Hamstring rules Tipp's Donagh Maher out of Hurling League semi showdown

Tipperary have been dealt a blow ahead of Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League semi-final against Wexford with confirmation that corner-back Donagh Maher has been ruled out through injury.

Maher, 28, damaged a hamstring in training on Tuesday evening and the severity of the problem is being assessed.

It is understood the Burgess clubman sustained an injury serious enough to rule him out of the trip to Nowlan Park — and he’s also a doubt for the Munster SHC quarter-final clash with Cork next month.

Maher started in Tipperary’s opening three League fixtures — against Dublin, Waterford, and Clare — but he sustained a head knock in the latter game that saw him stood down for a period of time under concussion protocols.

He hasn’t featured in Tipp’s three games since but was expected to challenge hard for a starting place against Wexford.

His absence should mean a first start of the campaign for All-Star Cathal Barrett, who returned in the quarter-final victory against Offaly, before getting more minutes under his belt last week when the seniors played the U21s in an in-house match.

Tipp manager Michael Ryan is also monitoring the fitness of forwards Niall O’Meara and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer ahead of the Wexford tussle. It is believed both players are also carrying injuries.

On the plus side for Tipperary, last year’s All-Ireland-winning captain, Brendan Maher, is fit again after he suffered a shoulder knock in last month’s victory over Clare at Semple Stadium.

Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher is back in the Tipperary fold after returning from an army peacekeeping stint in Syria, and he returned to club action for Lorrha-Dorrha in last weekend’s county League stalemate with Roscrea.

That fixture also marked a comeback for clubmate and goalkeeper Brian Hogan, a member of the county squad.

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