Wednesday 23 January 2019

Cathal Barrett back in Tipp starting team while Noel McGrath is axed


Tipperary boss Michael Ryan knows he has no room for error in Thurles tomorrow. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Tipperary boss Michael Ryan knows he has no room for error in Thurles tomorrow. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Michael Ryan has wielded the axe with star forward Noel McGrath the major casualty among three changes for Tipperary's do-or-die Munster SHC clash against Clare in Semple Stadium tomorrow (2.0).

The two-time All-Star attacker slips to the bench after a subdued display against Waterford with Cathal Barrett - who replaced him in their epic draw against the Déise last Sunday - coming in at midfield after impressing off the bench.

This will be Barrett's first championship start for Tipp since Ryan dropped him from the panel for disciplinary reasons 12 months ago as the Premier boss looks to keep their qualification hopes alive with a win against the Banner.

Patrick 'Bonner' Maher is also rewarded for his impact against Waterford - where he hit a crucial second-half goal - with selection at centre-forward as he replaces John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer, while Donagh Maher comes in for Michael Cahill.

Ryan knows only a win will suffice if the 2016 All-Ireland champions wish to prolong their summer, while opponents Clare have kept faith with the same starting 15 that impressed in their defeat of Waterford two weeks ago and come into this tie fresh, whereas this will be Tipp's fourth game in 21 days.

The other big tie in Munster sees Limerick host Waterford in the Gaelic Grounds tomorrow (2.0) - a 'home' game for Derek McGrath's side - and the Déise boss has welcomed skipper Kevin Moran back into the side following suspension.

Mikey Kearney is the player to lose out while Michael 'Brick' Walsh is named at half-back alongside former Hurler of the Year Austin Gleeson and Philip Mahony after impressing at the back against Tipp.

Aaron Gillane's suspension - red-carded for a pull on Seán O'Donoghue - in the Treaty's draw with Cork forces John Kiely into one change with former All-Star attacker Shane Dowling getting the nod up front for his first start since last July's Qualifier defeat to Kilkenny.

The Cats are also in action as they welcome Wexford to Nowlan Park tonight (7.0) and Brian Cody has named the same 15 which fell tamely to Galway two weeks ago in a game where the winner will decide who faces the Tribesmen in the Leinster SHC final.

Elsewhere, last year's beaten All-Ireland SFC finalists Mayo begin their Qualifier journey tonight in the Gaelic Grounds against Limerick (6.0) on another hectic GAA weekend. Former Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan is not selected while he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury but Stephen Rochford has made four changes from the side which fell to Galway in the Connacht SFC quarter-final last month.

Cian Hanley, younger brother of AFL star Pearce, makes his first championship start in attack having returned home from a four-year spell in Australia with the Brisbane Lions.

Ger Cafferkey also comes in at full-back while Evan Regan and captain Cillian O'Connor bolster their forward division as Tom Parsons (injured), Diarmuid O'Connor (suspended), Jason Doherty and Conor Loftus miss out.

Johnny Moloney and Brian Darby come straight into the Offaly side for their Qualifier clash with Antrim in O'Connor Park tonight (6.0) having returned to the Faithful fold under interim boss Paul Rouse, who replaced Stephen Wallace last month in the wake of their shock Leinster SFC defeat to Wicklow.

Elsewhere, Galway defender Eoghan Kerin has emerged as the Tribesmen's biggest doubt for tomorrow week's Connacht SFC final clash with Roscommon after being rated as "touch and go" by manager Kevin Walsh yesterday.

Ciarán Duggan and Paul Conroy have won their race for fitness despite missing the win over Sligo. "Paul had trained but did a bit of damage to his ankle. He had a bit of an ankle problem but we hope that will be okay," Walsh said.

"Ciarán had a small bit of a hamstring but hopefully that will be okay as well. He has missed the last week-and-a-half or two weeks. We'll see this week coming up but he is getting there. It looks to be okay. We had a few injuries coming up to that game so the main majority of them should be back as well. We're hoping all this week will go well too."

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