Tipperary manager Liam Kearns has described the 12-week ban handed down to goalkeeper Evan Comerford as “draconian” and a “hammer blow” to the Premier County’s championship hopes.
Comerford, 22, is considering a switch to League of Ireland soccer after he was slapped with the lengthy suspension following a recent incident involving referee Paddy Russell in a club outing.
Kilsheelan-Kilcash player Comerford was reported for ‘minor physical interference’ and the 2016 All-Star nominee is suspended from club and inter-county activity until mid-August.
Kearns revealed he’s also without eight other squad members through injury ahead of Saturday’s Munster SFC semi-final against Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Former captain Paddy Codd is also in a race against time to be fit after he damaged a hamstring in a challenge against Westmeath last week.
Promising young midfielder Jack Kennedy is the latest absentee after he sustained a hamstring injury last weekend while Ciarán McDonald, Philip Austin, Willie Connors, Joe Hennessy, Liam Treacy, Kevin Fahey and Ian Fahey are also out.
Emmett Moloney and Colm O’Shaughnessy may only be fit enough for the bench as Tipp’s reserves are stretched to the limit. Tipp will definitely line out against the Rebels without four of last year’s championship team, - Comerford, McDonald, Austin and 2016 captain Peter Acheson, who’s in Dubai.
Kearns, speaking to Tipp FM, confirmed there will be no further appeal against Comerford’s suspension.
He said: “We’re accepting it now, that’s where we’re at. My observations on it would be it’s Evan’s first time being sent off in any game and at any level.
“He’s paid a huge price for it but when you’re sent off in a club match, it should affect the club and the club scene, and not inter-county.
“If he was in with us and got sent off, fair enough, (but) it’s draconian what’s happened to him.
“He got sent off and lost his whole inter-county scene as well. It’s a huge blow, it doesn’t appear fair or right that Tipperary football and players should bear the brunt of this.
“We’ve lost an All-Star nominee goalkeeper, one of the best in the country, for the year now. By the time his club have a serious match again, Evan may very well be back.
“There’s something badly wrong there for me, the authorities badly need to look at the rules again.
“It’s a hammer blow to Tipperary football, it’s hard to take.”
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