Wednesday 24 January 2018

O hAilpin and O'Neill back to boost Rebels' cause

Jackie Cahill

CORK manager Denis Walsh has been boosted by the return of vice-captain Shane O'Neill and experienced left half-back Sean Og O hAilpin to his defence for next Sunday's All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Kilkenny.

Right corner-back O'Neill and O hAilpin have recovered sufficiently from hamstring complaints to be named in Walsh's starting line-up as Shane Murphy and Ray Ryan make way. The returns of the defensive duo are two of three changes in personnel from the team that started against Antrim in the quarter-final on July 25.

The other switch is in attack, where Pat Horgan, who lost his place for the Saffrons game, regains a spot in the full-forward line as Paudie O'Sullivan loses out. O'Sullivan will consider himself unfortunate to get the axe, but Glen Rovers clubman Horgan has been pushing hard in training and is the recognised penalty-taker in the team.

In attack, there are also some positional switches, while O'Connor and Horgan could also switch corners from the throw-in at Croke Park.

For the Antrim match, captain Kieran 'Fraggy' Murphy was listed at left corner-forward but performed impressively in the centre-forward position, where he is named to start on Sunday. Ben O'Connor, named at right half-forward last time out, is this time named at left corner-forward, while Michael Cussen, named at left half-forward against Antrim, is switched to the opposite flank.

Kilkenny are expected to show their hand this evening, with James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick tipped to replace the injured Michael Rice at midfield.

CORK (SHC v Kilkenny) -- D Og Cusack; S O'Neill, E Cadogan, B Murphy; J Gardiner, R Curran, S Og O hAilpin; T Kenny, C Naughton; M Cussen, K Murphy (capt), N McCarthy; P Horgan, A O hAilpin, B O'Connor.

Irish Independent

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