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Cork captain on the way back, O'Connor a doubt and U21 midfielder still marked absent

The Rebels play Dublin in Sunday week’s Allianz Football League Division 1 final.

Cork senior football captain Michael Shields.
Cork senior football captain Michael Shields.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

CORK CAPTAIN MICHAEL Shields is likely to be fit for Sunday week’s Allianz Football League Division 1 final clash with Dublin at Croke Park.

Shields sustained a groin injury in last week’s semi-final win over Donegal but manager Brian Cuthbert is confident of the skipper’s availability, though Donncha O’Connor remains a doubt.

“Michael Shields should be okay,” Cuthbert said. “We’ll see more during the week what the story is with him. We’ll see with Donncha too. He had a scan on a toe injury but it wasn’t conclusive.”

U21 midfielder Ian Maguire has been out of action since Cork’s win over Monaghan after suffering a back injury, but Cuthbert is reluctant to pin an exact date on his return.

“I don’t think there’ll be any timeline on it as to when he’ll be back but he’s certainly getting closer every week,” he said. “I’d say hopefully within two-to-three weeks he’ll be back training. We’ll see how he reacts to that and away we go then.”

Maguire’s absence has forced Cork to try different configurations at midfield, but the Rebels have coped well in that regard, leaving Cuthbert pleased.

The Rebels manager said: “We’ve tried plenty of different people at midfield and they’ve all brought positives to the job, to be fair. I think it’s a case of now that we can go horses for courses.

“I think it would have been nice for Ian to get through the league, considering his age profile and the fact that he only played two games for Cork last year, but that’s not going to happen. His experience is going to have to be learned elsewhere this season and hopefully he’ll be back soon enough.”

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Denis Hurley

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