Brian Cody undergoes pre-planned heart surgery

Kilkenny hurling manager expected to take break from team affairs for a number of weeks

Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody underwent pre-planned cardiac surgery yesterday and is currently recovering in hospital. He is reported to be in good form but will be taking a break from team affairs for a number of weeks.

In his absence Martin Fogarty and Michael Dempsey will be taking charge of the senior hurling panel. The Kilkenny county board issued a press release last night asking that the Cody family be afforded privacy for the duration of his recovery and said they will not be releasing any further statements on the matter.

Cody is expected to be absent from team affairs for at least six weeks, and will miss the remainder of his side’s league campaign. Kilkenny’s first championship outing will be on June 9th, in the Leinster SHC quarter-final against Offaly.

Cody has been manager of the Kilkenny senior hurlers since 1999, and in 14 seasons has claimed nine All-Ireland titles and 12 Leinster titles.

Meanwhile, Tyrone may have a ticket into the Allianz National Football League Division One semi-finals safely pocketed, but the seriousness of Sunday's encounter with Kerry – who still have the threat of relegation hanging over them – at Healy Park isn't lost on manager Mickey Harte who has limited any inclination to make too many changes.

Indeed, Harte has made just three alterations from the side that defeated Kildare in the last series of matches.

The experienced Justin McMahon is recalled to man the full-back spot in place of Conor Clarke, while Darren McCurry and Under-21 player Ronan O'Neill are drafted back into the attack to replace Matthew Donnelly and Connor McAliskey.

Defending league champions Cork have promoted former Antrim footballer James Loughrey – now playing his club football with Mallow – to the substitutes bench for Sunday’s game against Mayo.

Cork, who must win to keep alive the prospect of winning a fourth straight league title, have been ravaged by injuries with Alan O’Connor joining Eoin Cadogan, Ciarán Sheehan, Patrick Kelly and cruciate victim Colm O’Neill on the injury list.

Graham Canty, who missed the defeat to Kerry, returns to man the centre-field position alongside Aidan Walsh while Donnacha O'Connor, another absentee in Tralee, is deemed fit enough to take his place on the bench.

Damien Cahalane, Tom Clancy and John O’Rourke were not considered due to their involvement with the Cork under-21 team who face Tipperary in the provincial final next Wednesday.

Offaly have made three changes for the intriguing Division Four clash with Tipperary in Tullamore, where a promotion spot is on the line.

Niall Darby, Richie Dalton and team captain Niall McNamee – named at full-forward – have been recalled in place of David Hanlon, Ruairi Allen and John Maher.