YOUNG star forward, Cathail O’Mahony, is in danger of missing out on the Munster championship semi-final next month after suffering a hamstring injury in the 3-22 to 0-25 Division 2 relegation win over Westmeath at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday.
The Mitchelstown All-Ireland U20 winner in 2019 pulled up when chasing a long ball just before half-time, having started brilliantly by scoring Cork’s opening three points.
“It doesn’t look too good after the initial assessment,” said manager Ronan McCarthy. “He was quite sore after it and Cathail will get scanned.”
Cork’s injury count is so high that they were unable to have a full 26-strong panel as they had only 25 available.
“We were at a point, where it was next man up,” added McCarthy, who also witnessed Ruairí Deane being taken off.
“Ruairí was carried off in training on the Thursday before we played Clare and he played that game and again now in a lot of pain with his shoulder.
“The break will help him and it’s nothing that can’t be sorted. Ruairí’s done well to even make the pitch.
“John O’Rourke was feeling a bit tight before the game, but his hamstring isn’t long-term.
“We’ve done well because we’ve been stretched panel-wise.”
Cork even had to alter their selected team on Thursday night, when Liam O’Donovan had been named in the starting team but picked up an injury in training.
“He pulled up and you have to be cautious with someone who’s been out for a year.
Westmeath tested Cork to the full, making a mockery of the one-sided odds in the home side’s favour before throw-in.
“The three most dangerous words in Cork are ‘Cork should win’, but why is it like that and based on what?
“You win on merit and teams in all the divisions will put it up to you.
“It’s another home win, six of our last seven now, and we had an appalling record in my first two years.”
Westmeath posted a big score, led by four points on two occasions in the first half and again at the break, but Cork’s three second-half goals decided the outcome.
“We got the job done. The difference to the Clare game was that once we won we’d stay in the division.
“We expected a difficult challenge and we got it. We had a fair idea what was coming and Westmeath put it up to us.
“We conceded 14 points in the first 20 minutes and were certainly at sixes and sevens in the opening quarter, but it got better as the game went on. We’ve work to do, no question.
“Obviously, we would like to defend better, but Westmeath have good players like John Heslin, who is a top player as are Ray Connellan and Ronan O’Toole.
“I look at it differently. I think we came through a difficult challenge against a very good team.
Castlehaven pair Brian Hurley and Mark Collins made a difference when introduced.
“We’re reaping the rewards of the last couple of years in developing players and putting them in at the right time.”