Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 27 March 2017

Counihan 'fairly optimistic' over Canty's fitness for decider

Cork manager Conor Counihan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Cork manager Conor Counihan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

CORK boss Conor Counihan is confident that captain Graham Canty will be fit to start the All-Ireland SFC final against Down on Sunday week.

Not for the first time this summer, the Rebels' talismanic All Star defender has been a serious injury doubt with a groin injury.

Canty pulled up with it in the quarter-final win over Roscommon and though he started their semi-final against Dublin, he had to be replaced by Eoin Cadogan at half-time.

He was expected to return to full training last night and Counihan said: "We'd be fairly optimistic on Graham."

There is heavy speculation that even if Canty starts, room will still be made to accommodate dual star Cadogan, who performs well on the big stage and impressed when he came in against the Dubs.

Impact substitute Fintan Goold picked up an ankle injury in training a week ago, but Counihan said: "He is going in the right direction as well."

Aggravating

Veteran defender Anthony Lynch remains a big doubt after aggravating a calf injury and Cork are likely to make a decision on him at their last heavy training session tomorrow, though Counihan said they will give him some more time if they think he is getting close to making it.

As their third final in four years approaches, it remains 20 years since Cork won Sam Maguire.

But Counihan said their success in inching over the line against Dublin has given them a boost and he felt they deserved more credit for their one-point victory.

"People might say it was indiscipline on Dublin's part, but I'd like to think that we were applying pressure and forcing them into those mistakes," he said. "Had we not been fouled, would we have broken through and got goals instead of points, who's to know?

"Our intensity and our ability to keep going, to keep driving, eventually told. Dublin played a high-intensity game and maybe we lasted that bit better.

"I'd accept we haven't been as consistent as we'd have liked to be this year, but different people have come forward at different stages, and in the Dublin game some of the younger fellas definitely put their best foot forward."

Irish Independent

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