CORK footballers must plan their championship campaign without defender Kevin Crowley, whose injury curse has struck again.
The 25-year-old Millstreet defender is sidelined for three months, having been a mainstay of the half-back line during Cork’s ill-fated Division 2 series of games.
“Kevin had a shoulder operation last Thursday,” said manager Ronan McCarthy at the launch of the Munster championship season at the Gold Coast Resort in Dungarvan.
“He injured it the first day against Limerick in the McGrath Cup. Kevin got rehab and came back, finishing the league very strongly.
“He, then, injured it again playing for Millstreet in a game coming up to the championship, so it had to be done.
“It’s a 12-week injury, so his season is effectively over,” McCarthy added.
Another wing-back, Paul Walsh, is also set to miss Cork’s opening game against either Tipperary or Limerick at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday, June 1.
“Paul has a broken bone in his hand and is hoping to have the cast off in four weeks, but will miss the first round game. He will get back later.”
Jim Loughry’s return from injury, having missed the last four games, offsets their absence.
Cork intend operating with the same panel of players who were on duty for the league, when the county slipped into division 3 for the first time.
We brought a lot of people in in November, December and January and we’re not looking to bring anybody else in at this stage.
“If we were to bring some in it would just for experience,” McCarthy explained.
Cork’s build-up began last week with a morale-boosting win over Galway in a high-scoring challenge game.
“We’ll have two more games in the coming weeks as well, but they’re not tied down yet.
“I’d prefer a championship game before the semi-final. It’s a case of the more games the better.
“Still, we have a good programme of games lined up and games won’t be an issue,” he added.