THE Cork hurlers have named a very strong line-up to face UCC in the Canon O'Brien Cup fixture in the Mardyke on Friday night, 7pm.
Two rookies from last season's U20 All-Ireland victories are in the starting 15 announced, Ciarán Joyce and Colin O'Brien, while Ger Collins will be in goal and Erin's Own defender James O'Flynn is corner-back.
Ballygibblin's Mark Keane is included in the subs having revealed this week he won't be heading back to Australia despite a contract with AFL side Collingwood. Conor Lehane, back in the squad after his omission in 2021, is also named on the bench, though the team could line up differently come throw-in.
Interestingly Mark Coleman, centre-back for the past two campaigns, reverts to his All-Star winning number seven slot, with Damien Cahalane manning the middle and Ger Millerick, returning from injury, at right wing-back.
That pushes Tim O'Mahony into midfield. Joyce, a half-back for his club and Cork underage teams, and target-man O'Brien are down to feature in the half-forward line.
Whatever about Cork, whose league campaign doesn't start until early February, at home to Clare, UCC's Fitzgibbon Cup campaign commences next Wednesday away to Mary I. The timing is ideal for Tom Kingston's charges.
Cork players Rob Downey, Niall O'Leary, Shane Barrett and Daire Connery are all in the College panel.
There will be obvious interest in how Keane fares.
“I played a challenge game with the Cork hurlers last week against Kilmallock to sharpen up my hurling ahead of the Munster final,” Keane told the . “When I got home, I only had one game over the Christmas period so needed another game to get my eye in.
“I will never rule out playing football for Cork. Football is a big love of mine since I have been a child, especially here in Mitchelstown. So, no I will not be ruling anything out at the moment.”
The match has been held seven times since 2013, with UCC victorious twice. It wasn't played last year due to Covid restrictions.
Admission to this game is free but there will be a collection at the gate conducted by the Carrigtwohill St Vincent de Paul volunteers, which will recognise the contribution that Margot Hartnett gave to her community in Carrigtwohill and her close connection with UCC Sport.
Ger Collins (Ballinhassig);
James O’Flynn (Erin's Own), Sean O’Leary Hayes (Midleton) Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra, vc);
Ger Millerick (Fr O Neill’s), Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), Mark Coleman (Blarney, c);
Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville);
Ciaran Joyce (Castlemartyr), Colin O’Brien (Liscarroll Churchtown Gaels), Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s);
Alan Cadogan (Douglas), Shane Kingston (Douglas), Luke Meade (Newcestown).
Eoin Davis (St Catherine’s), Mark Keane (Ballygiblin), Sean Twomey (Courcey Rovers), Robbie O’Flynn (Erin's Own), Conor Lehane (Midleton), Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers), Padraig Power (Blarney).