Cork footballers make five changes for crunch relegation tie with Westmeath

Defender Paul Ring and attacker Dan O Duinnin start for the first time this season as Cork aim to preserve their division 2 status
Cork footballers make five changes for crunch relegation tie with Westmeath

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy includes Paul Ring and Dan O Duinnin in his side to play Westmeath at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday. Picture: David Fitzgerald, Sportsfile

CORK have had to rejig their defence for the division 2 relegation play-off against Westmeath at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday at 2pm.

Injuries rule out Sean Powter and Daniel O'Mahony who were injured in the last game against Clare while Tadhg Corkery is on the bench.

They are replaced by Paul Ring, Kevin O'Donovan and Cian Kiely as Mattie Taylor diverts to centre-back with Sean Meehan switching to full-back.

There’s a starting debut for Cill na Martra’s Dan O Duinnin, who came off the bench against Kildare and Laois, while Cathail O'Mahony retains his place following an outstanding display, when introduced in Ennis. Sean White is among the substitutes.

In a slight reshuffle of the pack, John O'Rourke moves from the corner to right half-forward and Luke Connolly starts at full-forward.

Newcomer Briain Murphy (Nemo Rangers) is in the panel for the first time and there is a recall for Brian Hartnett, who missed the last two games due to suspension. Eoghan McSweeney is also included.

Cork missed out on a promotion play-off on scoring difference after defeating Laois 2-12 to 0-10 and Clare 0-22 to 1-18, having lost to Kildare in the opening game by 2-12 to 0-14.

Westmeath went under in all three games in the North section, 0-16 to 0-15 against Meath in Navan, 0-21 to 2-12 at home to Mayo and 0-13 to 1-9 against Down in Mullingar.

John Heslin scored 0-7 against Meath and 1-6 against Mayo while Luke Loughlin and Fola Ayorinde claimed the goals against Mayo and Down respectively.

Westmeath were four points up against Meath after 55 minutes, but their opponents kicked seven of the last nine scores to turn it around.

They also ran Mayo close, having led by a point at the break, while Heslin missed a penalty against Down and Westmeath coughed up a host of other goal-scoring opportunities, too.

Meath’s Cormac Reilly is the man in charge of a game, which has Cork 1/6 favourites with the bookies, who quote 9/2 Westmeath.

Elsewhere, Cork’s Munster championship opponents, either Waterford or Limerick, are involved in promotion play-off games.

Waterford host Antrim, who travel the length of the country for a 12.45 start at Fraher Field in Dungarvan on Sunday with a place in division 3 on the table. Macroom’s David Murnane is the referee for this one.

Limerick are the rank outsiders in the division 3 tie against hot favourites Derry in their meeting in Cavan on Saturday at 4pm.

An hour later at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, Kerry take on Tyrone in a division 1 semi-final with Conor Lane in charge.

Clare are a game away from a rare division 1 standing as they have Mayo as visitors to Cusack Park on Sunday in a division 2 promotion play-off.

CORK: MA Martin (Nemo Rangers); K Flahive (Douglas), S Meehan (Kiskeam), P Ring (Aghabullogue); K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), M Taylor (Mallow), C Kiely (Ballincollig); I Maguire (St Finbarr’s), captain, P Walsh (Kanturk); J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), R Deane (Bantry Blues), K O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaighs); D O Duinnin (Cill na Martra), L Connolly (Nemo Rangers), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown). Subs: A Casey (Kiskeam), B Murphy (Nemo Rangers),  T Corkery (Cill na Martra), S White (Clonakilty), B Hartnett (Douglas), C O’Callaghan (Eire Og), E McSweeney (Knocknagree), M Collins (Castlehaven), M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), D Gore (Kilmacabea), B Hurley (Castlehaven).

FIXTURES:  SATURDAY: NFL Division 1 semi-finals: Kerry v Tyrone, Killarney, 5pm (Conor Lane); Dublin v Donegal, Breffni Park, 7.15 (Ciaran Branagan).

Division 2 relegation play-offs: Cork v Westmeath, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 2pm, (Cormac Reilly); Down v Laois, Newry, 6.15 (Jerome Henry).

Division 3 promotion play-offs: Derry v Limerick, Cavan, 4pm (Noel Mooney); Offaly v Fermanagh, Tullamore, 6pm (Patrick Maguire).

Relegation play-off: Cavan v Wicklow, Navan, 2pm (Barry Judge).

Division 4 semi-final: Carlow v Louth, Carlow, 4pm (Barry Tiernan).

SUNDAY: Division 1 relegation play-offs: Armagh v Roscommon, Athletic Grounds, 3pm (Sean Hurson); Monaghan v Galway, Clones, 3.45 (David Gough).

Division 2 promotion play-offs: Clare v Mayo, Ennis, 1.45 (Niall Cullen); Kildare v Meath, Newbridge, 2pm (Barry Cassidy).

Division 3 relegation play-off: Longford v Tipperary, Longford, 3.45 (Seamus Mulhare).

Division 4 promotion semi-final: Waterford v Antrim, Dungarvan, 12.45 (David Murnane).

Shield semi-final: Sligo v Wexford, Portlaoise, 3pm (David Hickey).

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