All-Ireland U20 hurling medallists Brian and Eoin Roche and Colin O’Brien have been added to the senior panel ahead of Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC round 2 qualifier clash with Clare in Limerick (4.30pm).
In the wake of the impressive 2020 All-Ireland final win over Dublin a week and a half ago, the Bride Rovers twins, who excelled in the full-back line (Eoin) and midfield (Brian) respectively, and attacker O’Brien of Liscarroll-Churchtown Gaels are training with Kieran Kingston’s squad.
It increases the representation of the All-Ireland-winning team, with Alan Connolly and Shane Barrett having featured in the Munster SHC semi-final loss to Limerick while Cormac O’Brien, Darragh Flynn, Seán Twomey and Daire Connery also in the mix.
Of the 20 Cork players who saw game-time against Limerick, 12 of them – Seán O’Leary Hayes, Robert Downey, Ger Millerick, Niall O’Leary, Mark Coleman, Conor Cahalane, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Robbie O’Flynn, Shane Kingston, Tim O’Mahony, Jack O’Connor, Connolly and Barrett – have taken part in at least one of the 2018 U21 final or 2019 and 2020 U20 deciders. By contrast, of the Tipperary team in last Sunday’s Munster final, only Jake Morris featured in the 2018 or 2019 final wins over Cork or the 2020 Munster final last December.
Cork will face a Clare side that has already overcome Waterford in Munster and then, after defeat to Tipperary, overcame Wexford in Thurles last Saturday, holding off a late fightback from the Model County.
Cork manager Kieran Kingston has been pleased with how his side have reacted to the eight-point reversal against Limerick and is expecting a strong response.
“I said before the Limerick game that the attitude, commitment, application and dedication of the group, from day one when we started back, offline and on their own, has been outstanding,” he said.
“They trained really well heading into the Limerick game and after any game, whether you win or lose, you talk about it and review it and try to take the learnings from it, take the positives and try to grow.
“That game against Limerick, the same as every league game, was no different and the lads’ application since then has been excellent. I have to give huge, huge plaudits for the way they’ve trained in the interim and they’ve done it all year.
“They’re a great bunch, a very young bunch in many ways, but their application has been outstanding.”