Gerald McCarthy has again offered Cork's rebels the chance to resume their inter-county careers after writing to all his striking players to seek clarity on their plans for the 2009 season. Last season's squad have remained steadfast in their claim that they will never play for Cork again as long as McCarthy is in charge, but the manager is still hopeful of a change of heart. Currently working with a development squad, McCarthy revealed to the Evening Echo, "I have written to the 30 players that were there during the NHL and during the championship. "I have outlined my plans for 2009 and I was also in a position to inform them that Dr. Con Murphy and physio Declan O'Sullivan would be on board next season, joining Aodhan McGearailt and Martin McSweeney in the backroom team. "It's important that things start moving quickly as we will be back into the thick of things from the first day of January getting ready for the Waterford Crystal and the league." McCarthy also insists he is happy to put the past behind him if the striking players opt to return. He added, "Everybody has been affected but we can move on and if the will is there it can happen. It is after all a sport, not a war. "I would sincerely hope that everybody I have written to makes themselves available, but if they don't I would hope that they won't stand in the way of others who want to play." McCarthy's new look side were beaten by five points by Waterford IT in the Waterford Crystal Cup on Sunday and afterwards he claimed, "I've made several approaches and several appeals, even up as far as a few days ago. "My door is always open. I think where there's dialogue, there's hope, but that's not for me to decide. I can't even speak to the players about any sticking points as regards me. I know I am legitimately elected and selected as Cork coach. I'm doing my job. "I have 35-36 players that are now my responsibility. I'm only concerned with people who want to hurl for Cork in the red jersey. "I'm not stupid. We have a team that's very inexperienced and everybody knows that. I don't have to tell you that. But we fear nobody." McCarthy has added former All-Ireland intermediate winning manager Johnny Keane as his fifth selector. Micko's Belief WICKLOW boss Mick O'Dwyer believes he can keep Thomas Walsh away from the clutches of his former Carlow side after masterminding an O'Byrne Cup win over an understrength Dublin on Sunday. New Carlow boss Luke Dempsey wants Walsh back in his native colors but O'Dwyer, without the player as he concentrates on rugby for the winter, can't see it happening. "He's a bit cheesed off, he lost his job and that type of stuff. But he's hoping, we're hoping that we might have a job for him in the not too distant future," said O'Dwyer. Walsh himself has refused to comment on the saga and told the Carlow Nationalist, "I have nothing to say to anyone and I would appreciate it if you wouldn't ring again. I have nothing to say. Cheers, good luck." No Geraghty New Meath boss Eamonn O'Brien has distanced himself from reports that Graham Geraghty could come out of retirement in time for the Leinster SFC clash with Dublin next June. Speaking after Meath's O'Byrne Cup defeat to Kildare on Sunday, O'Brien said, "I haven't spoken to Graham who, in fairness, has given great service to Meath and he made that decision to retire and I respect that. "He's given us 16 or 17 years of service and I wouldn't be putting any pressure on him to come back." Meath could also lose goalie Brendan Murphy, who is considering an offer to return to soccer with Longford Town. Kennelly Rumors Tadhg Kennelly has rubbished claims that he is on the brink of a move back to Kerry from the Sydney Swans after he was spotted meeting new Kingdom boss Jack O'Connor during a trip home at Christmas. "Rumors circulate every year when I go home. I am now back in Australia. I have returned to training with the Sydney Swans," a statement from Kennelly said. "I have a contract with the Swans until the end of 2009. That is all I will say at the moment." GAA Shorts Dual star Conal Keaney is missing from a 38-man squad named by new Dublin hurling boss Anthony Daly, while Ballyboden's Paul Ryan has opted out of the squad to spend a year traveling . . . Wexford have lost their main sponsor after confirmation on Monday that the Wexford Creamery organization has decided not to renew their deal . . . Kildare under-21 team captain Gary White is to miss the senior side's start to the NFL after undergoing surgery on a shoulder injury . . . Waterford stars Ken and Eoin McGrath will miss the start of the new season with knee and groin injuries respectively . . . Tyrone youngster Kyle Coney has turned down the chance to take up a pro contract with the Sydney Swans Aussie Rules side . . . Fermanagh star Barry Owens expects to recover from his latest cruciate knee ligament injury by the end of the NFL campaign . . . Down youngster Paul McComiskey is on track to resume his inter-county career in the NFL after a serious back injury . . . Limerick All-Ireland under-21 winning hurler Maurice O'Brien could switch allegiances to Dublin . . . Longford captain Liam Keenan faces a lengthy lay-off after picking up a serious leg injury over Christmas . . . Vincent Corey has taken over from Damien Freeman as captain of Monaghan's senior footballers . . . Scott Brady and P.J. Ward have opted out of the Offaly football squad for the 2009 season . . . Ollie Moran will miss the start of Limerick's NHL campaign with a knee injury . . . Floodlights are to be installed at St. Tiernach's Park in Clones later this year. Baltray Open Baltray will host the Irish Open for the second time in May, five years after the event was first staged on the historic Louth links. New title sponsors 3 have put a deal together that will allow the country's top tournament to switch from Adare Manor to one of Ireland's finest links courses. Two-time Open and reigning British Open and U.S. PGA Champion Padraig Harrington, who almost won the last time the event was played at Baltray, has welcomed the news. "I am delighted to hear that the Irish Open is returning to Baltray," said Harrington. "It is certainly one of the most exciting links courses in the country and one I have enjoyed playing in the past. I look forward to the tournament being a great success." Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley, added, "I was a member at Co. Louth as a junior and I am absolutely delighted that the Irish Open is going there. "The event has probably gone from the best inland course in Ireland - Adare Manor - to the best links course in Ireland, in my opinion, at Baltray." Meanwhile, Harrington is back up to third in golf's latest world rankings. Graeme McDowell is 37th, three places ahead of Rory McIlroy while Darren Clarke is 73rd, Gareth Maybin is 90th and McGinley is at 107. Munster Returnees Munster, who beat the Ospreys away in the Celtic League on Friday night, expect to have Ronan O'Gara and Paul Warwick fit for Friday's vital Heineken Cup clash with Sale in Limerick. Centre Rua Tipoki is out of both Munster's remaining pool games against Sale and Montauban however. Leinster, who travel to play Wasps in a must win game in Twickenham on Saturday, have worries over prop C.J. van der Linde who dislocated a toe in their Magners League victory at home to Cardiff. Flanker Shane Jennings has been ruled out of the London trip after he was suspended for three weeks by the IRFU following incidents in the recent Magners League game against Connacht.
Food & Drink
Celebrate Potato Day with these lovely spud recipes