Corbett biding his time to hit summer peak
TIPPERARY star forward Lar Corbett has warned that it could be months rather than weeks before he's ready for senior inter-county hurling following his sensational return to the squad.
Corbett appears to have ruled out the prospect of featuring against Limerick in the Munster SHC quarter-final on Sunday week, insisting that his fitness is not up to the levels required for that sort of game.
That appears to be a realistic assessment from the 2010 Hurler of the Year, who has not swung a hurl in anger since his club, Thurles Sarsfields, lost to Clonoulty-Rossmore in October's Tipperary SHC semi-final.
Corbett, who stunned the hurling world by withdrawing from the Tipp panel in early February, citing business commitments as the reason behind his decision, last night thanked Premier manager Declan Ryan for leaving the door open.
The 31-year-old may not play any part in the Limerick game but the impact of his return and the boost that it will give to Tipperary's other panel members cannot be underestimated. And Corbett has warned that with a full deck to choose from, last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists will "give anyone a run".
Corbett, who will resume training with the squad tonight, reflected: "I am delighted to be back and fortunate that the management team have kept the door open for me. I have spent the last 11 years hurling for Tipperary and every time I pulled on a jersey I felt it an honour.
"While I had to take time out for business reasons, I knew in the back of my mind that if I could get structures in place with the bar (in Thurles) and a few other things that I would immediately want to come back. But I couldn't say at the time if that would be possible.
"Everyone appreciates how difficult it is at the moment to survive, let alone do well in business, and the pub trade, in particular, is so competitive now.
"You cannot take your eye off it for one minute and I just felt at the turn of the year that I had to take time out. But the time out has definitely worked well. I now have structures in place that allow me to go back and give the commitment that hurling for Tipp needs."
The 2001 and 2010 All-Ireland SHC medallist admits that he is "realistic" about his summer prospects and admits that he faces a real battle to regain a place in the starting line-up after missing the entire National League campaign.
"I am realistic about how much work I have to do to get my fitness level up to what it should be to play for Tipperary this year. And if I get into that position and I'm called on, I will do my living best. But we are talking months here, not weeks," he said.
"But I am willing to do what is needed. In the meantime, I will be supporting those lads on the first team and in the squad in every way I can.
"It's all about the Limerick game now, which will be a massive challenge as Limerick will rightly consider themselves as having a real chance."
But Corbett believes that Tipperary will have a real say in the destination of the major summer honours.
"While the league may have been disappointing, there were a good few lads injured who are now getting closer to full fitness -- the likes of (Patrick) 'Bonner' Maher, Seamus Callanan, Paul Curran, all of whom are great hurlers," he said. "Once those lads are back to full fitness, Tipp will give anyone a run.
"I will have the head down over the coming weeks and months and if Tipp are still involved later in the year, we will see what happens then."
Elsewhere, Dublin's Danny Sutcliffe will be fit for his side's Leinster SHC opener against Laois or Carlow on June 2. The cast has been taken off his injured hand and he is hoping to get back hurling this week.