Confirmation that Conor O'Sullivan has opted out of the Cork hurling panel has taken parts of the county by surprise given everything else appears to be going so swimmingly well.
O'Sullivan played no part in Sunday's dramatic Allianz Hurling League semi-final victory over Dublin, and the Cork management confirmed last night that he had opted out for the foreseeable future. O'Sullivan had featured in most of their opening league games, although hadn't seen much game time of late. With that the Sarsfields defender and former All Star nominee joins his club mate, Cian McCarthy, who also opted out last month, feeling he was unable to make the necessary commitment.
It remains to be seen what if any sort of setback it represents for Cork as they turn their attention to the final showdown against Waterford on Sunday week. Any team that extends their league campaign into the May Bank Holiday weekend would consider it bonus territory, and Cork's game against Waterford, set for Sunday May 3rd at Semple Stadium, should provide perfectly suitable championship preparation.
Patrick Horgan sees it that way, and after another high-scoring tally on Sunday (0-17, including 13 frees), he believes Cork are strengthening all the time, particularly in the forward line.
“We probably do have our best forward pick in the last number of years,” says Horgan, who helped drive Cork’s comeback from a 12-point deficit.
“We went in at half-time, nine down and people thought that we had no hope. But inside in our dressing room, we knew we have come back from that before. We knew that we were going to get chances.
He added: "Conor Lehane got four points, Paudie O'Sullivan, with his first touch, got a goal. So we are well able to score and fellows coming off the line are well able to score as well. We were missing a lot of fellas as well, Mark Ellis, Cormac Murphy, from our back line, but we know that we have fellas that are going to keep plugging away at the scoreboard."It worked on Sunday.