Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cork stars Cooper and Lehane win Munster final fitness race

 

Cork's Conor Lehane. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cork's Conor Lehane. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Cork manager Kieran Kingston has confirmed that in-form attacker Conor Lehane and versatile Bill Cooper will be fit for Sunday's Munster senior hurling final against Clare.

Selector Pat Hartnett explained last night that both players have been restricted to light training ahead of the Semple Stadium sell-out - but Kingston is confident that both players will be good to go.

Lehane has been nursing an ankle injury that threatened his participation in the semi-final victory over Waterford.

The Midleton forward has scored 0-14 in Cork's two summer outings, including a ten-point haul against Tipperary, but came off against Waterford late on with a recurrence of his original injury.

Scans later revealed, however, that no additional ligament damage had been sustained.

Cooper has been playing a more understated, yet vital, role for the Rebels and he too will line out despite a recent hamstring strain. Back-up defender Conor O'Sullivan is expected to miss out with a hamstring injury.

Bill Cooper, who’s found a home at midfield having previously operated in attack, has been playing a more understated, yet vital, role for the Rebels. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Bill Cooper, who’s found a home at midfield having previously operated in attack, has been playing a more understated, yet vital, role for the Rebels. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Threat Kingston is wary of the threat posed by the Banner, recalling how Clare won well in a challenge match earlier in the year.

He revealed: "Clare played us in a challenge game before we played Tipperary, on the basis that they wouldn't be seeing us in the Munster Championship.

"You can totally understand that, we were rank outsiders.

"They gave us a lesson. Clare will obviously be favourites within their own camp and they will certainly be favourites in our camp. They'll be much happier playing us than playing Tipperary or Waterford."

Cork's young guns have hit the high notes already, but Kingston conceded that handing his son Shane, Colm Spillane, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Luke Meade full championship debuts in the famous victory over Tippwas a gamble.

"That's the risk you take and that's why you're in the job," he said. "You're in the job to make decisions that you feel are in the best interests of Cork hurling now, and into the future.

"It's not about me, it's not about the young lads, it's not about the older fellas, it's about Cork hurling."

Meanwhile, Sean Armstrong and David Wynne have been left out of the Galway team to face Roscommon in Sunday's Connacht SFC final as the Tribesmen make two changes from the team that defeated Mayo.

Eoghan Kerin starts at corner back to replace Wynne while, at the other end, Eamonn Brannigan comes in at corner forward for Armstrong.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport