Thursday 22 February 2018

Lehane gets all-clear for Cork as Malone and O'Brien make Banner's final cut


Conor Lehane: set to start Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Conor Lehane: set to start Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

In-form attacker Conor Lehane has been named in the Cork starting team for tomorrow's Munster senior final clash with Clare.

The Midleton clubman has scored 0-14 in two summer outings to date - but had been considered a doubt with ankle ligament damage.

But Lehane is picked at centre-forward in an unchanged team, with midfielder Bill Cooper also good to go having shrugged off a hamstring problem. Manager Kieran Kingston has named the same starting team for Cork's three championship outings to date in 2017 - against Tipperary, Waterford and now Clare.

Opponents Clare, however, make two changes in personnel from the team that beat Limerick last month. Cathal Malone replaces David Reidy at midfield, as joint-managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor shuffle their pack, while Oisín O'Brien returns to the fold for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury against Tipperary in March.

O'Brien, who played at corner-back last year, has been named at left half-back and replaces Gearóid 'Gudgy' O'Connell.

Kilkenny boss Brian Cody, meanwhile, has named an unchanged team for this evening's All-Ireland SHC round 2 qualifier against Waterford in Thurles. Cody has opted not to tinker with the side that accounted for Limerick in last Saturday's Nowlan Park battle.

Richie Leahy, who was man of the match in this week's Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U-21 decider, is listed among the subs.

The Dublin senior hurlers are also unchanged for their clash with Tipperary - the first game on this evening's Semple Stadium double-bill.

Captain Liam Rushe is listed again at centre-forward, while Tipp native Ryan O'Dwyer will start at full-forward for the visitors.

In football news, having edged past Derry after extra-time last weekend, Mayo manager Stephen Rochford has made three changes for the visit to Clare.

In a boost for last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists, 2016 Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan has been passed fit to play but Paddy Durcan is suspended and he's replaced by Seamus O'Shea.

Diarmuid O'Connor comes in for Stephen Coen and veteran forward Andy Moran is dropped, with last weekend's goalscorer Conor Loftus earning a start.

There are two changes to the Donegal team that accounted for Longford as Rory Gallagher's men prepare to face Meath in this evening's round 3A qualifier.

Jamie Brennan and Hugh McFadden have been called in and will replace Michael Carroll and Michael Langan in attack.

Irish Independent

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