THE Cork team to face Tipperary in the Munster opener on Sunday at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4pm, will be backboned by last year’s key players.
While John Meyler and his selectors experimented during the league, the starting 15 will still have a familiar look to it. The most significant change to the team in the hunt for a Munster three in a row will be Tim O’Mahony at centre-back, after his extended audition in the spring.
Colm Spillane, an All-Star nominee in 2018, is ruled out through injury and will be a considerable loss and this could facilitate the switch of Eoin Cadogan from half-back to number three. In that scenario Damien Cahalane and Sean O’Donoghue would be the corner-backs.
Kanturk’s Darren Browne, who played there in a challenge against Dublin last week, is an alternative while Niall O’Leary from Castlelyons could come into the equation too. Conor O’Sullivan and former captain Stephen McDonnell are also in the squad.
Christopher Joyce and Mark Coleman are almost certain to be selected on the flanks outside O’Mahony, with Bill Cooper and Darragh Fitzgibbon nailed on at midfield.
Seamus Harnedy, Conor Lehane, Danny Kearney, Patrick Horgan and Alan Cadogan will be five of the starting six forwards with the remaining spot being contested by Shane Kingston, Luke Meade, Aidan Walsh and Robbie O’Flynn, who showed good form last week in another challenge game against Kerry for the players who didn’t feature against Dublin the previous night.
The team will not be announced until Friday at 9pm.