Cork v Roscommon: Football panel weakened for league opener by injuries and absentees

Keith Ricken is without Damien Gore, Brian Hartnett, Ruairí Deane, Seán and Mark White, Michael Hurley and Mark Collins this weekend, as well as the Barrs contingent
Cork v Roscommon: Football panel weakened for league opener by injuries and absentees

Brian Hartnett, seen here against Fergal Conway of Kildare, could be out for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Picture: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

CORK’S injury concerns are growing ahead of the start of the national league against Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park on Sunday at 2pm.

Midfielder Brian Hartnett (Douglas), who didn’t play in any of the three McGrath Cup games, suffered a hamstring injury in UCC’s Sigerson Cup defeat last week and could be out for four to six weeks, according to manager Keith Ricken.

Damien Gore (Kilmacabea) is also unavailable for the league opener after damaging his leg, when landing awkwardly just after coming on as a substitute against Kerry in the McGrath Cup final in Killarney at the weekend.

And Ricken confirmed that Ruairí Deane (Bantry Blues), Sean White (Clonakilty) and Michael Hurley (Castlehaven) are not in training at the moment, and unlikely to feature this season, while White’s brother Mark is also understood to have opted out.

But, the new manager is hoping Mark Collins might make himself available when they have another discussion at the end of the month.

“We’re not sure yet whether Brian’s was a hamstring tear because he went for a scan yesterday and we’ll know more after that,” Ricken said.

“Brian’s not in a position to run and that’s disappointing for him because he was making every effort to get back in shape this year.

“But that’s what happens when you’re working very hard to get in shape. Your body can break down.

“We’ll allow him the time to recover and get right.

“We’re a young team and third-level games really cut across a lot of what we’re trying to do.” 

Gore also had a scan yesterday and Cork will assess him once they get a medical report.

“Damien’s certainly out of Sunday and he was also due to play Sigerson Cup tomorrow.

“I don’t think it’s a cruciate, but we don’t know that yet. It’s probably some sort of ligament damage.

“I’m disappointed for Damien because he was playing good football for the college and for us as well.

“He’s a lively campaigner and I’m sure Damien will be fine once he has a proper diagnosis and treatment.

“At the same we want to encourage them to play third-level and we’ll take those gambles for the time being.” 

Ricken is hoping Collins can rediscover his appetite for inter-county football.

“I would like to see Mark with us. I know he had indicated before I took over that he wasn’t going to play. I met Mark a couple of times and he has other stuff on in his life.

“He would be a great addition to us and Mark has been a great servant of Cork football.

“We need to give Mark time, leave the dust settle and if there is an appetite there we would love to see him back in.” 

Mark Collins, in action here against Kerry in the 2020 Munster semi-final, is to speak again with Keith Ricken at the end of the month. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Mark Collins, in action here against Kerry in the 2020 Munster semi-final, is to speak again with Keith Ricken at the end of the month. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The team to play Roscommon is expected to be picked from the 41 players who lined out against Clare, Waterford and Kerry in the McGrath Cup, Ricken confirmed.

The panel is a snapshot of the best footballers in Cork at a particular time and it’s also fluid.

“You’ve probably seen most of the lads who will be involved against Roscommon from the McGrath Cup.

“Obvious we won’t have the Barrs lads and we’ll have three or four of them, but they’ve been left to concentrate on their own championship, which is important.

“We have others who are on a long-term injury list, like Cillian O’Hanlon and Aidan Browne.” 

KEANE EDGE

On Mark Keane’s decision to opt for hurling following his return from Aussie Rules, Ricken said it might have been different if Mitchelstown had been successful in football.

“But it was Ballygiblin hurlers who were successful and Mark fell in love with hurling.

“Why would I be negotiating with somebody, when they must figure it out for themselves? Fellows must be happy where they want to be themselves.

“Mark is a lovely boy. I’ve known since he was 15-16 and if he wants to go back playing football we’ll see if he’s playing good football with his club.

“But, we had no opportunity to look at him for the last couple of years because Mark’s been out of the country.

“I would have been in contact with him and I’m delighted for Mark that he’s giving hurling a go."

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