Evans rocked as Tipp quartet pull out
TIPPERARY boss John Evans (right) has been rocked by the loss of four players, including full-back star Ciaran McDonald, ahead of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
McDonald, wing-back Chris Aylward (22) and promising U-21 midfielder Alan Moloney (20) have all left Ireland for a summer stint in the USA, while forward Sean Carey has decided to concentrate on hurling with the county U-21s.
It is a massive blow as Tipperary face a tough challenge against the winners of Meath/Laois in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers.
However, the county manager said the quartet had gone with his blessing.
"Sean Carey has had a long year with the seniors and he wants to have a shot with the U-21 hurlers," Evans said.
"With Ciaran, Chris and Alan, I was talking to them and negotiating with them, but there's just no employment here.
"They're gone to America with my blessing. They're young lads, strapped for cash and going to college.
"They need the money and their commitment has been second to none. If I could get them a job here I would, but I'm afraid I can't," Evans added.
The date for Tipperary's first game in the qualifiers depends on who their opponents are.
If they face Meath the game will be on Saturday, June 26, at Thurles (7.0), but if it is Laois it will be in Semple Stadium the next day (3.30).
All the other first round football qualifiers will take place on Saturday, June 26, and the confirmed venues and times are outlined below.
The arrangements for the first three games in hurling's 'backdoor' championship have also been confirmed.
Carlow will play Laois, in Dr Cullen Park (7.0), on June 26, in hurling's preliminary round and the winners of that game will play Antrim in phase one, at Casement Park on Saturday, July 3 (3.30).
Hurling's other phase one game, between Tipperary and Wexford, is in Thurles on July 3 (3.30) and is being televised live.
All-Ireland SFC qualifiers first round (June 26) -- Carlow v Derry, Dr Cullen Park (5.0); Kildare v Antrim, Newbridge (7.0); Offaly v Clare, Tullamore (5.0); Longford v Mayo, Pearse Park (7.0); Armagh v Donegal, Crossmaglen (3.30, Live RTE); Cavan v Wicklow, Breffni Park (7.0); London v Wexford, Ruislip (time to be confirmed).