GAA team news: Brian Cody forced into wholesale changes for Dubs visit as he seeks to avoid upset
Change is very much the order of the summer for Kilkenny, who will begin their Leinster hurling championship campaign against Dublin in Nowlan Park tomorrow evening (7.0) with no fewer than eight changes from the team that exited last year’s All-Ireland race after losing to Limerick in the quarter-final.
It’s by far the biggest turnover from year to year since Brian Cody took over as manager 20 years ago.
A lengthy injury list has forced him to fish deep in the talent pool at a time when, injuries apart, the squad is very much in transition mode.
With All-Star goalkeeper Eoin Murphy, defenders Cillian Buckley, Conor Delaney and Joey Holden all ruled out and Richie Hogan not on full power (he’s listed in the subs), Kilkenny are facing a real test of their resources.
Darren Brennan replaces Eoin Murphy in goal while Paddy Deegan switches from corner-back to full-back, with Tommy Walsh coming in at No 4. Huw Lawlor is handed the centre-back jersey while Alan Murphy will partner Pádraig Walsh at midfield.
Adrian Mullen, who did very well with Ballyhale Shamrocks in their run to All-Ireland glory on St Patrick’s Day, comes in at right half-forward and will be joined in attack by club colleagues TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly.
Dublin powerhouse Liam Rushe will be at full-forward as first-season manager Mattie Kenny seeks to capitalise on Kilkenny’s new-look defence.
Cork manager John Meyler, meanwhile, has named Tim O’Mahony at centre-back on the team to play Tipperary in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, with Eoin Cadogan at full-back.
Damien Cahalane loses out and there’s no place either in the starting 15 for dual star Aidan Walsh, who opted for hurling this year.
Seán O’Brien (Newport) comes into an otherwise familiar-looking Tipperary team, which will have Brendan, Ronan and Pádraic Maher in the half-back line. Seamus Callanan captains the side from centre-forward with Jason Forde at full-forward.
New Waterford manager Páraic Fanning has chosen Conor Prunty at full-back for the Munster Championship clash with Clare in Walsh Park, while Peter Hogan, who impressed during the league, gets his chance at left corner-forward. Austin Gleeson is named in attack but is likely to have a roving commission.
Dublin footballers will discover on Sunday who their first opponents will be in the opening game of the five-in-a-row bid when Wexford host Louth in Innovate Wexford Park. The winners will play the All-Ireland champions in the Leinster quarter-finals on May 25.
If Wexford win, they will have home advantage against Dublin, but if Louth win, the game will be played in Portlaoise as Drogheda lacks the capacity for such a big game.
Kilkenny (SH v Dublin): D Brennan; P Murphy, P Deegan, T Walsh; E Morrissey, H Lawlor, C Fogarty; P Walsh, A Murphy; A Mullen, W Walsh, TJ Reid; B Ryan, C Fennelly, G Aylward.
Dublin (SH v Kilkenny): A Nolan; P Smyth, E O’Donnell, D Gray; C Crummey, S Moran, S Barrett; S Treacy, D O’Connell; F Whitely, D Treacy, D Sutcliffe; O O’Rorke, L Rushe, E Dillon.
Cork (SH v Tipperary): A Nash; S O’Donoghue, E Cadogan, N O’Leary; C Joyce, T O’Mahony, M Coleman; D Fitzgibbon, B Cooper; D Kearney, S Harnedy, L Meade; C Lehane, P Horgan, S Kingston.
Tipperary (SH v Cork): B Hogan; C Barrett, J Barry, S O’Brien; B Maher, R Maher, Padraic Maher; N McGrath, M Breen; N O’Meara, S Callanan, Patrick Maher; J O’Dwyer, J Forde, J McGrath.
Waterford (SH v Clare): S O’Keeffe; S McNulty, C Prunty, N Connors; Philip Mahony, T De Burca, K Moran; J Barron, C Gleeson; A Gleeson,, M Kearney, Pauric Mahony; Shane Bennett, Stephen Bennett, P Hogan.
Tipperary (SF v Limerick): E Comerford; A Campbell, J Meagher, S O’Connell; K Fahey, R Kiely,, E Moloney; S O’Brien, L Casey; J Keane, P Maher, B Fox; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, L McGrath.
Waterford (SF v Clare): D Mulhearne; S O’Donovan, R O Ceallaigh, J McGrath; B Looby, S Ryan, T O hUallachain; S Aherne, T Prendergast; S Whelan, D Guiry, C Murray; J Mullaney, F O Cuirrin, M Curry.