INPHO/James Crombie
Rebel Rebel

Cork down 7 players from 2012 All-Ireland semi final loss for 2013 opener

Stephen Moylan says the Rebels are ready to go.

IT’S BEEN A notable transformation.

Of the 20 players that Cork boss Jimmy Barry-Murphy sent into combat in last August’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat against Galway, seven are unavailable for the Rebels for their 2013 championship opener next Sunday.

Midfielders Patrick Cronin (illness) and Lorcan McLoughlin (shoulder) are both out of action. Attacker Paudie O’Sullivan is also sidelined after breaking his fibula and tibia in late April.

In addition centre-back Eoin Cadogan is now focused on Conor Counihan’s Cork senior football squad while fellow defender Sean Óg Ó hAilpín has retired. Darren Sweetnam who came on as a substitute in that game has concentrated on forging a rugby career and he was in action recently for the Ireland U20 side in the Rugby World Cup.

While Niall McCarthy, another substitute involved in that match, is not part of the current panel.

It all means there are vacancies in the Cork side and the chance is there for fringe players to step into the breach for next Sunday’s Munster semi-final against Clare. Attacker Stephen Moylan, who came on as a substitute in four of Cork’s championship ties last summer, is poised to seize the opportunity and is in line to make his starting senior championship debut in the Gaelic Grounds.

“When we got the injuries, Jimmy (Barry-Murphy) got us in and told us it was up to the panel to step up to the plate. Fellas have taken it on themselves to step it up and drive on in training,” he says.

“Obviously the lads are very big players. With such a young team, Paudie, Patrick and Lorcan are losses with the experience they have. It’s up to other players now though to make a name for themselves.”

25 year-old Moylan, a Fitzgibbon Cup winner with UCC in 2009 and 2012, has had to be patient to reach this elite level of hurling.

“A lot of guys come in straight after minor and U21, it’s a natural progression. It wasn’t for me. I played Cork intermediate for a year,” he says.

“The big thing for me when I came in was that I knew I had to go for it. Coming in after the Fitzgibbon last year at 24, I knew it was my last chance. I was focused at it and determined to drive it on for myself and try to stay on the panel. I’m looking forward to it.

“There’s always great passion when Cork play Clare. I remember being up there (in Limerick) when Clare got the goal from Ollie Baker to win in 95. I was up there with my Dad. Even watching the Tipperary Limerick game, there’s something special about the Munster championship.”

Tipperary footballers sweat over fitness of key attacker Grogan