The Cork team for tomorrow night’s oneills.com Munster U20HC clash with Limerick at Páirc Uí Rinn (7pm) shows two changes from last week’s win over Clare.
Ballinhassig’s Darragh O’Sullivan, a star of the 2021 All-Ireland minor win, comes into the side at right corner-back in place of Cathal McCarthy, whom he replaced in Sixmilebridge last week. Glen Rovers forward Eoin O’Leary, who was also part of Noel Furlong's successful team, is named at right corner-forward with Daniel Hogan the player to miss out.
In addition, Donal O'Mahony and his management team have shuffled the attack. Captain Jack Cahalane moves from centre-forward to full-forward, while Ben Cunningham goes from number 15 to 11. Ben O’Connor, another who excelled in the minor victory last year, was unavailable for the Clare match due to Ireland U20 rugby commitments but, while he is back, he is not in the matchday squad.
Like Cork, Limerick overcame Clare at the death, with Cathal O’Neill scoring a late goal and a point in a 3-7 to 0-15 win at TUS Gaelic Grounds a fortnight ago. Those results means that tonight’s clash is effectively a free shot for both counties, with semi-final spots guaranteed and first and second place in the group all that is to be decided.
O’Neill’s use as a sub for the senior team in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday – scoring two points – means that he is now ineligible for the U20 side, having scored 2-3 in total against Clare. Speaking after his side’s win over Cork, Limerick manager John Kiely expressed dissatisfaction at the situation that prevents players from featuring at U20 once they have lined out in senior championship – something that means Cork are without Ciarán Joyce.
“It’s disappointing that we’re penalising our best players,” he said, “we could make this work. Managements could make this work in the modern era. We monitor their loads for everything they do: if they go the gym or they’re with the 20s. WE can make these things work.
“It’s a pity they’ve gone down this route because I don’t believe it’s the issue of burnout. These players, we look after. If Cathal was playing Wednesday night, he wouldn’t be training with us on Tuesday night, clearly. He’d be rested until then and he came on today and played ten, 15 minutes. There’s no reason he couldn’t play on Wednesday night and at the same time not be put in danger of further injury,”
CORK (U20H v Limerick): B Saunderson (Midleton); D O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig), K Lyons (Ballygarvan), C Smyth (Midleton); E Downey (Glen Rovers), E Twomey (St Finbarr’s), L Horgan (Glen Rovers); B O’Sullivan (Kanturk), M Mullins (Whitechurch); B Keating (Ballincollig), B Cunningham (St Finbarr’s), D McSweeney (Blarney); E O’Leary (Glen Rovers), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), D Healy (Lisgoold). Subs: C Wilson (Newcestown), C McCarthy (Sarsfields), C Geary (Youghal), M Howell (Douglas), S Walsh (Carrigtwohill), E Cullinane (Ballinhassig), J Leahy (Dungourney), D Hogan (Sarsfields), C Walsh (Kanturk).
Extended panel members: P O’Sullivan (Fr O’Neills), S Daly (Randal Óg), L Elliot (Sarsfields), P Cummins (St Colman’s), J Dwyer (Ballincollig), C Tobin (Bride Rovers), B O’Connor (St Finbarr’s), C Grainger (Ballinhassig), D Cremin (Midleton), E Kirby (Blarney), W Buckley (St Finbarr’s), T O’Connell (Ballincollig).