Cork hurling management make the hard calls for the 2021 campaign

Cork hurling management make the hard calls for the 2021 campaign

Conor Lehane of Cork scores a goal as Richie English of Limerick closes in at Croke Park in 2018. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

THE Cork hurling panel will be radically shaken up for 2021.

The announcement of Anthony Nash's retirement on Sunday was followed by the news that Conor Lehane, Aidan Walsh and Christopher Joyce won't be in the squad next season.

Lehane and Joyce, both 28, started the Munster semi-final loss to Waterford but were dropped for the qualifiers against Dublin and Tipp, while Walsh, 31 in January, only made fleeting appearances off the bench this winter. 

Aidan Walsh in action for Cork against Wexford in the league. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Aidan Walsh in action for Cork against Wexford in the league. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Hard calls were inevitable from Kieran Kingston and his selectors, entering into the second campaign of their three-year term. Bill Cooper and Eoin Cadogan are in their '30s but they could remain on board to offer experience and leadership around the squad in tandem with mainstays of the forward unit Patrick Horgan and Seamus Harnedy.

Still, there will be a youthful sheen to the 2021 group. Sean O'Leary Hayes (21) and Daire Connery (20) were handed their championship debuts recently, with 19-year-old Shane Barrett and Brian Turnbull making cameos off the bench. 

Declan Dalton and Jack O'Connor were trusted to lead the attack in the backdoor games in November, while Seán Twomey and Ger Millerick are set to get further opportunities, after being auditioned by previous manager John Meyler but picking up injuries this year.

Blackrock's Alan Connolly, still U20, Tadhg Deasy and Daniel Meaney were added to the extended Cork panel after county final success but didn't get a chance to make an impression in such a short period of time. 

The Cork minors and U20s have Munster semi-finals against Limerick this Saturday, where a couple of victories would be a tonic for Leeside hurling after such a disappointing senior campaign.

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