Saturday 7 December 2019

Corbett loses out in semi-final fitness race

Lar Corbett, Tipperary
Lar Corbett, Tipperary

Jackie Cahill

Lar Corbett, the 2010 Hurler of the Year, has been ruled out of Tipperary's NHL Division 1 semi-final against Clare at the Gaelic Grounds next Sunday.

Assistant manager Michael Ryan has admitted that Corbett's knee injury is "not making the progress that we'd like" as Tipp prepare to lock horns with the All-Ireland champions in Limerick.

But Tipp boss Eamon O'Shea is preparing to welcome back Pádraic Maher, Michael Cahill and Patrick 'Bonner' Maher next weekend after the three players missed the quarter-final victory over Cork.

The trio returned to training last week with the Tipp squad and came through club fixtures unscathed over the weekend.

Ryan is hoping that Corbett can take some part in a training camp next week, with Tipp preparing for a stint in Clonea after the Clare game. But Ryan stressed that the squad get-together will be less intense than previous camps in recent years after a strenuous weekend of club activity.

Ryan explained: "Because all of the clubs have been out in the county championship, it won't be as intense as other camps... We'll either be preparing for Limerick in the championship or focusing on a league final.

"One way or the other, our season doesn't begin and end next Sunday. But it is an important step and we want to take a forward step. We have to be a little bit flexible in that it's not like a balloon and we won't be letting the air out if we don't get the result. We hope to get the right performance and trust the result."

Corbett's (pictured) knee problem remains a major concern for Tipperary, however. The 33-year-old forward has not featured in this year's Allianz League and Ryan admitted: "He's not making the progress that we'd like and it's probably going to take another bit of time.

"It's entirely disappointing for him and we'd love to have him back. But the bigger picture is that we have a large panel, of which Lar is only one. I feel sorry for him... But we'll stick with it. Now is not the time to get excited. We'll stay with the plan and trust the medical advisers.

"You can get the greatest care and opinion available to you but that doesn't actually mean success. That's the frustrating part: these are the crucial games to get under your belt to have a platform for later in the summer, in terms of intensity, skill, pace and familiarity.

"It's to know that yeah, I've been there and had game time. That's the disadvantage of being out long-term, you don't have that game time, the cuts and bruises, the inner belief that I've been at this level and intensity."

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