Cork footballers change six for Sligo qualifier
GAA and AFL confirm rule changes for International Rules Test in Perth
Aidan Walsh (left) has retained his place in a much-changed line-up for Cork’s All-Ireland Qualifier against Sligo in Tullamore on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
He had already warned us “everything is on the table for review” and Cork football manager Brian Cuthbert has certainly reflected that in his team to face Sligo in Saturday’s fourth round qualifier at Tullamore.
With a place in the All-Ireland quarter-final at stake, Cuthbert has made six changes in personnel after the near-humiliation against Kerry in the Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh back on July 6th – the 12-point defeat their worst ever to Kerry at the venue stretching back to 1976.
So, into the starting team come brothers Brian and Colm O’Driscoll, plus Ian Maguire, Mark Collins, Colm O’Neill and Donal Óg Hodnett, while dual player Damien Cahalane drops down to the bench, along with Fintan Goold, Patrick Kelly, Daniel Goulding, Barry O’Driscoll and John O’Rourke.
Cork’s other two dual performers – Eoin Cadogan and Aidan Walsh – do keep their places, but the dropping of the likes of Goold, Kelly and Goulding reflects the manager’s desire for something a lot different to what was presented against Kerry.
Not that Cuthbert was hiding behind any excuses after their collapse against Kerry, acknowledging “it’s very easy to say intensity and effort and all of those things but Kerry were much better than us, hats off to them . . . but we let a huge amount of people down, especially ourselves.”
The first was also a round four qualifier, Cork winning 3-13 to 0-11 in Portlaoise, followed by the 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final in Croke Park, Cork taking that by 1-11 to 0-8.
Cork are also bidding to reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals for the 11th time, while Sligo have only done so twice.
Sligo have a big worry over star forward David Kelly, who suffered a hamstring strain on Sunday in a squad training session. Manager Pat Flanagan has other worries too, Brendan Egan is also a doubt, while Pat Hughes and Johnny Martyn are also struggling to be fit for the encounter with the Rebels.
For Flanagan – who has already enjoyed qualifier wins over Wicklow and Limerick - the loss of Kelly would be a major blow.
Meanwhile the GAA and AFL have confirmed minor playing rule changes for the upcoming International Rules Test in Perthon November 22nd.
Goalkeepers must now kick the ball out beyond the 45m line after all wides, behinds and overs – which will help bring the taller players and contested marks into play. Failure of a goalkeeper to kick over the 45m line will result in a free kick to the opposition (from the 45m line).
The number of consecutive handpasses allowed has been raised from four to six, and the number of permitted interchanges have been increased to 15 per quarter (60 per match) with an unlimited number allowed at the quarter, half and three quarter time intervals.
The modifications are designed to allow for a broader range of AFL players to participate in the game, and the AFL has also confirmed their team will be compiled entirely of players who have All-Australian experience.