All-Ireland hurling final: Nicky English’s Cork pen pics

Rebels come into their first final in eight years hoping to cause an upset

1 Patrick Collins

Club: Ballinhassig. Age: 24. Occupation: Garda. Debut: 2021 v Limerick.

A really improved goalkeeper. He kept them alive by saving from Tony Kelly at the death and his shot stopping has been excellent. Puck-out management has become much more efficient.

2. Niall O’Leary

Club: Castlelyons. Age: 23. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2019 v Tipperary.

Typical modern corner back, fast and comfortable on the ball. Gets forward and scores. Defence very good. In Thurles, played well on Casey but struggled when briefly switched onto Cian Lynch.

3 Robert Downey

Club: Glen Rovers. Age: 21. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2019 v Limerick.

Came in after Damien Cahalane’s appendicitis but has grown into the role. Made a super block against Clare. TJ Reid rarely gets dispossessed but he managed it. In All Star conversation.

4. Seán O’Donoghue

Club: Inniscarra. Age: 25. Occupation: Sales Operations Administrator. Debut: 2018 v Clare.

Outstanding inside-line defender in recent years. Not big but very strong and powerful and generally assigned main marking job. Gillane did very little on him in July and was replaced.


5 Tim O’Mahony

Club: Newtownshandrum. Age: 24. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2018 v Clare.

Could play anywhere but is an exemplar of the modern half back. His goal against Dublin was Kyle Hayes-esque. In Munster he saw off Tom Morrissey whose form though has improved.

6 Mark Coleman

Club: Blarney. Age: 23. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2016 v Wexford.

Outstanding player and great striker. Gave season’s best display against Kilkenny when able to dictate play. Not as easy with Lynch. Either he sweeps or he marks. Can’t do both.

7 Eoin Cadogan

Club: Douglas. Age: 34. Occupation: Personal Trainer. Debut: 2008 v Dublin.

Experienced player. Did well on Hegarty in Thurles but latter is more threatening in Croke Park and in better form. Won't get forward as much as Millerick, who's a loss.

8. Darragh Fitzgibbon

Club: Charleville. Age: 24. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2017 v Tipperary.

Playing more wing forward but hasn’t been as dominant. A serious talent with the pace to get around Limerick in one of their key areas, he needs to step up.

9. Luke Meade

Club: Newcestown. Age: 24. Occupation: Teacher. Debut: 2017 v Tipperary.

Has settled into the midfield position and been in very good form in the crucial middle third, covering huge ground. An important player, especially against Clare. Having his best year.

10. Conor Cahalane

Club: St Finbarr’s. Age: 23. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2021 v Limerick.

Played midfield against Kilkenny and gave career-best display. Apparently bottomless energy reserves, he should kick on from here. Had problems with Hayes in Thurles and switch to middle has suited him.

11. Séamus Harnedy

Club: St Ita’s. Age: 31. Occupation: Teacher. Debut: 2013 v Clare.

Injured at a vital stage in Thurles, which was a big loss. Form dipped in semi-final and not as central. Key man, though. Experienced, with good record on Limerick half backs.

12. Robbie O’Flynn

Club: Erin’s Own. Age: 23. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2018 v Clare.

Has done well in all games. Great pace and capable of winning puck-outs. Hard running wins plenty of frees and will try to get Diarmuid Byrnes on the back foot.

13. Jack O’Connor

Club: Sarsfields. Age: 22. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2018 v Waterford.

Has become fans’ favourite. The speedy team’s speedster. Scored critical goals against Kilkenny and Clare but can’t afford to miss the chances he creates against Limerick. Has form on Seán Finn.

14. Patrick Horgan

Club: Glen Rovers. Age: 33. Occupation: Sales Executive. Debut: 2008 v Tipperary.

Display in Thurles left questions. If he’d scored that penalty? Free striking hadn’t been as crisp but, encouragingly, his best came against Kilkenny even if occasionally wayward. Needs to maintain improvement.

15. Shane Kingston

Club: Douglas. Age: 23. Occupation: Student. Debut: 2016 v Dublin.

Dropped despite being on a goal a game, he exploded into the semi-final off the bench for MOTM display and the first sign of his transformative UCC form at intercounty.


Arguably the Cork bench is better than Limerick’s and if there’s to be a surprise it will come from here because their running game will require a relentless tempo to be maintained for 70 minutes.

They have ample cover at the back with Damien Cahalane bringing physicality and experience and Seán O'Leary-Hayes a decent option there as well.

The forwards have made quite an impact this championship. Shane Barrett, who started the last day and has 1-4 this campaign, Alan Connolly and Alan Cadogan, who upped the ante for Kilkenny, have contributed on the scoreboard whereas Kingston, starting on Sunday, was a sub the last day and changed the match with 0-7 from play. Recovered from injury, Declan Dalton adds variety.