Tim O’Mahony makes his first start of the year for Cork as one of three changes to the starting line-up for Sunday’s Munster SHC clash against Limerick.
The game at TUS Gaelic Grounds (throw-in 4pm) is effectively do-or-die, even allowing for the slim possibility of both counties finishing in the top three and reaching the All-Ireland series.
O’Mahony missed most of the Allianz Hurling League, only appearing as a substitute in the semi-final defeat away to Kilkenny and then coming off the bench in the championship matches against Waterford, Tipperary and Clare. He is selected at right half-forward, replacing Conor Cahalane, who scored the first of their three goals against the Banner County last Sunday.
In the full-forward line, Shane Kingston - who has scored goals in his last two championship games against Limerick, the 2021 All-Ireland final and last year's Munster round-robin - comes in for Conor Lehane while Ger Millerick is named at right half-back with Tommy O’Connell missing out.
So far, the 7-64 scored has been shared between 16 different players with Patrick Horgan leading the way on 1-25, 1-7 of that from open play. Darragh Fitzgibbon has also scored 1-7 from play for Pat Ryan’s side while Declan Dalton has 2-6, 2-2 from play.
Cork and Limerick are level on three points each going into Sunday’s game, having beaten Waterford, drawn with Tipperary and lost to Clare. Cork have the edge in terms of scoring difference so a draw would keep them ahead of John Kiely’s side in the table.
In Sunday’s other match, Tipperary are expected to beat the already-eliminated Waterford at FBD Semple Stadium, a result that would send the Premier County into the Munster final against Clare with the winners in the Gaelic Grounds finishing third and advancing to the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.
If Tipp and Waterford were to draw, a Cork win would put them in the Munster final on scoring difference while Limerick would need to beat Cork by five points or more to take one of the two top spots.
A Waterford win of five points or more combined with a draw in Limerick would have Cork second and into the final, Limerick third and Tipp out but otherwise Tipp would finish third even with a defeat and the winners of the other match would finish in second place.
Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig);
Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons), Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), Seán O’Donoghue (Inniscarra, c);
Ger Millerick (Fr O’Neills), Ciarán Joyce (Castlemartyr), Robert Downey (Glen Rovers);
Brian Roche (Bride Rovers), Luke Meade (Newcestown);
Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville), Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neills);
Shane Kingston (Douglas), Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers), Séamus Harnedy (St Ita’s).
Ger Collins (Ballinhassig), Eoin Downey (Glen Rovers), Tommy O’Connell (Midleton), Ethan Twomey (St Finbarr’s), Conor Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), Seán Twomey (Courcey Rovers), Shane Barrett (Blarney), Alan Cadogan (Douglas), Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s), Conor Lehane (Midleton), Pádraig Power (Blarney).