EXCLUSIVE (updated at 12pm)
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CORK football boss Keith Ricken will have to plan for the upcoming Division 2 national league and championship campaigns without the services of a number of top West Cork players.
Tadhg MacCarthaigh clubman Kevin O’Driscoll (32) announced his retirement from inter-county football late last year and The Southern Star also understands that Bantry Blues’ Ruairi Deane, Clonakilty’s Sean White and Mark White and Castlehaven’s Michael Hurley will, for various reasons, not be involved with Cork for the season ahead.
Bantry man Deane (30) had become one of the leaders in the Cork set-up under previous manager Ronan McCarthy and was established as one of the senior members in the panel. Castlehaven forward Michael Hurley (25), who made his senior debut in 2016, was always a great option to spring from the bench, but his focus for the year ahead will be fully on his club football.
Clon footballer Sean White (26) enjoyed a tremendous campaign at wing back for his hometown club in 2021 as they went all the way to the Cork Premier SFC final, and the hope was that he would take that form into the inter-county set-up this year. White's younger brother, goalkeeper Mark, who has been involved with Cork in recent seasons, too, and caught the eye with his sweeper-keeper role for Clon last season has also decided to step back from inter-county football for 2022.
Carbery Rangers’ John O’Rourke will be back in Cork colours this season and is currently out with an injury.
Cork lost the McGrath Cup final to Kerry in Killarney last Saturday and begin their national league Division 2 campaign away to Roscommon this Sunday.