DOUGLAS hurling manager Fearghal Hayes is hoping that three of the team’s most influential players will be passed fit for tonight’s big showdown with Sarsfields in the third-round of the Cork SHC at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Mark Harrington, Nathan Walsh and star forward Alan Cadogan are all considered doubtful with various injury concerns but Hayes remains optimistic.
“Look, it will be a late decision on those lads but, hopefully, they will be okay,” Hayes told The Echo.
“We are looking forward to the game, of course, and we have prepared as well as we could.
“You really are involved in two different championships now in the one year, the one that starts in April and the other one now in September.
“You play in April then you go into a period in the wilderness before you start up again. We have managed to get in a few very useful challenge games recently against Thurles Sars, Lismore and Mullinahone but this will be the biggest test.
“Sars are a team who have been very successful and some of their players are very experienced. We fully realise that this will be a game where we will have to be at our very best but I think that we are ready to give it a right go.”
Meanwhile, Imokilly are bracing themselves for a massive examination of their credentials as county champions when they renew acquaintances with Midleton in the third-round tomorrow night at Carrigtwohill.
That’s according to team selector Sean Harnedy, father of team captain Seamie.
“Look, we know what to expect. They’ll be highly motivated to make up for the final loss last season and they have the players to beat any team in this county.
“They have played championship hurling more recently than we have against Ballymartle and they were short quite a few players that day. We are expecting all of them to be back tomorrow night and there’s no point in saying otherwise, this is a 50:50 game no matter what way you look at.”
Imokilly will have at least five changes from the side that triumphed in last season’s final.
“We are definitely down five, five big players for us but we have a good squad and we will look to them now.”
Fr O’Neill’s duo, Ger Millerick and Deccie Dalton are expected to come into the defence and attack respectively with Shane O’Regan, Brian Mulcahy, Joe Stack, Kieran Histon and Barra O’Tuama also strongly in contention.