CORK'S Bill Cooper could be set for a spell on the sidelines as the results of a scan on an Achilles injury are awaited.
Youghal native Cooper appeared as a substitute in the impressive win over Westmeath at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday week but has since succumbed to an injury in training.
He will miss Saturday night’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A clash against Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds (7.15pm), while Eoin Cadogan, who played at full-back against Westmeath, is out for a week or so after sustaining a concussion.
Séamus Harnedy (hamstring) and Colm Spillane (knee) remain out injured but there is good news as Shane Kingston and Robbie O’Flynn, who had been out with hamstring problems, are back in contention.
“Shane and Robbie will be available for selection on Saturday,” said Cork manager Kieran Kingston, “but Séamie Harnedy won’t, he’ll be out another while.
“Colm Spillane won’t, Bill Cooper won’t, Eoin Cadogan won’t but Declan Dalton will be available.
“When you’re going from game to game and training in between, the loading is high.
"It’s a collective pre-season and the ground is getting hard and the game is getting faster and you’re trying to get up to the pace quickly in the time we have.
“You’re going to have those niggles and I’ve no doubt every other county does.”
Despite the absences, Cork have been developing a panel in the early part of the league, with Shane Barrett, Daire Connery, Billy Hennessy, Niall Cashman, Simon Kennefick, Tadgh Deasy and Alan Connolly among those who have done well.
Kingston is keen for that trend to continue, while being aware of the size of the step up to senior level.
“I’m very happy with the panel we have,” he said.
“We’ve tried to use them intelligently and manage them, bearing in mind the level of exposure they’ve had to this level of hurling.
“They’re well aware of that step up from U20 or club and they know it’s huge. They’ve seen that in the league and they’d tell you that themselves.
"They’ll see, down the road in the championship, that it’s another 20 or 30 percent again in terms of the speed of the game and the time of the year that they’re playing it.
“The last summer hurling championship game that Cork played was the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2019 against Kilkenny.
"We’re trying to get back up to that level and bring guys with us and manage their exposure in as intelligent a way as we possibly can.”