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Setback for Cork as Lehane a major injury doubt ahead of Munster semi-final with Waterford

The Midleton player was man-of-the-match against Tipperary.

CORK HAVE BEEN hit with a setback ahead of Sunday’s Munster semi-final against Waterford with star forward Conor Lehane emerging as a major injury doubt.

Kevin Moran with Conor Lehane Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Lehane damaged his ankle in training and faces ‘a race against time’ to be fit.

The Midleton man delivered a man-of-the-match performance in the quarter-final win over Tipperary last month, when he struck 0-10.

“The main concern from the team the last day would be Conor Lehane,” said Cork boss Kieran Kingston, when speaking to The42 today.

“He picked up a knock in training and is in a race against time basically. It was a knock in his ankle.

“We’d be hopeful but it’s 50-50 whether he’d be available or not. He was outstanding, he’d a super game against Tipperary and has become this year in particular a leader for us.

“Therefore he’d be a monumental loss if he’s out.

“Having said that, you’ve to get on with these things and that’s why you’ve a panel. His misfortune if he doesn’t make it is another fella’s opportunity.”

Ronan Maher and Conor Lehane Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

If Lehane was to miss out, Cork could turn to either of the attackers that came on in the win over Tipperary – Luke O’Farrell and Michael Cahalane.

Both got on the scoresheet in that match while Lorcan McLoughlin may be another option as he could start midfield and shift Bill Cooper or Darragh Fitzgibbon to the half-forward line.

Daniel Kearney may also come into the frame at midfield after missing the Tipperary game through injury but playing recent championship games for his club Sarsfields in the interim.

Kingston believes there must be realism to the expectations surrounding an emerging Cork side, despite the widespread praise they received after defeating the All-Ireland champions.

“It’s one game, it’s one victory. A lot has been said about Tipperary and all that since that victory. But at the end of the day, it’s one match. We won’t get carried away with the fact that we beat Tipperary.

“It’s really setting us up for Waterford. I would think that the Waterford players and management were very happy coming out of Thurles a few weeks ago when they saw Cork beat Tipperary. They would have said, ‘Yeah that’s us in a Munster final anyway’.

“I think we need to be realistic about the expectations for this Cork team. It’s a young team, it’s developing. In 2010 Cork beat Tipperary but then didn’t win Munster and were beaten heavily by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final.

“We’ve won our first game in Munster and now have another one to prepare for. We’ve a long way to go.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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