Sunday 19 November 2017

Rebels boost as Murphy back in training ahead of Dubs showdown

Lorcan McLoughlin is hopeful of being fit
Lorcan McLoughlin is hopeful of being fit
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Brian Murphy will return to training this week, fuelling hopes that he can play some part in Sunday week's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.

Murphy missed the Munster final defeat to Limerick and the All-Ireland quarter-final win over Kilkenny last weekend because of a damaged collarbone he sustained in a club championship with Bride Rovers at the end of June.

But the defender's return, a little ahead of schedule, will be a further lift to the Rebels after the victory over the All-Ireland champions.

He was a key figure in the Munster final win over Clare in June when he did a superb man marking job on Tony Kelly, Clare's chief creator.

Meanwhile, Lorcan McLoughlin has acknowledged that in Dublin, Cork face a team as physically imposing as Kilkenny.

"They're a big physical team and Anthony Daly is after adding a bit of steel to them so it's going to be a huge battle again," said the Kanturk man.

"I haven't seen a whole pile of them but we know the quality right throughout their team.

"They're putting up big scores but I think their big attribute is their fitness levels, their physique, so they're going to be hitting hard, they're going to move the ball quick.

"Watching them against Kilkenny, they matched them physically, and their fitness levels are sky high."

McLoughlin admitted that his early second-half fracas with Kilkenny's Michael Fennelly was the wrong one to pick for him.

"I don't think I knew what I was getting myself in for. It just happened, it was in the heat of the moment," he said.

"It was more handbags than anything and in fairness the referee threw the ball in and the game went on.

"It was nothing major. I thought it was a hard-fought game and there was nothing malicious in it and everyone went 100pc for every ball."

McLoughlin believes Cork are as well placed as anyone to exploit the opportunities that have opened up in this year's championship.

"From our point of view, starting out in the championship you've got to believe that you've a chance of winning.

"I thought we had some excellent performances in the league, but being relegated was hugely disappointing.

"Then you had the highs of beating Clare and then again losing the Munster final was hugely disappointing and then we're up again after beating Kilkenny. But we have to be consistent."

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