Tipp to make do without Maher

Philip Maher is expected to be missing from the Tipperary senior hurling panel for some time after the Borrisoleigh defender decided to withdraw himself temporarily from the squad.

Philip Maher is expected to be missing from the Tipperary senior hurling panel for some time after the Borrisoleigh defender decided to withdraw himself temporarily from the squad.

Tipp manager Michael 'Babs' Keating has allowed the 27-year-old full-back, who was an All-Ireland and AllStar winner in 2001, some time out.

Revealing the reasons behind Maher's unavailability, Keating said: "Philip is getting married, building a house and he's under pressure. He's been struggling with a knee injury too."

Maher is expected to return to the Premier County panel later this year, with Tipp facing Limerick in their Munster SHC semi-final clash on June 10.

Meanwhile, Keating has included two newcomers in his side for Sunday's NHL Division 1B encounter with Antrim (Templemore, throw-in 1pm).

Goalkeeper Gerr Kennedy from Killenaule will make his league debut, deputising for Brendan Cummins, while Shannon Rovers clubman Alan Byrne will start at left corner-back in place of Declan Fanning for his league bow.

There are also starts for James Woodlock in midfield and Micheal Webster at full-forward, with Shane McGrath and Danny O'Hanlon the players to make way. It will be Webster's first start of the season.

Tipp have never lost a National League match against Antrim, with 15 wins in 15 games, although the Saffrons did test them last year when Keating's men were made to battle hard for a 1-11 to 1-7 win at Cushendall.

TIPPERARY (NHL v Antrim) - G Kennedy; E Buckley, P Curran, A Byrne; E Corcoran, C O'Mahony, B Dunne (capt); J Woodlock, F Devanney; J Carroll, D Egan, L Corbett; E Kelly, M Webster, P Kelly.

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