Rebel trio ruled out for key Déise clash
Cork will be without key trio Seamus Harnedy, Mark Ellis and Conor O'Sullivan for Saturday's crunch Allianz Hurling League Division 1A clash at home to Waterford.
Harnedy will miss out with the hamstring injury that forced him out of last Sunday's defeat to Galway in Salthill.
Selector Pat Ryan explained that Harnedy's latest hamstring issue will be treated with care after he suffered a similar problem last year, missing Cork's Munster SHC semi-final defeat to Waterford as a result.
Meanwhile, centre-back Ellis is still out with an ankle problem and corner-back O'Sullivan is expected to miss the next month as he nurses a groin injury. Ryan indicated that Ellis could return for the floodlit clash with Dublin at Croke Park on March 5 - and that could be Harnedy's comeback date also.
It remains to be seen whether or not Ellis lines out for Cork IT in this evening's home Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final against holders UL. With CIT hosting finals weekend this year, they're anxious to have Ellis involved in an attempt to get there, especially with Tipp's John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer suspended. If Ellis does play some part for CIT, it's highly unlikely that he'll feature for Cork.
Ryan, meanwhile, noticed intensity close to championship fare from Waterford during their impressive victory over Kilkenny last Sunday.
Saturday's opponents know each other well but Waterford got the upper hand on the Rebels twice last year in league and championship.
And Ryan said: "They (Waterford) have huge talent coming through, a lot of very good players and they've moved it on a good bit. The intensity against Kilkenny was as close to a championship game as you could get - the hitting was ferocious and any time you beat the All-Ireland champions is a huge thing. And they still have the likes of Tadhg de Búrca and Pauric Mahony to come back in.
"But you need to try to win your home games to have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals."