Cathal Barrett has been dropped from the Tipperary panel. The All-Star defender, who is currently recovering from a knee injury, is believed to have been omitted for a disciplinary breach.
Management are believed to have notified Barrett of their decision since Saturday when his club side Holycross-Ballycahill were in championship action against Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams. The 23-year-old sat out the game having damaged his left knee in last Sunday week’s Munster quarter-final loss to Cork in Thurles when rising for a ball with Luke O’Farrell.
It had been originally feared Barrett had suffered cruciate ligament damage but it was later ascertained it was a less serious knick although he still faced six weeks on the sidelines and risked missing Tipperary’s first round qualifier on July 1.
Barrett only returned to action in last month’s Division 1 semi-final win over Wexford having recovered from ankle ligament surgery. Speaking about him back in March, Michael Ryan said he was “champing at the bit. He’ll be hard to hold.”
With club championship action on hold for the time being, Tipperary might have been expected to return to training last night but instead players and management held a private meeting in Semple Stadium. According to sources, management wanted to address a number of issues arising from the defeat to Cork.
Losing 2014 young hurler of the year Barrett presents a difficulty for Ryan as regards full-back options. In-form Donagh Maher and Michael Cahill both missed the Cork game, while veterans Paddy Stapleton and Conor O’Brien retired at the end of last year.
Meanwhile, Tipperary football goalkeeper Evan Comerford is all but certain to contest a proposed 12-week ban arising from an incident in a club game, which would be applicable to inter-county.
The county’s Competitions Control Committee (CCC) recommended the penalty after considering referee Paddy Russell’s report from Kilsheelan-Kilcash’s championship game against JK Brackens.
Former inter-county official Russell cited Comerford for “minor physical interference” after he was sent off. Comerford, an All-Star nomination last year, was dismissed when he argued against the awarding of a free.
As things stand, 22-year-old Comerford is set to miss Saturday week’s Munster semi-final clash with Tipperary as well as any further Tipperary championship matches up to August 15, which would mean he would only be available for an All-Ireland semi-final were Tipperary to repeat their feat of last year.
Comerford’s club will examine Russell’s report but are already of the mind that the ban has to be queried in front of the county board’s hearings committee. Manager David Power, the former Wexford boss who also guided Tipperary’s minors to All-Ireland success in 2011, had been proposed a four-week suspension for comments following the game.
Moyle Rovers’ Ciaran Kenrick will deputise for Comerford should he not be successful in fighting against the punishment but there would appear to be too much at stake for both player and county team not to take his case to the next level.
Elsewhere, last year’s Tipperary football captain Peter Acheson made a return to the country this past weekend sparking rumours that he might be available the Páirc Uí Rinn clash. However, the Moyle Rovers man was only on a flying visit to see family and is not expected to link up with Liam Kearns’ side for a re-run of last year’s last-four game.
The 27-year-old, nominated for an All-Star in midfield in 2016, emigrated to Dubai with his girlfriend where he is working with an oil company and is not expected to return home on a full-time basis until 2019 at the earliest.
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