Ryan delight as Tipp given clear club run-in to Cats decider
TIPPERARY GAA officials have confirmed a blanket ban on all club games involving members of the county hurling panel ahead of the All-Ireland final showdown with Kilkenny on September 4.
The initial expulsion of holders Carrick Swan from the South championship, and their subsequent reinstatement, had thrown up the prospect of their divisional semi-final replay against Mullinahone taking place before Tipp's meeting with Kilkenny.
Had the club game taken place this Sunday, Mullinahone's Paul Curran and county captain Eoin Kelly would have faced the prospect of playing an intense club fixture just two weeks before the Kilkenny tie.
Tipp manager Declan Ryan last night welcomed the decision not to play club games in the interim.
"It's good news. There's only three weeks to the final and all our focus is on that game," he said.
Ryan also confirmed a clean bill of health following Sunday's hard-fought semi-final victory over Dublin.
"There are no serious injuries. We have some sore bodies around but that's about it," he said.
Tipp will return to training this evening in preparation for a third successive final appearance against Kilkenny.
And Ryan is hoping to become the latest man to join the list of former All-Ireland-winning players who have also managed the county team to September glory.
"Plenty of Tipp teams over the last 20 years wouldn't have come through that game last Sunday. But it's a reflection of the character in the group. We knew that it would be a massive battle and the boys showed great bottle," he said.
Elsewhere, Kilkenny selector Martin Fogarty admitted that it looks like attacker Colin Fennelly will miss the final.
"Right now it looks bad," Fogarty said. "It looks like he will be out. We have to wait for a few days until we get a proper diagnosis on it."
Fennelly has made a significant impact since making his championship debut against Wexford this year and while his absence would be a blow, the Cats can call on the likes of the experienced Eddie Brennan.