By Jackie Cahill
All-star defender Cathal Barrett has been dropped from the Tipperary senior hurling panel, it has emerged.
Manager Michael Ryan informed panel members of his decision prior to a meeting this evening to discuss the fall-out from the recent Munster SHC quarter-final defeat to Cork.
Barrett (23) damaged his knee against the Rebels in Thurles, and could be ruled out of action for up to eight weeks with ligament damage.
But Ryan has still decided to cut the Holycross-Ballycahill man loose, and the punishment is related to an internal issue.
Barrett was set to miss Tipp’s next championship outing – their first round All-Ireland SHC qualifier on July 1 – in any event.
And while he has been released for now, Ryan could yet to decide to recall the tenacious defender should Tipp regroup and make inroads in the All-Ireland series.
This evening marked the first time that Ryan and his charges got together since the four-point loss to Cork last Sunday week, although it’s understood that one-to-one meetings took place last week.
It's believed that Ryan met his players at Semple Stadium for clear-the-air talks.
His decision to drop Barrett was made known to the players well in advance, however.
Ryan has shown in the past that he’s not afraid to make big calls, having left John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer out of his starting team for last year’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over Galway, after he was suspended for the Munster final.
Ryan’s handling of O’Dwyer worked as the Killenaule player came off the bench to score a crucial late goal, before producing a sparkling final performance in the victory over Kilkenny after regaining his starting place.
Barrett was Young Hurler of the Year in 2014 and he earned the right corner back spot on the 2016 GAA/GPA Opel All-Star team – but his long-term future under Ryan is now uncertain.
Meanwhile, senior football team goalkeeper Evan Comerford is expected to appeal against the 12-week ban proposed by the county's Competitions Control Committee on Monday evening.
Comerford, 22, has three days to respond after he was suspended for "minor physical interference" following an incident with referee Paddy Russell in a club game last week.
It's understood that members of the county's hearings committee have been put on notice and told that they may convene on Friday evening to hear Comerford's case.
As things stand, 2016 All-Star nominee Comerford is ruled out of club and inter-county football until mid-August.