CORK put their title on the line against the near neighbours in what’s sure to be a lively encounter with a place in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tyrone also up for grabs.
Unsurprisingly, the defending champions, who are joint top with 26 titles, including U21, with the Kingdom, are unchanged from the 2-15 to 0-5 win over Limerick a week ago.
There is one alteration in the substitutes, Ballincollig’s Liam O’Connell drafted in instead of Paul O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), who had replaced Kilshannig’s Ciaran O’Sullivan, scorer of the winning point in the semi-final against Kerry last season.
The team includes three survivors from the side, which defeated Tipperary by 3-20 to 3-10 in the final.
They are full-back Tommy Walsh, who was centre-back against Limerick, centre-forward Colin Walsh and wing-back Darragh Cashman (Millstreet), who is joint-captain.
“Everyone came through the Limerick game and we had a recovery session on Tuesday and a training session on Thursday,” said manager Bobbie O’Dwyer.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do in such a quick turnaround though there’s still quite a lot of work going on in the background.
“Basically, you’re trying to keep them as fresh and mentally up to speed as best you can and the recovery is big in that regard.
“As regards tactical changes you’ve just got to implement them as much as you because in reality you’ve just one training session between games.
“And that’s why you have your panel and you do all your work in the couple of months beforehand.
“You can’t get a huge amount done, but you just try and keep it as fresh as you can.”
Kerry also have a number of survivors from 2021, including midfielder Sean O’Brien and full-forward Dylan Geaney while full-back Alan Dineen came on as a substitute.
There is an interesting UCC angle because the Freshers reached the All-Ireland final with a team featuring Cork’ Daniel Peet, Keelan Scannell and Eoin Walsh and Kerry’ Ruairi Murphy.
Scannell and Murphy will do battle in the middle of the pitch while the expected O’Brien-Colin Walsh tussle is one of many subplots in the encounter.
O’Dwyer admitted Cork will have to improve on their Limerick display.
“I was very pleased with the work rate, the application and the effort put in, but we’ll have to up our work rate even more, 20%-30%, to win a game in Tralee.
“Executing the chances you create is going to be important and I thought defensively we were quite solid.
“It’s a case of working at what you are strong at and trying to improve on the areas that need improving.” Kerry had a much tougher game against Clare and overcame Cork in the John Kerins Cup, too.
“We played them two months ago and it’s broadly the same team, who are very slick and we will have to be at our very best to get a result.
“Kerry have a good all-round team, very solid defensively, regularly getting 11-12 players behind the ball, so we’re going to have to be quite composed and not try to rush the game.
“Kerry counter-attack very well and we’ve got to make sure we’re set up accordingly to stop that,” O’Dwyer concluded.
C Dungan (Carrigaline); J O’Driscoll (Valley Rovers), T Walsh (Kanturk), D Peet (Clonakilty); D Cashman (Millstreet), joint-captain, N Lordan (Ballinora), joint-captain, S Brady (Ballygarvan); K Scannell (Carbery Rangers), A Walsh (Kanturk); R O’Sullivan (Newcestown), C Walsh (Kanturk), H Murphy (Eire Og); R O’Donovan (Barryroe), C Hanlon (Buttevant), D O’Mahony (Ballincollig).
R Cashman (Kanturk), A Walsh-Murphy (Valley Rovers), M Browne (Newmarket), P O’Driscoll (Gabriel Rangers), T O’Donoghue (Carrignavar), L O’Connell (Ballincollig), C Daly (Clonakilty), E Walsh (Clyda Rovers), F Fenner (Castletownbere).