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Canty boost for Counihan's Rebels ahead of All-Ireland decider

GRAHAM CANTY took a full part in training last night for the first time since the All-Ireland semi-final though fellow Cork veteran, Anthony Lynch, has suffered yet another setback in his unlikely bid to play some part in Sunday week's All-Ireland SFC final against Down.

Canty has been nursing a hamstring injury picked up in the quarter-final defeat of Roscommon and played only in the opening half of the Rebels' victory over Dublin in the last four but returned to full training last night in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and is expected to be named in Conor Counihan's final line-up should he come through an internal practice match tomorrow. Lynch, meanwhile, has played no football for Cork this year and had only a remote chance of participation against Down but a recurrence of a calf injury has jeopardised his chances of a place on the bench, though manager, Conor Counihan, was loath to rule him out completely.

"Anthony is a doubt," he acknowledged. "We'll know more later on in the week. He has been training but he had a recurrence of a calf injury so we'll know the full extent of that later on in the week."

However, the Cork boss was much more upbeat on the subject of the availability of captain Canty and the Rebels' other injury worry, Fintan Goold. "We'd be fairly optimistic on (Canty). And Fintan seems to be going in the right direction as well. We'll know more about Anthony at the weekend.

"We analyse that on a day-to-day basis. Obviously, we'll have to make serious decisions on Saturday. But if they need another couple of days, we'll do that."

Speaking about Cork's semi-final victory over Dublin, Counihan downplayed the theory that over-zealous defending on the part of Pat Gilroy's men was the main contributing factor to Cork's win.

"People might say indiscipline on Dublin's part won us that game," he said, "but I'd like to think we were applying pressure and forcing them into those mistakes and had we not been fouled, would we have broken through? Would we have gotten goals maybe instead of points?

"Intensity and our ability to keep going and keep driving on won it for us. Dublin play a high intensity game and maybe we lasted that bit better."

Counihan also praised his players for winning that game from a position of vast inferiority and reckons they are battle-hardened after years of competing at this stage of the championship.

"That comes from a certain amount of experience, a certain level of confidence," he explained.

"It comes from within themselves. But it doesn't happen overnight. We've tried to develop it in some ways by spreading around different tasks on different things.

"But at the end of the day, guys have to stand up and say 'I'm going to make a bit of a difference'.

"It's important that we've learned from the past and I believe we have. I'm not too worried about Down in that context," Counihan added.

"We've got to do our own thing right, get our own performance and leave the result to look after itself," concluded the Cork boss.