Portumna heroics earn star Canning a rare day off
AFTER last weekend's heroics for Portumna, Joe Canning is being given a rare day off today thanks to his Limerick IT manager Davy Fitzgerald.
LIT have already beaten the top two teams in their Fitzgibbon Cup section (reigning champions UCC and Waterford IT) so Fitzgerald can afford to rest Canning for today's last group game with GMIT after his 1-8 scoring exploits in the All-Ireland club semi-finals for reigning champions Portumna on Sunday.
Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has confirmed that he will be without 10 first-choice players for Waterford's opening National Hurling League tie at home to Dublin on Sunday..
Eoin Kelly and Eoin McGrath are both ruled out through suspension while Shane O'Sullivan (hip) and Shane Casey (hamstring) are injured.
Fitzgerald has already given six players -- Tony Browne, Ken McGrath, Dan Shanahan, Eoin Murphy, John Mullane and Seamus Prendergast -- extended breaks to ensure that they are in peak condition for the championship.
But Stephen Molumphy, not long home from army duty in Chad, looks likely to start after coming off the bench in a challenge match against Cork last weekend.
Cork look set to start Michael Cussen at full-forward in their opener against Offaly as he scored two goals and a point in that friendly which Cork won by 2-15 to 1-17.
Cussen has left the county football squad to concentrate on hurling this year and is vying for the full-forward target-man role that Aisake O'hAilpin played last year.
John Gardiner, playing at midfield, also scored 0-7 (4fs) against Waterford when Sarsfields' Cian McCarthy, with 0-3 from play, also looked very sharp.
Cork will be without the Newtownshandrum contingent who have just been knocked out of the All-Ireland club semi-finals by Ballyhale Shamrocks.
Wexford have a clean bill of health for their away Division 2 opener against Westmeath.
But several inter-county managers will be closely monitoring their student players who are taking part in the final round of Fitzgibbon Cup group games today, not least Dublin boss Anthony Daly who has close to 10 of his panel involved in the DIT versus UCD match.