FOUR Cork hurlers have been shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Energy U21 Hurling Team of the Year.
Seán O'Donoghue, Darren Browne and Mark Coleman are in the mix for places in the backline, while Declan Dalton, the hero in the Munster semi-final victory down in Waterford, is nominated up front.
A total of 45 hurlers have been included, with three for each position. O'Donoghue will go against Sean Finn (Limerick) and Declan Cronin (Galway) for corner-back, while Browne is picked in the number five slot along with Galway's Jack Grealish and Ronan Lynch (Limerick).
Coleman will compete with Jason Cleere (Kilkenny) and Thomas Grimes (Limerick) for the other wing-back berth, while Dalton is up with Killian Doyle (Westmeath) and Kilkenny's John Donnelly. Dalton was exceptional against Waterford, nailing a late penalty to grab a dramatic win.
The Rebels made the Munster final where they were beaten away to Limerick, the eventual All-Ireland champions, after mounting a commendable comeback. Darragh Fitzgibbon was a standout for Cork against the Déise, but a late red card in that game ruled him out of the provincial decider.
Meanwhile, Cork may be forced to vote against its own wishes at this weekend’s special Congress in Croke Park.
With four proposals – from Central Council, Tipperary, Cork and Dublin – before them, delegates will choose between those on a proportional representation basis. The most popular will then be put against the status quo, with a 60 percent majority required to effect change.
There was plenty of discussion among delegates, with Frank Murphy acknowledging that Cork’s preference was for the current system to remain. However, when asked from the floor what would happen if Cork’s motion – effectively a hurling ‘super 8’ – was deemed the most popular of the suggestions, Murphy admitted that the county would have to support its own proposal against the system which pertains at present.
Another motion up for discussion at the special Congress will be whether or not under-age levels should be changed from the current even ages to odd, i.e. U13, U15, U17 and U21. Cork’s underage committee, Rebel Óg, is strongly opposed to this alteration, fearing a large drop-off in the four years between U17 and U21. Frank Murphy made the point that each county should be allowed to run its own juvenile competitions as it sees fit, and that if the age grading changes, Cork may introduce an U19 level.
Ger Lane also confirmed that the sourcing of a replacement for Kieran Kingston as county senior hurling manager will be taken care of by the board’s executive, as was the case with football job.
Cork’s Munster Council delegate Marc Sheehan reported that there had been an increase of approximately 100,000 in attendances at the province’s senior championship games in 2017, crowds up 31 percent in hurling and 52 percent in football.
A proposal from Waterford, that counties who reach All-Ireland senior finals be given byes in the Munster club championships, will be discussed at the next Council meeting on October 12.
Stephen Calnan (Nemo Rangers) was confirmed as the new Cork junior football manager, having been a selector under previous incumbent Paul McCarthy, while Páirc Uí Chaoimh will hold the county SHC semi-finals on October 8 before the football final on October 15 and hurling decider on October 22, the latter occasion acting as the stadium’s official opening.
Coach/Selector - Ronan McCarthy (Douglas)
Selectors appointed by coach: Ciaran O'Sullivan (Urhan), Eamonn Ryan (Glenville/Watergrasshill), Sean Hayes (Nemo Rangers)
Coach/Selector – Sean Hayes (Nemo Rangers)
Selectors: Gene O'Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh), Aidan Kelliher (Clondrohid), Jim O'Donoghue (St Finbarr's), Sean Bownes (Castlemartyr).
Coach/Selector – Bobbie O Dwyer (Macroom).
Selectors – Míchael Hannon (Mayfield), James McCarthy (Castlehaven). Two more to be confirmed.
Coach/Selector – Stephen Calnan (Nemo Rangers).
Selectors – Pat Mackey (Youghal), John Geaney (Kilshannig), Martin Crummy (Mallow). One more to be confirmed.