Cork footballers have used 29 players in three league games so far

Mark Woods examines the team selections used by Keith Ricken and his selectors as they attempt to rebuild the Cork team
Cork footballers have used 29 players in three league games so far

Mattie Taylor, in action here against Limerick in last year's Munster championship, is ever-present in the league. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

CORK ponder their selection for the fourth round of games in the NFL against Galway at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday at 5pm.

It’s the second game on a novel double-bill, which begins with Cork-Limerick in camogie at 3pm.

And true to his word manager Keith Ricken hasn’t been slow in casting the net far and wide to give players a chance of making an impression.

Equally, the new boss has afforded new players time to settle into the difficult life of the modern inter-county player as well and not basing any judgement on just one outing.

So far, Cork have used some 29 players in the three games against Roscommon, away, Clare, home, and last weekend’s marathon journey to Owenbeg in Derry.

The return of a mere one point from the 1-13 draw with Clare has put Cork firmly in the mix of those teams like Offaly, Down and Meath battling to preserve their status ahead of the summer’s offerings.

There are only a handful of players who’ve played all three games, like Mattie Taylor in his customary left half-back position and Tadhg Corkery directly behind him in the corner.

Newcomer Rory Maguire, who impressed in Castlehaven’s run to the county semi-final last season, has also played in the three games, but not in the same position.

He was midfield for the Dr Hyde Park opener before diverting to defence, where Maguire is more familiar with the duties expected in that department, slotting in at right half-back.

Colm O’Callaghan is another to play a couple of different roles, switching between his more accustomed half-forward position and midfield, where he wore the number nine jersey against the Banner.

Also in attack, Dan Ó Duinnín, joint-captain Brian Hurley and another league debutant, David Buckley from Newcestown have started all three games.

David Buckley has played in three different positions in the Cork forward line in the league. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
David Buckley has played in three different positions in the Cork forward line in the league. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Cill na Martra’s O Duinnin has figured in three different positions, starting with left corner-forward against Roscommon before switching to right half-forward in the Clare tie and then to left half-forward up north.

Buckley has been used in both lines of the attack, from number 12 to 15 and 14 against Derry while Hurley, despite being held scoreless last weekend, is the team’s top scorer with 1-10 to his name.

Sherlock’s anticipated return saw him take over the free-taking duties from the Haven forward and the ’Barr’s marksman accounted for 0-5, four from frees, of Cork’s tally with O Duinnin and Kevin O’Donovan adding the other two points.

The team is unlikely to differ greatly from those who’ve already played though midfielder Brian Hartnett may return to the panel after a hamstring injury, sustained during UCC’s Sigerson Cup game with UCD, ruled him out of contention until now.

The side which started against Derry was notable for the inclusion for the first time in the league of the Barrs contingent of Ian Maguire at midfield, Sherlock in inside line and debutant Billy Hennessy at centre-back as well as fit-again vice-captain Sean Meehan, who took his usual place at full-back.

Who wears the number 11 shirt will be interesting because three players, John O’Rourke, Blake Murphy and Fionn Herlihy, have filled the role with varying degrees of success.

O’Rourke scored a point in Roscommon, Murphy 0-3 against Clare when Herlihy contributed 0-2 off the bench.

Cork players used in the league:

Keepers: MA Martin (Nemo Rangers), C Kelly (Éire Óg).

No 2: S Powter (Douglas), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers).

No 3: K Flahive (Douglas), S Meehan (Kiskeam).

No 4: T Corkery (Cill na Martra).

No 5: C Kiely (Ballincollig), R Maguire (Castlehaven).

No 6: J Cooper (Éire Óg), S Powter, B Hennessy (St Finbarr’s).

No 7: M Taylor (Mallow).

Midfield: J Grimes (Clonakilty), S Merritt (Mallow), R Maguire, C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), E McSweeney (Knocknagree), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s), P Allen (Newmarket), D O’Connell (Kanturk).

No 10: C O’Callaghan, D Ó Duinnín (Cill na Martra).

No 11: J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), B Murphy (St Vincent’s), F Herlihy (Dohenys), P Ring (Aghabullogue).

No 12: D Buckley (Newcestown), J O’Rourke, D Ó Duinnín, C Óg Jones (Iveleary).

No 13: M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), M Buckley (Dohenys), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).

No 14: B Hurley (Castlehaven), D Buckley.

No 15: D Ó Duinnín, D Buckley, B Hurley.

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