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Boost for Cork footballers as long-serving forward O'Connor commits to play in 2018

The 2010 All-Ireland winner has decided to stay on board.

LONG-SERVING CORK forward Donncha O’Connor has opted to prolong his inter-county career by committing again for the 2018 season.

Donncha O’Connor celebrates scoring his side first goal Donncha O'Connor won an All-Ireland senior medal with Cork in 2010. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

O’Connor, who turns 37 in April, had been weighing up his options and has seen team-mates Alan O’Connor, Ken O’Halloran and Michael Shields all retire in the off-season.

But The42 has learned that O’Connor has decided again to make himself available for the coming campaign which will be his 13th year involved with the Cork senior squad.

The Ballydesmond clubman has yet to rejoin the squad for collective sessions but is currently on a personal training programme and will link up with his Cork team-mates in the coming weeks.

The 2010 All-Ireland winner is one of only three players still involved from the starting team of that success against Down seven years ago. Paul Kerrigan and Aidan Walsh are both still featuring while forward Colm O’Neill came on as a substitute in that game and defender Jamie O’Sullivan was part of the panel.

O’Connor hit 0-5 in that final success over Down and 1-5 in the semi-final victory over Dublin.

Donncha O'Connor celebrates at the final whistle Donncha O'Connor celebrates Cork's 2010 All-Ireland final victory. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

O’Connor’s decision is a major boost to new boss Ronan McCarthy given the wealth of experience he possesses at a time when Cork’s squad is in the midst of transition with several youngsters being drafted in.

The 2017 championship saw the attacker illustrate his ability to still impact at inter-county level. He came off the bench to hit 0-3 and help prevent Cork suffering a shock defeat to Waterford last May.

His scoring contributions as a substitute continued when he contributed 0-2 in the narrow win against Tipperary and notched 0-6 in the Munster final loss to Kerry.

The veteran forward started in Cork’s All-Ireland qualifier against Mayo and struck 0-6 as they lost out by a point after extra-time in the Gaelic Grounds.

Donncha O’Connor looks on during the match Donncha O'Connor during last summer's clash between Cork and Mayo at the Gaelic Grounds. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

O’Connor was a latecomer to inter-county football. He was a sub on the Cork team that won the All-Ireland junior football title in 2005 but came off the bench in that final to score 0-2 and was brought onto the senior squad afterwards by Billy Morgan.

He made his inter-county debut for Cork in 2006 against Dublin and has since been a regular for Cork. Aside from the 2010 All-Ireland success, he has four Munster senior football medals and four National league medals to his name.

Cork’s pre-season preparations concluded when they play Clare in Mallow in the McGrath Cup final next Saturday before they open their Allianz Division 2 football league campaign with a tie against Tipperary in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday, 27 January.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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