THE Cork minor hurlers will be backboned by eight players who featured in the 2020 campaign when they take on Clare on Wednesday night in Thurles.
Kevin Lyons, Ben O'Connor, James Dwyer, Tadhg O'Connell and Eoin O'Leary all started last season's Munster semi-final loss to Limerick, while Diarmuid Healy, Jack Leahy and William Buckley were introduced.
While just 500 tickets were distributed between the two counties for supporters, a stream of the game is available to purchase via this link for €5.
The Rebels are hot favourites to progress to a clash with Limerick, with Tipp and Waterford on the other side of the draw. This group were Tony Forristal Tournament winners at U14 and at U15, when they split the panel evenly on ability, Cork won the A and B competitions.
However, especially with minor now U17, that expectation won't mean anything when the sliotar is thrown in at Semple Stadium. There is serious potential in the squad but pressure too and in the knockout format they don't have the same breathing space to develop as Cork did in 2018 and '19 with round-robin games, producing a number of hurlers that won All-Ireland U20 medals last weekend, despite not reaching Munster finals.
St Finbarr's Ben O'Connor and Ballincollig's James Dwyer are joint captains from a half-back line that includes U16 Tommy Wilk (Cobh). Midfielder Mikey Finn starred when Midleton landed the P1 U16 county last autumn while Cillian Tobin has been in top form for Bride Rovers in the club championship this summer.
William Buckley is set to be given a roaming commission from corner-forward, which will leave towering number 13 Eoin O'Leary and Jack Leahy as a dangerous inside duo. Tadhg O'Connell's blistering pace sees him selected at wing-forward, with Kevin Lyons anchoring the defence at full-back.
Corner-back Darragh O'Sullivan hails from the famous clan of hurlers and camogie players in Ballinhassig, while Diarmuid Healy is hoping to emulate his Munster minor winning club comrade from 2017 Liam Healy at this grade.
Fr O'Neill's Paudie O'Sullivan, James Byrne (Ballinora) and Clyda Rovers' Ben Nyhan complete the line-up. Nyhan is the first minor hurler from Clyda since William Cronin in 1964.
Na Piarsaigh's Ross O'Sullivan is still U16 but could make an impact from the bench, after tallying 2-11 for his club against Blackrock recently, and Adam Walsh (Bride Rovers) is a more physical option. David Cremin hurls in style at centre-back with Midleton and Shane Kennedy was teak-tough for the Barrs' county minor winning outfit in 2020.
Unusually there are no players from Sars or Douglas in the extended panel, though both clubs are in the Rebel Óg P2 grade for 2021.
Noel Furlong, Carrigtwohill, is at the helm and has vast managerial experience including stints with Fr O'Neill's, UCC and Douglas. Cork All-Ireland winner Niall McCarthy is a selector, along with Dr Wesley O'Brien, David Dorgan and Ger O'Regan. Bride Rovers' Barry Johnson and Bishopstown's Diarmuid Lester are along in the backroom.
Paudie O'Sullivan (Fr O'Neill's); Darragh O'Sullivan (Ballinhassig), Kevin Lyons (Ballygarvan), James Byrne (Ballinora); James Dwyer (Ballincollig), Ben O'Connor (St Finbarr's), Tommy Wilk (Cobh); Mikey Finn (Midleton), Cillian Tobin (Bride Rovers); Diarmuid Healy (Lisgoold), Ben Nyhan (Clyda Rovers), Tadhg O'Connell (Ballincollig); Eoin O'Leary (Glen Rovers), Jack Leahy (Dungourney), William Buckley (St Finbarr's).
Dylan Costine (Cloyne), Shane Kennedy (St Finbarr's), Kyle Wallace (St Catherine's), Michael O'Driscoll (Watergrasshill), David Cremin (Midleton), Oran O'Regan (Erin's Own), Adam Walsh (Bride Rovers), Ross O'Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh), Rory Sheahan (Kanturk).
Jack Corcoran (Youghal), James O'Brien (Fermoy), Kris O'Callaghan (Kinsale), Lee O'Sullivan (Blackrock), Daniel Murnane (Carrigtwohill), Adam Rooney (Carrigtwohill), Brendan Lehane (Watergrasshill), Conor O'Leary (Fr O'Neill's), Gearoid O'Brien (St Catherine's), Cian Buckley (St Finbarr's), Tiernan Roche (Midleton), David Casey (Éire Óg).