Sunday 21 January 2018

Tipp prospect Maher facing six months on sidelines after suffering dislocated shoulder

O'Shea and Gleeson call for Fitzgibbon Cup fixtures to be moved to avoid 'frantic' clash with national league

Denis Maher, Tipperary, leaves the field after picking up an injury
Denis Maher, Tipperary, leaves the field after picking up an injury
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Promising Tipperary hurler Denis Maher is facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a dislocated shoulder in Sunday's Allianz Division 1A match against Galway.

Maher is to visit a specialist to assess the damage this week, and if it is established that he requires surgery he could miss up to six months.

Maher picked up the injury in a 41st-minute collision. He had been prominent in the opening quarter for the home side, scoring a point, setting up another for Kieran Bergin and then winning a free which Seamus Callanan converted for an early three-point lead.

At the very least, Maher looks set to miss the remainder of the league.

But Patrick 'Bonner' Maher is expected back for the Clare game in two weeks' time after missing the opening rounds with a hamstring injury.

Shane McGrath should also be back as he recovers from a concussion sustained against Dublin in the opening round. But Joe O'Dwyer, who picked up a shoulder injury against Dublin, will miss the Clare game.

Meanwhile, Tipp goalkeeper Darren Gleeson says he has sympathy for players immersed in league and Fitzgibbon Cup activity during these weeks and feels the timing of the third-levels games needs to be looked at.

Significantly both managers in Thurles on Sunday, Tipp's Eamonn O'Shea and his Galway counterpart Anthony Cunningham, touched on the issue of fatigue and the taxing nature of the league schedule.

Cunningham said some of his players showed signs of tiredness while O'Shea said he will welcome the two-week break because of the "frantic" nature of the schedule.

"I am glad of the break. I'll tell you why - we have 12 players on Fitzgibbon duty. We have a panel of around 35 and on any given night, the most I'll have is 16," said O'Shea.

"Take six players injured, 12 Fitzgibbon Cup players - if they play with their college, we don't double-train them. So it's a little bit difficult to know where you are.

"It's hard-going for amateur players. I know it's good in terms of the interest from the media and so on. But it's hard going Sunday after Sunday."

Gleeson feels their plight must be targeted.

"Some of them have played three matches this week so you're not going to get much more work into them. You're trying to keep lads off the treatment table and on the field," he said.

"There are suggestions about starting (the league) before Christmas and taking a longer break but I wouldn't be looking into that. It's important for lads to have a down season. You're 10 months on the go, you need your six or eight weeks off before Christmas.

"I think they're working well with the schedules within the parameters that they have. Maybe that's something they should look at, the timing of the college fixtures, as it affects the league preparations of county teams."

Gleeson feel there was too much read into Tipp's opening-day defeat to Dublin and that Ger Cunningham's side should be given much more credit for that result.

"When you look at Dublin turning over Kilkenny as well, maybe people would want to look at Dublin and give them the respect," he said.

"They showed us what a good team they were last week and maybe that's the big point to be taken out of it, not to be over-analysing Tipperary."

Gleeson has credited John McGrath for his successful full league debut as he set up both Tipp goals and also added a couple of points before being replaced by his cousin Noel McGrath.

"It's important to win when guys like 'Bonner' are missing. He's a focal point of the attack. We found a new one in young John, though," he said.

Irish Independent

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