THE Cork hurling management have a number of injury problems to deal with in advance of Sunday’s vital national league tie with Tipperary, in Páirc Uí Rinn, at 3pm.
Team coach Pat Ryan told the Evening Echo that it will be later in the week before a decision is taken on Shane Kingston, hamstring and Danny Kearney, who missed the win over Waterford with a hand injury sustained in the loss to Kilkenny. Alan Cadogan, who was withdrawn in the first-half in Walsh Park, will be okay, as will Seamus Harnedy, who was sent off against Waterford on a second yellow card offence.
Harnedy, whose strength on the 40, is vital for Cork is likely to come straight back into the starting 15 for the game on Sunday.
Cormac Murphy, who was unavailable for the Waterford game after being red carded in Nowlan Park, has a shoulder problem while Conor O’Sullivan, Paul Haughney and Robbie O’Flynn are still out of the equation but are making progress in training.
“We’ll see later in the week how Shane and Danny are. It will be touch and go with Shane while Danny has been curtailed in training with the injured hand.’’
The Cork coach is fully aware of the importance of Sunday’s first clash of the year with the All-Ireland champions and he is hoping that the team can build on the fine performance against Waterford in Walsh Park.
“It goes without saying that it is a big game for us. On Sunday evening we could be through to a quarter-final or we could find ourselves in a relegation battle again. Hopefully, we will be looking forward to a quarter-final game but Tipperary are, I think, ahead of everybody else at the moment.
“Michael Ryan has made it clear that he wants to win the league and to retain the All-Ireland and they have a very strong squad with players still to come back in. It will be a big test for us but we are looking forward to it.’’
The management took a lot of positives from the win over Waterford but backing up that performance will be very important, according to Ryan.
“Of course, we will be looking for a similar work rate and intensity over the 70 minutes again. When we defeated Clare we didn’t follow through the way we would have liked but the win over Waterford will have been good for our confidence and, hopefully, we can have a backup performance on Sunday.’’
Meanwhile, with every passing day, the brand new Páirc Uí Chaoimh remains firmly on schedule for its grand opening in June.
Yesterday another significant step was taken when the seats for the main stand at the ground were put in place. Slowly but very surely everything is starting to fit into place in a stadium that will, on its completion, be one of the most modern in Europe and will be a monument to the GAA in the city and county for many long years to come.
County board officials are very confident that the stadium will be up and running for active use in June and will be ready to host provincial finals. Provided Cork reach the football final, that game will take place on July 2. There is also a very strong possibility that the Munster hurling final, irrespective of the participants, will be staged there a week later.