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Monday 18 December 2017

O'Neill woe for the Rebel force

CORK football manager Conor Counihan must manage without a depleted attack for Saturday's visit of high-flying Dublin to Páirc Uí Rinn (7.30).

Rebel full-forward Colm O'Neill strained a hamstring during Cork's first NFL defeat of the season against Tyrone last Saturday and will be out for at least two weeks while fellow inside man, Donncha O'Connor is suspended.

O'Neill, who rose to prominence during Cork's successful All-Ireland U21 campaign last year and kicked an early 1-1 in last year's All-Ireland SFC final, will definitely miss out on Dublin's visit and the trip to Derry for the penultimate round of the campaign, as will O'Connor, who was sent off on a straight red card against the Red Hand.

John Hayes is a likely starter in the duo's absence, though with James Masters opting out of the Cork squad last week, Counihan's inside forward options are currently sparse.

Counihan's defensive arsenal is currently light also in the continued absence of All Star backs Anthony Lynch, Graham Canty and John Miskella, while Ger Spillane is a doubt after limping out of the Tyrone match.

However, dual player, Eoin Cadogan is set to line out for the footballers this Saturday, having elected to play with the hurlers last Sunday for their victory over Kilkenny.

Cork's hurlers are away to Waterford this Sunday and Cadogan may yet decide to play both codes over the weekend. Veteran midfielder, Nicholas Murphy's participation on Saturday also hangs in the balance after he was forced out of the defeat in Healy Park with a hamstring strain after initially being selected to face Tyrone.

JJ DELANEY is almost certainly out of Sunday's NHL clash with Dublin in Parnell Park after suffering a shoulder injury close to the end of Kilkenny's defeat to Cork last Sunday.

The six time All-Ireland winner shipped a heavy knock to his left shoulder and was replaced by Seán Cummins in the 67th minute. Delaney and Kilkenny management are waiting for the results of a scan to discover the full extent of the damage, though there are fears that the veteran half-back may be out for an extended period of time.

Brian Cody will also be without Michael Grace after his sending off, while Richie Hogan is gone for six weeks after breaking a finger in the previous week's defeat to Tipperary.

PORTUMNA have made just one change to the side which comfortably beat Dunloy in Parnell Park in the AIB All-Ireland semi-final for tomorrow's Croke Park showdown with Ballyhale Shamrocks. Niall Hayes - suspended for the last round - comes in at right-half forward in place of Ciarán Ryan.

PORTUMNA: I Canning; A O'Donnell, E McEntee, O Canning; G Heagney, M Ryan, P Smith; L Smith, E Lynch; N Hayes, K Hayes, A Smith; D Hayes, J Canning, M Dolphin.

MAYO (U21F v Roscommon): R Hennell; P Mulchrone, S McHale, M Gallagher; L Keegan, E Reilly, S Prendergast; G McDonagh, S Nally; C Carolan, K McLoughlin, J Doherty; N Douglas, A O'Shea, A Freeman.

ROSCOMMON (U21FC): D O'Malley; J Sharkey, N Collins, M Higgins; J McKeague, N Daly, E Bannon, N Carty, K Higgins; P Garvey, C Shine, B Murtagh; A O'Hara, D Shine, N Kilroy.

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