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Evening Echo Midleton College delight as


they retain the Mungret Cup Midleton College captain Bryan Moore raises the trophy after defeating Bandon Grammar school in the Mungret Cup final in Cobh yesterday. See P49 for match report.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Munster ace O’Connell targets April return date MUNSTER and Ireland fans breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday after Paul O’Connell announced that he hoped to be back playing by April if all goes according to plan. While he hasn’t ruled out a return for the last game of the Six Nations against Italy on March 16, he said he thinks it’s unlikely. “If I was it would be a bonus but I don’t think it’s going to happen. It will be sometime in April. I’ve just got to make sure I get it right and I’m right.”


By SEAN McCARTHY And he certainly wasn’t ruling pushing for a place on the Lions. “You'd never rule it out but I'll be back playing in April so it's probably going to be very tough. “You would imagine the Lions squad is going to be picked on the basis of the Six Nations so it’s going to be very difficult to make it on that trip. I’d love to get back playing in April and see what happens.

“I’d love to get going on some tour during the summer, be it with Ireland or the Lions.” He’ll be hoping the Reds can make it through to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup. “Yeah, it would be great. We all want to play in the big games and there’s no bigger games in April than the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.” While people may have thought otherwise, the second row was never fearful that the bulging disc which required surgery just after Christmas would

Eoin back for Rebels

CORK footballers expect to have Eoin Cadogan back training tonight and be available for selection for the McGrath Cup quarter-final against Tipperary at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 2pm. The 26-year-old dual star is due back from holiday in Australia and is likely to figure at some stage against Tipp as Cork build-up to their opening league game against Dublin at Croke Park on February 2. The team to face Tipp in a repeat of last year’s final, which Cork won by 0-13 to 0-6, will be announced tonight and is set to show a number of changes from last week’s preliminary round win over CIT.

end his career. “You treat the symptoms first and foremost but an MRI also helps. On the MRI it wasn’t that bad and the symptoms weren’t that bad either. It was only when I played and trained that I had symptoms at all, really. “At the same time you never really know with a back, but I was happy then with the medical staff and how they felt about it and particularly how the surgeon felt about it, particularly after the operation.” ● See more rugby on P48-50.

Cadogan returns from Oz to likely play a role against Tipp GAA

By MARK WOODS Numbers at training earlier in the week were boosted by more players coming back from holidays which will give manager Conor Counihan further options. Fintan Goold, Barry O’Driscoll and Carbery Rangers’ Brian Shanahan are among those expected to see game-time while captain Graham Canty is also close to returning fol-

lowing injury. Daniel Goulding, though, is still on the injured list while Cork await news of the availability of Aidan Walsh and Ciarán Sheehan. Walsh appealed the decision which prevents him from lining out with DCU in the Sigerson Cup while Sheehan didn’t play for CIT against Cork, but whether he’s free to play with the county remains to be seen. Meanwhile, a number of other Cork panelists will be part of the UCC set-up for their first game in the Mc-

Grath Cup against Kerry in Killarney on Sunday. They are Jamie O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), Eoin O’Mahony (Macroom), Brian Coughlan (Kinsale) and Tom Clancy (Fermoy). There were mixed fortunes for Castlehaven pair, Mark Collins and Brian Hurley, in the second series of games in Leinster’s O’Bryne Cup. Collins received a second yellow card late in DIT’s 0-12 to 0-8 defeat by Kildare while Hurley was one of Carlow IT’s scorers in their shock 0-12 to 0-12 win over Wexford. ● See more GAA on P47.

EE - V1

Fergie hopes game passes off peacefully SOCCER

ALEX FERGUSON EHORZ is crossing his fingers Manchester United’s powderkeg Premier League encounter with Liverpool on Sunday passes off without incident. It will be the first time United, who are being heavily linked with Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha, will have met their north-west rivals at Old Trafford since Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra’s hand in last season’s corresponding fixture. However, the pair did make their peace at Anfield in September, which Ferguson is hopeful will be a sign of things to come. “There will always be a certain build-up to a Manchester United-Liverpool game, simply because of the history between the two clubs, the two most successful in the country,” Fergie said. “It brings its own agenda in terms of profile and pre-match discussion.” Behind the scenes, it seems efforts to land Zaha are intensifying, with both Arsenal and Tottenham now said to be distancing themselves from the teenager, who is one of English football’s hottest properties. As Fergie prepares to face former Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo when his side take on Real Madrid in the Champions League next month, Ferguson confirmed his belief that Ronaldo has improved since his exit for Spain in 2009. “Maturity brings many things,” said Ferguson. “When I went to see them play against (Manchester) City, some of his decision making in terms of passing was brilliant. One-touch passing, good crosses. “His decision-making, his maturity, his experience make him the complete player.” ● See P52-53 for more.

Adult Swim Lessons The Mardyke Arena will host an 8 week course of adult lessons commencing 15th, 16th, 17th January. Classes are open to beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Morning Classes

Evening Classes

Tues 10am Level 1,2,3

Tues 9pm Level 1, 2,3

Wed 11am Level 1,2,3

Wed 9pm Level 1, 2,3

Thurs 10am Level 1,2,3

Thurs 8pm Lane Swim 9pm Level 1, 2,3

Log onto for more information or contact reception on 021 4904751

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