But experienced defender Brian Murphy returns to the bench for a novel clash expectd to attract a bumper attendance of over 50,000 to Croke Park
- Cork defender Brian Murphy is poised for a dramatic return to championship action after being named on the bench for Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling semi-final against Dublin.
Murphy broke his collarbone in a club game at the end of June, effectively ruling him out for the rest of the season although he didn’t give up hope.
Described by manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy as “probably the best man-marker in the country”, Murphy is one of only two previous All-Ireland winners within the current Cork panel (along with wing back Tom Kenny), and his experience will prove a big asset.
Indeed a friend in the horse industry pointed Murphy towards Dr Philip Pritchard, based in England, who specialises in the recovery from broken collarbones, without an operation, given the frequency of such injuries to jockeys.
Murphy only returned to light training at the end of July, yet Barry-Murphy has clearly seen enough to list him among the substitutes for Sunday.
The starting 15 is unchanged from the quarter-final win over Kilkenny last Sunday week, this time players listed in the positions they actually played – including the full forward line of Luke O’Farrell, Patrick Horgan and Conor Lehane.
Team captain Pa Cronin is named in the half forward line long with Séamus Harnedy and Jamie Coughlan.
Dublin won’t have played since their Leinster final win over Galway five weeks ago, and manager Anthony Daly may well juggle his starting 15.
Daly will name his team after training this evening, but said recent training matches involving A’s v B’s will have a bearing on who gets to start on Sunday.
“It’s one of the things that the boys asked us to do at the start of the year,” he says, “to go on merit, and to reward performance more. . . What we tried to do that this year was if a fella has shown form he goes up the ladder, and I think in general we have tried to do that.”
Daly agrees the five-week break has afforded more players the chance to impress.
“Fellas like Conor McCormack, who lost his place starting the last couple of games, is playing well in training. Mark Schutte is playing really well, Eamon Dillon playing really well too. And fellas like Chris Crummy and Kevin Byrne that weren’t in the 26 are pushing hard . . .”
Sunday’s game is poised to attract one of the largest All-Ireland hurling semi-final attendances in years, with 40,000 tickets already sold for a clash expected to attract over 50,000.
Ticket sales have been partly boosted by the special semi-final package to cover both All-Ireland semi-finals involving Dublin. Special tickets for both this Sunday’s hurling semi-final and Dublin’s football semi-final against Kerry on September 1st are priced at €65 (stand), offering a saving of €15.
Terrace tickets for both games are also being made available for €40; children can access the Davin and Cusack Stands for both games for €10.
Cork and Dublin haven’t met in a semi-final since 1928, when Cork won. On Sunday Dublin are seeking their first win over Cork in the championship since the 1927 All-Ireland final.