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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

A key figure for Cork has committed for 2016 as injury comeback continues

The news was confirmed after last night’s McGrath Cup final.

Alan O'Connor was man-of-the-match in last year's drawn Munster football final.
Alan O'Connor was man-of-the-match in last year's drawn Munster football final.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CORK’S FOOTBALLERS HAVE been boosted by the confirmation that Alan O’Connor has committed to their cause for the 2016 season and is on course for a comeback from long-term injury during this spring’s league.

O’Connor returned from retirement to the Cork panel last April and he gave a man-of-the-match display in last summer’s drawn Munster final against Kerry.

But he was struck down with a serious leg injury as Cork crashed out against Kildare in last July’s All-Ireland qualifier.

There was question marks over O’Connor’s inter-county future but Cork manager Peadar Healy confirmed to The42 after last night’s McGrath Cup final win over Clare that O’Connor is in training and is targeting a return in ‘six-eight weeks’.

Peader Healy Cork manager Peadar Healy saw his side win the McGrath Cup last night. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Alan O’Connor is training and training well. I’d hope that Alan would be back in about six to eight weeks.

“Unfortunately it was a hernia injury, he’d a hernia operation so that held him back. He’s back training and he’s back running. That just takes time.

“Alan drives that team on, he’s a great leader.”

Alan O'Conor leaves the field injured Alan O'Connor leaves the field injured after last July's game against Kildare. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cork are set to announce their league football panel on Monday morning ahead of next Sunday’s opening Division 1 clash against Mayo.

Apart from forward John Hayes who has retired, all of Cork’s 2015 panel are available for selection this season.

Several established players did not feature during the McGrath Cup but are expected to see game time shortly with Michael Shields the only confirmed injury absentee for the Mayo game.

“We’ll keep bringing in players, Alan and these fellas as they come back. We’ll keep rotating and giving exposure to the younger players.”

Defender Stephen Cronin, who fractured his leg in a club game last August, is also on the road to recovery and could feature in the senior league before his U21 commitments take hold.

Barry John Keane and Stephen Cronin Stephen Cronin (right) is a member of the Nemo Rangers club. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Stephen will be back training now shortly. He’s to just do a minor operation and then he’s good to go.

“He’ll be back full training then again. Hopefully we’ll get a game or two out of him.”

Healy’s primary league aim is for Cork to consolidate their Division 1 status.

“Stay in Division 1 for a start and I’d be satisfied with that and to give exposure to our new players. “

“It’s a tough one for sure, we don’t know what they’re going to bring. That game tonight will stand to us hopefully.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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