McGrath X-ray a boost for Tipp

TIPPERARY’S hurlers may still be reeling from their opening league defeat by Cork but the injury news on county captain Shane McGrath is not as bad as first feared.

McGrath suffered a blow to his left hand in the closing stages of Saturday night’s 12-point defeat, which forced Tipperary to finish the game with 14 men because they had already used their five substitutes.

There were immediate fears that the Ballinahinch player had broken his hand and would face a minimum of six weeks on the sideline, which would have ruled him out of the rest of the league.

McGrath (28) needed four stitches in a wound on the back of his hand and was clearly in a lot of pain.

But initial X-rays appear to confirm that no bones were broken, which will be a big relief for manager Eamon O’Shea.

McGrath is still expected to miss Tipperary’s tough second-round league meeting with Kilkenny on March 10 but could yet be back in time for their clash with Galway a week later.

There has been speculation that Tipp’s lacklustre performance came on the back of a heavy bout of physical training, but O’Shea has stressed that they were training “normally” and didn’t use that as a excuse.

Tipperary’s second league game, a repeat of last year’s one-sided All-Ireland semi-final against the Cats, has now taken on added significance as both counties lost their openers, to Cork and Galway respectively.

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