There was a positive end to a forgettable weekend for the Tipperary hurlers last night with confirmation All-Star corner-back Cathal Barrett has avoided cruciate knee ligament damage.
Barrett, 23, went down in agony and clutching his left knee after contesting an aerial ball with Cork sub Luke O’Farrell in the 62nd minute. He was replaced by Alan Flynn soon after but while a stretcher had been called for, Barrett was able to walk gingerly off the pitch.
His left leg was immediately placed in a protective brace and while Tipp feared the worst, the outlook is far better than had been expected.
The Holycross-Ballycahill clubman was scanned yesterday and while a cruciate injury has been ruled out, he’s still facing up to six weeks out.
Barrett’s a doubt for Tipperary’s first qualifier game on the first weekend in July but, providing the Premier County safely vault that first hurdle, he should be fit for the rest of the season.
Provided there are no further injury setbacks, manager Michael Ryan should be picking from almost a full deck for the team’s next outing. Donagh Maher, Michael Cahill and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher all missed the Cork game with hamstring problems – but will have recovered in time for the first qualifier game next month.
That game might come too soon for Barrett but he’ll be thankful his knee injury isn’t a season-ending one.
Meanwhile former Premier County star James Woodlock remains “100%” convinced the Premier County can bounce back from Sunday’s shock defeat and end the season as All-Ireland champions.
Tipp coughed up their Munster crown at Semple Stadium but Woodlock is backing manager Michael Ryan and his players to regroup quickly and launch a successful Liam MacCarthy Cup defence.
But Woodlock is concerned that Tipp’s squad depth isn’t as strong as had been touted, and he’d like to see a ‘bolter’ emerge from the existing squad or from the local club scene to make an impact.
Woodlock was recovering from a broken leg when Tipp lost to Cork in 2010 in the Munster quarter-final, but still very much part of the squad as they recovered to lift the big September prize. And he believes players and management will get together this week for clear-the-air talks, ahead of a back-door assault.
Woodlock said last night: “They’ll have woken up this morning hurting so bad. The players will have a real open discussion. They know where they are but they’ll realise that all is not lost.
“So what’s our focus? Back-to-back All-Irelands and can that be done? 100% yes.”
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