GREAT news for Cork hurling fans as Alan Cadogan makes his first start this Sunday for the Rebels since the relegation play-off against Waterford 12 months ago.
The crafty corner-forward missed the whole of last year’s championship with a knee problem, returning to action for Douglas in their defeat at the hands of St Finbarr’s in the Cork SHC.
The 25-year-old reminded us of his class against the Barrs but following his club’s elimination didn’t play for their footballers and spent the winter building up his strength.
Cadogan is selected at right corner-forward in the final regular season of the league at Páric Uí Rinn where a win over Tipp will send Cork into the quarter-finals.
Jack O’Connor was named at 13 for last Sunday’s original fixture — which was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch — but drops to the bench for the refixture.
While Cadogan came on in the win over Clare three weeks ago this will be his first proper test after his comeback was delayed because of a hand injury sustained at training. He had been named to start at the outset of the campaign but John Meyler and his selectors have sensibly taken their time with his return.
Along with the Sars’ flier O’Connor, the Cork bench against the Premier is loaded with talent, with Daniel Kearney, Seán O’Donoghue, Robbie O’Flynn, Mark Coleman, Shane Kingston and Luke Meade all in reserve.
Tipp spent the week warm-weather training which could impact on their efforts this Sunday, especially as the pitch will be wet and heavy after all the rainfall. Liam Sheedy’s side hasn’t made much of a mark since their opening day victory over Clare and clearly are more focused on the first round of the Munster championship against Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh than the league.
Kilkenny-Wexford, and Galway-Waterford in Division 1B, also take place this weekend to determine the league quarter-finals.
Limerick’s draw with Clare in Ennis guarantees them top spot and a trip to Laois for one of those ties.
It’s difficult to assess which teams are interested in actually winning the league this season. Last year Kilkenny beat Tipp in the final but neither county made it to the All-Ireland semi-finals after.
With the round-robin series in place for the provincial titles, no county will want to give away too much too early in the year.
There will be a relegation play-off for the bottom two in Division 1A but next year’s league will be revamped to create two equal sections. Offaly and Carlow meet to determine who drops down a level in 2020.
CORK (v Tipp): A Nash; D Browne, D Cahalane, S McDonnell; C Joyce, T O’Mahony, E Cadogan; C Murphy, B Cooper; C Lehane, S Harnedy (c), D Dooley; A Cadogan, A Walsh, P Horgan.
Subs: P Collins, R Downey, D Kearney, S O’Donoghue, J O’Connor, G Millerick, D Griffin, L Meade, R O’Flynn, M Coleman, S Kingston.