Tuesday 20 March 2018

Walsh returns to midfield as Counihan shuffles pack

Cork manager Conor Counihan. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Cork manager Conor Counihan. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

CORK football boss Conor Counihan has bucked expectations and moved Aidan Walsh out of full-forward for Sunday's big Munster derby with Kerry.

Walsh had been operating in a new full-forward role during this year's league and, with the new 'square-ball' rule coming into play since then, it was expected that the Rebels would look to exploit his height in front of goal this summer.

Yet, though Counihan has selected the same 15 players who started the league final, Walsh has been pulled out to his old midfield spot and Donncha O'Connor has been named at full-forward.

There is no place in the starters for Ciaran Sheehan, even though he has recovered full fitness from his cruciate injury.

Otherwise Cork have just rejigged their forwards to cope with the Walsh switch, with Pearse O'Neill moving back to centre-forward and Paul Kerrigan moving into the corner.

Tyrone have made major changes to their side since their Division 2 league final, but there is no place, even on the bench, for Brian McGuigan. Peter Harte has been switched to his old wing-forward role, with Conor Gormley returning to centre-back and Justin McMahon in at full-back.

Only half of Tyrone's league final defence -- Gormley, Aidan McCrory and Cathal McCarron -- has survived. Joe McMahon now partners Colm Cavanagh in midfield and, despite injury rumours about Ronan McNabb, he starts in the half-forward line.

Stephen Bray returns from injury to bolster Meath in their Leinster SFC clash with Carlow, providing some consolation for the loss of Seamus Kenny. The latter is replaced by Donal Keogan and Bray comes back at the expense of Mark Collins.

There is no place in the Carlow side for Derek Hayden as Luke Dempsey has gone for a relatively experienced starting line-up.

Wexford have made one change for their big rematch with unchanged Longford tomorrow, with their side including Ciaran Lyng, despite speculation that he will not start. The only official change is Paddy Byrne replacing Conor Carty in the half-forwards, but it is rumoured that Lyng may not be ready to start.

Graham Kelly is the notable absentee from the Clare footballers who face Limerick tomorrow after breaking his hand in training on Monday night.

CORK (SF v Kerry) - A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; P Kissane, G Canty, N O'Leary; A O'Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, P O'Neill, P Kelly; C O'Neill, D O'Connor, P Kerrigan.

TYRONE (SF v Armagh) -- P McConnell; A McCrory, Justin McMahon, D Carlin; C McCarron, C Gormley, Sean O'Neill; Joe McMahon, C Cavanagh; R McNabb, M Donnelly, P Harte; M Penrose, Stephen O'Neill, O Mulligan.

MEATH (SF v Carlow) -- D Gallagher; D Keogan, K Reilly, B Menton; D Tobin, S McAnarney (Capt), M Burke; C Gillespie, B Meade; A Forde, S Bray, G Reilly; B Farrell, J Sheridan, C Ward.

CARLOW (SF v Meath )-- T O'Reilly; P Murphy, C Lawlor, B Kavanagh; K Nolan, S Redmond, T Bolger; B Murphy, D Foley; B Murphy, P Reid, E Ruth; JJ Smith, S Gannon, D St Ledger.

LONGFORD (SF v Wexford) -- D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; C Smith, M Quinn, S Mulligan; B McElvanney, J Keegan; D Barden, P Barden, N Mulligan; D McElligot, B Kavanagh,S McCormack.

CLARE (SF v Limerick) -- J Hayes; K Harnett, S McNelis, L Healy; M McMahon, G Kelly, J Hayes; G Brennan, G Quinlan; S McGrath, E Coughlan, A Clohessy; M O'Shea, D Tubridy, R Donnelly.

Irish Independent

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