Tipperary forward Lar Corbett has warned it could be months rather than weeks before he’s ready for senior inter-county hurling following his sensational return to the Premier County squad.
But Corbett appears to have ruled out the prospect of featuring against Limerick in the Munster SHC quarter-final on Sunday week, May 27, by insisting his fitness levels are not up to the levels required yet.
“I am realistic about how much work I have to do to get my fitness level up to what it should be to play for Tipperary this year. And if I get into that position and I’m called on, I will do my living best. But we are talking months here, not weeks; that’s the level hurling is at nowadays.
“But I am willing to do what is needed and just delighted to have the chance to come back in.
“In the meantime, I will be supporting those lads on the first team and in the squad in every way I can.
“It’s all about the Limerick game now, which will be a massive challenge as Limerick will rightly consider themselves as having a real chance of winning this.”
But Corbett, 31, last night thanked Tipperary boss Declan Ryan and his backroom staff for leaving the door ahead of a possible return, which has now become a reality.
“I am delighted to be back and fortunate that the management team have kept the door open for me. I have spent the last 11 years hurling for Tipperary and every time I pulled on a jersey I felt it an honour.
“While I had to take time out for business reasons, I knew in the back of my mind that if I could get structures in place with the bar [in Thurles] and a few other things that I would immediately want to come back. But I couldn’t say at the time if that would be possible.
“Everyone appreciates how difficult it is at the moment to survive let alone do well in business and the pub trade, in particular, is so competitive now. Many bars are unfortunately going out of business across the country.
“You cannot take your eye off it for one minute and I just felt at the turn of the year that I had to take time out, concentrate on the work-life and put in more time into it.
“But the time out has definitely worked well. I now have structures in place that allow me to go back and give the commitment that hurling for Tipp needs and I am lucky to have 100% support from my business partner Kevin Coppinger in that.”
Corbett stunned the hurling world by withdrawing from the Tipperary panel in early February, citing business commitments. It is just two weeks since Corbett offered Tipp fans hope that he would return at some point in the future.
Corbett, who has scored 26 championship goals for Tipp, recently turned concert promoter for Bressie at the Premier Hallin Thurles and stated he wasn’t “ruling anything in or out with regard to the future”.
But he believes Tipperary will have a real say in the destination of the major summer honours and warned their opponents that with a full deck to choose from.
“The good thing is that while the league may have been disappointing, there were a good few lads injured who are now getting closer to full fitness, the likes of [Patrick] ‘Bonner’ Maher, Seamus Callanan, Paul Curran and more, all of whom are great hurlers and have big roles to play.
“Once those lads are back to full fitness, Tipp will give anyone a run. Personally, I will have the head down over the coming weeks and months and if Tipp are still involved later in the year, we will see what happens then.”
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