CORK boss John Meyler will select the strongest team available to him for next Sunday’s crunch relegation league tie with Waterford at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Cork were consigned to the relegation game after their three-point loss to Tipperary at Thurles yesterday and must now defeat Derek McGrath’s team to avoid dropping down to Division 1B next season.
It’s the second time in three years that Cork have found themselves in this situation, as two years ago they defeated Galway in Salthill in another relegation showdown.
Meyler’s hand will be strengthened by the return of team captain Seamus Harnedy who will be back from a one-game suspension, and Eoin Cadogan who was marked absent yesterday because of illness.
Damien Cahalane is nearing full fitness again and he was on the bench yesterday after a protracted absence with a leg injury.
However, the game is likely to come a week or two too soon for him, but it’s a positive for the management that he’s on the way back.
Mark Ellis could come into the equation too, returning from injury as well.
Meyler, although disappointed to lose again in Thurles yesterday, was upbeat after the performance, stating that it was much improved.
“We didn’t get the result but it was a much-improved performance on a better pitch and we’ll have one or two more lads back next week.
“We are playing Waterford now next Sunday in another competitive game in Páirc Uí Rinn.
“We played them two weeks ago in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and it will be much more competitive this time.
“It will be all hands on deck, this is a must-win game and this is where the championship starts really.’’
Meanwhile, the Cork footballers are still in the chase for one of the two final places in Division 1B of the league after posting an excellent win over Meath in Navan yesterday.
With the top two, Cavan and Roscommon meeting next weekend and Tipperary away to Down, Cork must defeat Clare in their game in Cork and keep their hopes alive for the final group game against Roscommon a week later.
Two wins from two could see them reach the final depending on other results.