Tipp hit with devastating 'Bonner' blow as Maher ruled out for rest of the championship with ACL tear
Patrick 'Bonner' Maher looks certain to play no further part with Tipperary's hurlers this season after becoming the latest inter-county star to suffer the curse of the cruciate.
Maher landed awkwardly on his knee before half-time of Sunday's Munster SHC victory over Limerick and was in serious discomfort when stretchered off.
The 29-year-old underwent an MRI scan yesterday to ascertain the damage and his worst fears were confirmed with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of his knee.
Should the two-time All-Star attacker undergo surgery as expected, he faces at least nine months recovering on the sidelines in what is a huge blow to Premier boss Liam Sheedy.
The Lorrha-Dorrha forward had been enjoying a superb run of form and his absence will be a major setback as Tipp eye provincial and All-Ireland glory in Sheedy's second coming as county boss.
The potential loss of Maher could, however, be offset somewhat by the return of Niall O'Meara, with the Kilruane MacDonaghs forward on the comeback trail for their Munster final date with Limerick on June 30 having overcome a hamstring injury.
The news is not so good for Cathal Barrett though as he looks set to miss the Treaty clash having picked up a minor hamstring strain on Sunday.
However, former Young Hurler of the Year Barrett had no visible limp leaving the pitch, after going down on the greasy Semple Stadium surface, and the tigerish defender is expected to be fully fit in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, Wexford look set to be without Aidan Nolan for their Leinster final clash with Kilkenny after the Model attacker was sent off by referee Fergal Horgan following the final whistle of Saturday's meeting with the Cats.
Nolan was seen remonstrating with the Tipperary whistler at the end of the drawn encounter. It is understood the Wexford player was frustrated with the amount of injury-time that had been played.
The clock at Innovate Wexford Park stopped for the last 60 seconds of the game and reports suggest the Buffers Alley clubman believed the match official had made a mistake.
As it stands, Nolan will play no part in Davy Fitzgerald's squad as he looks likely to serve a one-match ban, although Wexford could yet decide to appeal the decision.