Saturday 20 January 2018

Tipp's Kelly to be patched up after injury scare

Jackie Cahill

TIPPERARY are confident that Eoin Kelly will be fit for Sunday's All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Waterford despite a late injury scare for the Premier County captain.

Five-time All Star Kelly (28) has suffered a slight recurrence of the back injury that has troubled the Mullinahone clubman over the last two seasons.

In 2009, Kelly received no fewer than seven epidurals to get him through the championship as the problem was well managed by team medics.

After missing the entire 2009 National League campaign, Kelly peaked towards the latter end of the season and produced his best form in the All-Ireland final against Kilkenny.

This year, the corner-forward has enjoyed a trouble-free campaign, featuring regularly throughout the National League and playing without pain in the championship to date.

Kelly revealed before the season that his back is sometimes tight, but manageable with physio and regular maintenance.

Tipperary insiders insist that Kelly (above) will be fit to line out on Sunday and the player himself is hopeful, but he may require another injection to get him through the afternoon.

It remains to be seen whether or not Kelly takes a full part in training on Thursday evening before manager Liam Sheedy announces his starting line-up that night.

The big selection dilemma is who starts at centre-forward for Tipperary against Waterford's dominant centre-back, Michael 'Brick' Walsh.

Shane McGrath made a sensational impact when switched back to his preferred midfield position during the All-Ireland quarter-final against Galway and the Ballinahinch clubman is expected to partner Brendan Maher in the centre following his stint in the half-forward line.

David Young, who was withdrawn early against Galway, looks like he will lose out this time and with Patrick 'Bonnar' Maher expected to start at centre-forward, a position is up for grabs in the half-forward line.

Seamus Callanan, who scored a goal against Galway after coming on as sub, John O'Brien and Pa Bourke are the three battling it out for a position up front.

Sheedy also has the option of moving Noel McGrath or Lar Corbett from the full-forward line to the wing, which could see Callanan, O'Brien or Bourke used in the inside line.

Sheedy confirmed last week that Pat Kerwick, who made a big impact last season, requires groin surgery and will play no part in the remainder of the championship.

Kerwick featured in just one competitive game for Tipperary this season -- against Offaly in the National Hurling League.

The Killenaule clubman attempted comebacks against Dublin and Clare in challenge matches but was forced off with a recurrence of his groin problem on both occasions.

Irish Independent

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