Friday 24 March 2017

Cork opt for big guns in defence

Aisake O hAilpin
Aisake O hAilpin
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

LEAGUE leaders Cork have opted for experience in defence for Sunday's big Division 1 hurling clash with third-placed Tipperary in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Martin Coleman replaces Donal Og Cusack in goal but John Gardiner returns to a familiar-looking half-back line that also includes Ronan Curran and Sean Og O hAilpin, the first time all three veterans have lined out together on the '45 this season.

Aisake O hAilpin is at full-forward while Lorcan McLoughlin (Kanturk) starts in midfield beside Tom Kenny and Jerry O'Connor and Tadhg Og Murphy replace Ben O'Connor and Michael Cussen up front.

Tipperary show two changes from the side that started against Waterford last weekend, with Eoin Kelly returning from injury to replace John O'Brien and Michael Cahill replacing Shane Maher at left half-back.

Offaly, who escaped with just the narrowest of victories over Limerick last week, have made two changes for their trip to Waterford. Kinnitty's James Dempsey and Stephen Wynne (St Rynaghs) are given league debuts, replacing regular goalkeeper Brian Mullins and midfielder James Rigney.

Keith Rossiter makes a long-awaited return to Wexford's starters for their crunch Division 2 NHL tie with Laois. He starts at corner-back in place of Eoin Doyle with Willie Doran moving to centre-forward and Stephen Banville replacing Paul Morris at full-forward.

Laois boss Niall Rigney makes one change for the big clash between the second and third-placed teams, with Camross star Zane Keenan making his return to the starters after a 12-month injury layoff to replace John Rowney.

Defending Leinster U-21 football champions Dublin have delayed naming their starting team for Sunday's final against Westmeath until later today owing to injury concerns over Johnny Cooper, Ted Furman, Cian Mullins, Nicky Devereux and James McCarthy. TEAMS IN FACTFILE

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