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'He fixes a huge amount of problems' - Brendan Cummins on the player Tipperary must start in crucial Clare clash

11 March 2018; Cathal Barrett of Tipperary during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 5 match between Tipperary and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
11 March 2018; Cathal Barrett of Tipperary during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 5 match between Tipperary and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Brendan Cummins says that Tipperary manager Michael Ryan must start All Star Cathal Barrett in the Premier county's defence if they want to return to winning ways in the Munster championship.

A controversial umpire's decision allowed Tipp to snatch a draw with Waterford at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday, with Ryan's side coming back from 11 points down to tie the game.

Sunday's heroics come just one week on from a similar fightback against Cork in a game that also ended in a draw at Semple Stadium, which leaves Tipperary on two points but with zero wins from three Munster championship games.

They host a rested Clare side this Sunday and must deliver a victory if they are to advance to the All-Ireland series.

Tipp's defence has been exposed in all three of their games to date and speaking to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast, Cummins said that Barrett must be selected in the fullback line in order to tighten up Tipp's rearguard.

"When people analyse Tipperary they feel they have a right chance when they get the ball into their fullback line," Cummins said.

"Tipp are sluggish in the inside line. For me, Cathal Barrett has to play corner back the next day.

"He fixes a huge amount of problems. If you look at James Barry, he was a fantastic fullback when he had legs beside him with Cathal Barrett. Cathal Barrett leaves and James Barry is exposed. It is a unit in there between those three and there is no pace.

"When Cathal Barrett came on on Sunday, he made a huge difference around the middle but he would give confidence to the Tipperary fullback line."

Cummins also warned that Tipperary could suffer from playing for the fourth consecutive weekend, as fatigue begins to set in.

"One thing that I can't stress enough is that this is Tipp's fourth weekend on the bounce, the fatigue factor is going to be huge," he said.

"If Tipp go eight or nine points down like they have done before, it's going to be a long road back, especially since Clare have had a week off."

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