Fit-again Tipperary star Noel McGrath set to feature against Galway

Noel McGrath’s speedy recovery from testicular cancer surgery will see him named in Tipperary’s 26-man panel for Sunday’s All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final against Galway at Croke Park.

McGrath, 24, won’t start against the Tribesmen but manager Eamon O’Shea is considering the Loughmore-Castleiney star for a substitute appearance at GAA HQ.

If the game is in the balance in the closing stages, the introduction of McGrath from the bench would provide a significant lift to Tipperary .

McGrath returned to club action recently and he has made further progress since linking up with the county panel again.

Sources have indicated that one place on the Tipp team for Sunday’s game is up for grabs.

Michael Breen and Conor O’Brien are battling it out for the number 4 shirt, with corner backs Paddy Stapleton and Michael Cahill not in a position to start.

It is understood that Stapleton sustained a rib injury on a training camp last weekend and Cahill has suffered a number of niggles on his road back to full fitness.

Breen was handed a start for the Munster final against Waterford but went off at half-time, to be replaced by Lar Corbett.

Breen did, however, play extremely well against Limerick in the Munster U21 semi-final and if he’s picked, O’Shea could reposition Pádraic Maher’s younger brother Ronan at corner-back, with Breen on the wing.

Otherwise, O’Brien will slot in to the left-corner-back position, leaving the younger Maher to play at number 7.

Meanwhile, former Tipp star John Leahy has stepped down as Tipperary ladies intermediate football team manager after two unsuccessful years in charge.

The former Premier County hurling star was unveiled in a blaze of publicity but created a storm when he axed five players from his squad last year. The door may now be open under new management for a number of those players to return.

A Tipperary ladies football board statement confirmed: “Following the completion of their two-year term, John Leahy and his management team of Martin Halpin and Pat Morrissey have confirmed their intention to step down as management of the Tipperary Ladies Football Intermediate team due to work commitments.

“The Tipperary Ladies Football Board would like to thank John and his management team for their time and commitment during the last two years.”

With Tipp’s senior footballers also looking for a new manager, former Laois and Limerick boss Liam Kearns has been touted as a possible successor to Peter Creedon.

Kearns was coach with the Roscommon footballers alongside boss John Evans but with Evans stepping aside this week, Kerry native Kearns is on the hunt for a new role. Kearns has enjoyed previous experience in club football in Tipperary with Aherlow.


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