Cork hurling manager Pat Ryan has included four debutants in the team for his first Allianz Hurling League game in charge.
The Rebels open their Division 1 Group A campaign with a home clash against Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh tomorrow night (7.30pm) and four of those who did well in the successful Co-op SuperStores Munster Hurling League run are given a chance to continue their progress.
In the full-back line, Dromtarriffe’s Conor O’Callaghan – previously part of the squad during John Meyler’s tenure, but without getting game-time – and Eoin Downey of Glen Rovers partner captain Seán O’Donoghue, while Kanturk’s Brian O’Sullivan will start in midfield alongside the experienced Luke Meade.
The only league debutant in attack is Midleton star Cormac Beausang, who joins his clubmate Conor Lehane and Bride Rovers’ Brian Roche.
Similarly, Midleton’s Tommy O’Connell starts in the half-back line after featuring in all of the Munster league games, with Ciarán Joyce and Damien Cahalane alongside him. Patrick Collins is in goal while the full-forward line sees Declan Dalton – who didn’t feature for Cork in 2022 – join Patrick Horgan and Robbie O’Flynn.
O’Callaghan captained Cork – managed by Ryan – to win the 2020 All-Ireland U20 hurling title in July 2021 while O’Connell, Joyce, Brian Roche and subs Eoin Roche, Cormac O’Brien, Seán Twomey, Brian Hayes and Shane Barrett were all on that team, too.
Downey, Joyce, O’Brien and Hayes were on the successful 2021 U20 side, with another of the subs, Sam Quirke, a key part of that side, too.
Shane Kingston is included among the substitutes, having been out of action since a hamstring injury forced him off early in Cork’s opening game of the year, the Munster league match against Kerry in Tralee at the beginning of January.
P Collins (Ballinhassig);
C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe), E Downey (Glen Rovers), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra, c);
T O’Connell (Midleton), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), D Cahalane (St Finbarr’s);
B O’Sullivan (Kanturk), L Meade (Newcestown);
B Roche (Bride Rovers), C Lehane (Midleton), C Beausang (Midleton);
D Dalton (Fr O’Neills), P Horgan (Glen Rovers), R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own).
G Connolly (Blackrock), N O’Leary (Castlelyons), E Roche (Bride Rovers), C O’Brien (Newtownshandrum), C Cormack (Blackrock), S Quirke (Midleton), C Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), S Twomey (Courcey Rovers), B Hayes (St Finbarr’s), S Barrett (Blarney), S Kingston (Douglas).