With the National League semi-finals approaching this weekend, Tipperary will have to make plans without corner back Donagh Maher, according to the Irish Examiner.
The 28-year-old picked up a hamstring injury at training on Tuesday and is now a doubt for the county’s Munster opener against Cork on May 21, having shone at corner back in the early rounds of the league.
Unfortunately he sustained a head injury against Clare last month meaning he hasn’t togged out since under concussion protocols. With this in mind, many had expected him to start in the corner for this weekend’s semi-final.
The timing of the injury makes life awkward for manager Michael Ryan. One option would be to field Cathal Barrett, who only had surgery on a troublesome ankle injury late last year and returned to the Tipperary lineup as a substitute in their quarter-final demolition of Offaly.
This means that he’ll likely have to start Daire Quinn or else Barrett will have step up to full competitive action sooner than Ryan would have wanted.
The news comes as a blow after good news on the personnel front over the past number of weeks. Star man Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher returned to the Tipperary fold recently following a peacekeeping mission in Syria’s Golan Heights. The Premier can also recall last year’s All-Ireland-winning captain, Brendan Maher. He is fit again having recovered from a shoulder injury picked up in the win over Clare last month.
The Irish Examiner also reports of some concern over the fitness of forwards Niall O’Meara and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer ahead of the semi-final with Wexford.
The Yellowbellies will push the reigning All-Ireland champions all the way, with manager Davy Fitzgerald hoping to continue Wexford’s good run with yet another scalp. If they manage a win on Sunday, it means that a Division 1B qualifier will take the league title three years in a row.
This Sunday’s game will be televised live on TG4 at 4pm.
Eoin Neylon, Pundit Arena