Pa Cronin to return for Cork hurlers

Injured Brian Murphy to miss Munster final with Limerick

Cork’s Pa Cronin. Photograph: Inpho

Cork’s Pa Cronin. Photograph: Inpho

Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 01:00

Pa Cronin is set to resume the Cork captaincy for Sunday’s Munster hurling final against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds – although his return to full fitness after recent illness is tempered by the loss of Brian Murphy.

Murphy wore the captain’s armband for Cork’s semi-final win over Clare, as Cronin missed several weeks of training in the build-up to the game with chest infection.

Cronin did appear in the last 10 minutes, scoring one of Cork’s security points in the 0-23 to 0-15 win, and is now certain to take one of the forward positions when manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy names his team this evening.

But Murphy is ruled out after breaking his collarbone in a club match the weekend after the win over Clare.

One of Cork’s most experienced defenders, Murphy played a key role in the win over Clare – especially in marking Tony Kelly – although there is hope he can return later in the summer, depending on how far Cork progress.

Gone for the season, however, is Paudie O’Sullivan, who suffered a broken leg in May.

McLoughlin back
Lorcán McLoughlin, who was also ruled out of the Clare game with a shoulder injury, is also back in contention to take one of the starting places against Limerick.

Limerick manager John Allen is unlikely to make any enforced changes from the team which overcame Tipperary in their semi-final, also played at the Gaelic Grounds, which took them into this their first Munster final appearance since 2007.

Meanwhile Wexford’s dual star Lee Chin has been left out of the hurling team to face Clare in Saturday’s qualifier against Thurles – and it’s still unclear now what exact role he will play. With the Wexford footballers also down to play against Longford on Saturday evening, Chin had to choose one code over the other – admitting his head was “melted” in the process.

Wexford decision
Chin’s more immediate concern was captaining Wexford in last night’s Leinster under-21 hurling final against Kilkenny, although Wexford hurling manager Liam Dunne deliberately held off in naming his substitutes for the Clare game, clearly giving Chin as much time as possible to make up his mind.

In the meantime the Wexford team sees Andrew Shore return from suspension at midfield, while Keith Rossiter is also named at centre back after recovering from injury. Eoin Quigley, who came off the bench to score a point against Carlow, will resume in attack in the absence of Chin, at least for now.

Armagh unchanged
Armagh are unchanged for Saturday’s second round football qualifier against Leitrim at Carrick-on-Shannon. Paul Grimley’s team totally overran Wicklow in the first round, and face a Leitrim team trying to salvage something of their summer of the shock Connacht semi-final replay defeat to London.

Captain Emlyn Mulligan, as expected, misses out again with a calf strain, although Darren Sweeney is fit to start despite retiring early against London, with Adrian Croal also called into the starting team.

Tyrone’s Stephen O’Neill has also declared his fitness ahead of the third round of qualifiers next weekend: the Tyrone captain missed their first two rounds wins over Offaly and Roscommon with an Achilles tendon injury, but has been back training this week, the only worry now being where to play Darren McCurry, who has scored 14 points in the two opening rounds while filling in for O’Neill.