Big names still out, as Kilkenny announce two changes for Tipperary
Bruised champions dust themselves down for potential last stand while Kelly and Corbett return for Tipp
Lar Corbett, second left, will be in the thick of the action for Tipperary against old rivals Kilkenny in tomorrow’s qualifier clash at Nowlan Park, but Pa Bourke, right, drops to the bench. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
All-Ireland champions Kilkenny have made just two changes to the team that lost to Dublin in last week’s Leinster hurling semi-final. For tomorrow’s match of the season to date, the All-Ireland qualifier against deposed Munster champions Tipperary in Nowlan Park, the county’s Player of the League Lester Ryan returns to the team in place of the injured Cillian Buckley and Colin Fennelly comes in for his club mate TJ Reid, who is also believed to be carrying an injury but is named in the replacements.
There is no mention in the match-day panel of the county’s big injury absentees, Paul Murphy and past two hurlers of the year , Henry Shefflin and Michael Fennelly, who scored 2-3 when the counties met in the league final, also at Nowlan Park, two months ago today.
Tipperary have made four changes to the team shocked by Limerick in the provincial semi-final. Conor O’Brien replaces the injured Kieran Bergin, who made his senior debut in the league final between the counties two months ago at the same venue. The three other changes are in attack with a completely new full-forward line named.
All-Ireland winning captain from 2010 Eoin Kelly, John O’Dwyer, who scored 1-3 against Limerick and former hurler of the year Lar Corbett, who all came off the bench in the Gaelic Grounds, are included with Pa Bourke, Shane Bourke and Séamus Callanan dropping to the bench.
Munster football champions Cork have announced an unchanged team for this year’s Munster final against Kerry in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. The announcement comes with the usual health warning that the selections released by Cork rarely line up for the relevant match - both of this season’s championship matches have seen changes made before the throw-in.
The team that started against Clare in the provincial semi-final was however released last night. Named amongst the replacements are normal starters All Star Aidan Walsh and Ciarán Sheehan, both of whom came on as replacements the last day.
Football league finalists Tyrone make just one change to the team that overwhelmed Offaly for the All-Ireland football qualifier round two against Roscommon in Hyde Park tomorrow evening. Joe McMahon is fit again and returns at full back with Danny McBride reverting to the bench.
Galway footballers also make one change for tomorrow afternoon’s qualifier against Waterford in Pearse Stadium. Corner back Keith Kelly is ruled out with an ankle injury and his place is taken by Johnny Duane.
Clare is one of four counties with dual engagements this weekend - Laois, Waterford and Galway are the others - and will name their teams for the double bill against Laois in Cusack park tomorrow.
The hurlers, smarting from the recent Munster semi-final defeat by Cork, will be favourites to get their championship challenge back on track but there is still uncertainty over the availability of wing forward John Conlon, who was concussed in an incident that was the centre of post-match controversy with his manager David Fitzgerald complaining that the safety of players at matches should be treated more seriously than it was.
Meanwhile Laois manager Séamus Plunkett has named an unchanged team for tomorrow’s All-Ireland hurling qualifier phase two match with Clare in Ennis.
The county, which has raised many eyebrows coming from a spring spent in Division Two A to seriously challenging defending champions Galway in the Leinster final, does however have an injury concern about centrefielder James Walsh, who has sustained a suspected broken toe.