O’Meara a Premier concern for final
EXCITING young forward Niall O’Meara has emerged as an injury concern for Tipperary ahead of Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League final against Kilkenny in Thurles.
The Kilruane MacDonaghs player missed his club’s weekend victory over Cashel King Cormacs with a hand injury sustained in the league semi-final victory over Clare.
Premier County medics are assessing the problem and there are unconfirmed reports that O’Meara, who captained Tipperary’s U-21s last year, may have broken a finger.
O’Meara goaled on his league debut against Cork in the quarter-final and he made a big impact in the semi-final victory over Clare, registering three points from play.
Meanwhile, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher is expected to be fit in time for the Thurles showdown with the Cats, despite a minor quad strain.
Maher (24) was injured training with Tipperary in Clonea last week and while he missed Lorrha-Dorrha’s county SHC victory over Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams last weekend, he is expected to line out against Kilkenny.
Goalkeeper Darren Gleeson did not start for his club Portroe at the weekend, while Gearoid Ryan, who has made a welcome return to inter-county hurling, sustained a nasty head injury on duty with Templederry Kenyons.
Liam McGrath, captain of Tipp’s All-Ireland minor winning footballers in 2011, picked up a fresh hamstring problem and Paddy Stapleton is a major doubt with a hand injury.
Manager Eamon O’Shea will monitor the injury situation over the coming days but assistant boss Michael Ryan has confirmed that 2010 Hurler of the Year Lar Corbett will miss out once again.
Corbett (33) has not figured in this year’s league campaign and Ryan revealed: “He’s had some treatment on it – it is a problem at the back of his knee. It’s not a structural thing as I understand it.
“It’s not ligaments and it’s not cartilage. He’s seeing the top guys and we remain very positive that we’ll have Lar (back) soon.
“We’re a little over five weeks out now to the championship and that’s what we’re setting our target as for Lar. We’ll see.
“If he’s available we’ll be thrilled, if not, the show goes on. It’s as simple as that.”
Meanwhile, Ryan has insisted that Kieran McGeeney is playing “an important role” within the Tipperary set-up.
“When you think about Kieran McGeeney, you think of excellence,” he said. “If it helps us take a step towards excellence and a better performance, we’ll be delighted.”