Cork manager Cleary hoping for home comforts against Donegal

Rebels facing Ulster champions at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness with Cork manager John Cleary before the National Football League Div 2 match played at Ballybofey on Sunday 28th January 2024. On the subs bench to the right seasoned players including Oisin Gallen and Michael Langan. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Donegal manager Jim McGuinness with Cork manager John Cleary before the National Football League Division Two match at Ballybofey in January Picture: Margaret McLaughlin (Margaret McLaughlin Photography / 07711 932889)

John Cleary believes Cork can turn the new surroundings of Páirc Uí Rinn to their favour when they welcome Donegal to Leeside on Saturday.

The Group Three encounter is being played at the smaller city venue due to ongoing works to restore the Páirc Uí Chaoimh pitch following Bruce Springsteen’s visit a fortnight ago.

“I don’t think it’ll make any difference except it’s a more compact venue,” said Cleary.

“If we can get a good Cork crowd out on Saturday, hopefully there’ll be a very good atmosphere. Then they can get behind us and we’ll give them something to shout about.

“We played all our League games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh but the lads are used to playing club games in Páirc Uí Rinn.

“Previously, a lot of them played inter-county level there and we do a lot of our training there.”

On the injury front, Cork will be without wing-back Luke Fahy.

The Ballincollig man was near-ever present this spring in his second full season on the panel and scored a late goal in the League draw with Armagh.

He’s facing another three weeks out which would also rule him out of the Tyrone encounter a fortnight later.

Talented forward Cathail O’Mahony is building up game time in training ahead of his return to the Cork jersey, having undergone a quad operation before Christmas.

“Cathail is back in training,” Cleary added. “He hasn’t played anything in two years. His injury is ok but trying to get him up to speed as regards match fitness is where we’re at at the moment.”