Byline: DENIS HURLEY
ALL-IRELAND football champions Cork have been handed a boost with the news that their captain Graham Canty is available for their Munster championship opener with Clare at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday.
Canty has been suffering with a hamstring injury for the bulk of the last 18 months, missing most of last year's National League and all of this year's campaign, while he was only able to play 30 minutes of last September's All-Ireland final over Down.
His outing for club Bantry Blues in the Cork premier intermediate championship 10 days ago was his first competitive game since October, but he came through that and half of a challenge match against Laois. Now getting rid of the rustiness is all that is stopping him. 'I'm available for selection but I wouldn't say I'm at full fitness because I don't have matches under my belt, although at least the injury is cleared up,' said Canty.
'There were no complications, I just had a lot of work to do on it. I had to get a proper foundation and when I had that done I could build on it.
'The last thing I wanted to happen was for it to bite me later in the year, so hopefully it will stay right for the rest of the summer.' It's often said that players make the worst spectators, something Canty can readily identify with. His workload during the spring rarely involved a football, though it was something that had to be endured for long-term benefit.
'It was frustrating, even watching the lads in training when you're having to work at the side of the pitch with the conditioning coach, but you understand that what you're doing you're doing for a reason,' he said.
'Without doing it you're only fooling yourself. you could have played a game here and a game there but you wouldn't have the same foundation and hopefully that will stand to me now.' Of course, Cork didn't exactly struggle despite missing Canty, goalkeeper Alan Quirke and Anthony Lynch for all of the League, while another experienced player, Nicholas Murphy, was limited to a few cameos.
That they managed to lift the trophy …