, if not next season but the season or two thereafter.
Every inter-county panel every season needs a bit of freshening up.
And with a new management team coming on board there will be an extra bit of a buzz It’s absolutely imperative now that the new management teams across the three grades are immediately put in place for the obvious reason that they can have a good, hard look at the concluding stages of the championships across all levels.
It’s the business end of all the campaigns now and it’s time that we got down to the business of casting the eye over the few players that they might have in mind.