STEPHEN CRONIN is set to return for Nemo Rangers in their Bon Secours PSFC quarter-final against Carbery Rangers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday at 5pm.
The centre-back injured his shoulder during the win over Castlehaven and missed the last game against Clonakilty.
“We could have risked him, but chose not to,” said manager Paul O’Donovan.
Kieran O’Sullivan, who replaced Cronin, is Nemo’s only doubt after breaking a bone in his thumb.
“Stephen’s an important gem for us and all going well he will be starting.
“He injured the joint on his shoulder, but is after a good few training sessions with us. Stephen’s a key man and always has been.
“Kieran is waiting to get a scan. The x-ray was clear, but we need to get it scanned to get the all clear, though we’re not counting on him.”
Nemo’s junior hurling semi-final fell victim to the weather last weekend.
“It means players are more rested and we’ve eight starters in both teams.
“Carbery Rangers will bring a big crowd, especially with Castlehaven playing after, and they’ll all be glad to see us under pressure.
“We only played them in the league, but they’ve a lot of experience around the field and a lot of talent, too.
“Conditions appear to be conducive for a good game of football, so there’ll be no excuses,” O’Donovan added.
Their opponents must decide on either starting the experienced James Fitzpatrick and John Hayes or maintaining their policy of introducing them from the bench.
Another Trojan warrior, Brian Shanahan, is likely to be deployed as the spare man at the back with Alan Jennings and Brian Hodnett starting at midfield.
The Haven anticipate being at full strength, the Cahalane bothers, Damien, Conor and Jack, having come through successfully for St Finbarr’s hurlers last weekend, for their game with Mallow at 7pm.
Mark Collins again leads the troops into battle against unfamiliar opponents, who were last season’s SAFC winners.
Mallow’s last outing, a one-point defeat by Douglas, having trailed by 11 at one stage, left manager Keith Moynihan with much to mull over before coming up with his starting 15.
Former Cork defender James Loughrey was introduced off the bench in the last game, but may start on this occasion as Mattie Taylor and Shane Merritt line up in the half-back line.
Ballincollig are likely to continue with the Kiely brothers, Sean and Cian, at midfield for their game with Carbery at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday at the earlier time of 5pm.
The importance of the bench was reflected in the stunning 4-14 to 2-10 win over Valley Rovers in their last outing as Peter O’Neill, Dara Dorgan and goal-scorer Rob Noonan made important contributions.
The experience of Noel Galvin and Liam Jennings along with Luke Fahy’s presence offers reliability in defence while Cian Dorgan, Darragh O’Mahony, Darren Murphy and Liam O’Connell are capable finishers.
Carbery are likely to have former Cork player Kevin O’Driscoll for the first time this season after he played for Tadhg MacCarthaighs in their Carbery semi-final defeat by Argideen Rangers mid-week.
He could join brothers Brian and Colm in a team playing for the sixth time after wins over Imokilly, Beara, Avondhu, UCC and Duhallow.
Ruairi Deane leads the attack in a side featuring clubs like Gabriel Rangers, Ballinascarthy, St Mary’s, St James, Kilmeen and Randal Óg.