THE Cork hurling management’s policy of altering their starting line-up to meet the requirements of the day continues for next Sunday’s All Ireland semi-final with Galway at Croke Park.
This time they have made just two changes, one in midfield and one in attack with the vastly experienced Niall McCarthy losing his place after an indifferent quarter-final display against Waterford.
He has been replaced by Conor Lehane in the half-forward sector with Jamie Coughlan, who replaced the Midleton man in that game, retaining his place.
Lehane was marked absent that day because of illness.
Lorcan McLoughlin is back in the equation too, having started in the championship outings against Tipperary, Offaly and Wexford, he lost his place for the Waterford game to Daniel Kearney but he has been returned now to the middle of the field alongside Patrick Cronin.
Darren Sweetnam, who replaced Kearney at half-time in the Waterford game and impacted heavily on the proceedings, was thought to be in pole position to start next Sunday but, obviously, McLoughlin’s form in training has won him the vote.
The rest of the team is along expected lines, no change in defence with Eoin Cadogan, who was substituted the last day for John Gardiner, starting again at centre-back.
The Douglas player was taking antibiotics before the quarter-final but he is now happily restored to full health and his excellent form for the footballers last Sunday will have his confidence levels very high going into this game.
The form of Stephen McDonnell and Sean Og O’hAilpin against Waterford made it easy for the selectors to retain them at full-back and wing-back respectively.
Cork’s evolving panel strength was evident in that game with Cathal Naughton making a substantial impact when he replaced Niall McCarthy.
With selector Kieran Kingston declaring that Cork will almost certainly need twenty players on Sunday, the Newtownshandrum player’s injection of pace will surely be required at the appropriate time.
“It’s a twenty man game now for all counties at this level and we were delighted the last day out against Waterford when we felt the time was right to make changes.’’ Kingston told the Echo.
Another positive for the management is the availability again of Christopher Joyce who is named among the subs after recovering from a hand injury.
Cork team : A Nash, S O’Neill, S McDonnell, B Murphy, T Kenny, E Cadogan, S O’hAilpin, L McLoughlin, P Cronin, C Lehane, C McCarthy, J Coughlan, P O’Sullivan, L O’Farrell, P Horgan.
Subs : D McCarthy, D Cahalane, C O’Sullivan, W Egan, J Gardiner, C Joyce, D Sweetnam, D Kearney, C Naughton, N McCarthy, S Moylan.
Two changes for JBM’S Cork