Former All-Star goalkeeper Darren Gleeson is expected to fend off the challenge of Daragh Mooney and start for Tipperary in Saturday’s All-Ireland senior hurling championship quarter-final against Clare.
Mooney was drafted in ahead of Gleeson, and handed a championship debut, for the round 1 qualifier victory over Westmeath at the start of the month. But the Éire Óg Annacarty man was then ruled out of the big round 2 win over Dublin through injury, with Gleeson recalled after losing his place following the Munster quarter-final loss to Cork.
Gleeson, an All-Star in 2014 and a two-time All-Ireland senior medallist, is now tipped to earn the number 1 jersey for the trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, despite Mooney’s recovery from a back spasm.
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan is also mulling over the prospect of drafting in Michael Cahill at corner back, but that would require another defensive change.
Ryan radically altered his rearguard for the start of the qualifiers, with Tomás Hamill, Donagh Maher and Joe O’Dwyer all introduced.
He stuck with the same back six for the Dublin game and may be reluctant to tinker with a winning formula, even if the Sky Blues did expose some possible chinks in the Premier County’s armour, particularly in the first half. Up front, Noel McGrath is pushing for a recall and while Niall O’Meara is making steady progress after suffering ankle ligament damage in the Westmeath game, he’s unlikely to feature unless Tipperary progress to the semi-finals.
Ryan, meanwhile, did not take up the offer of a reconnaissance mission at the revamped Cork venue ahead of the weekend visit.
Clare did visit Páirc Uí Chaoimh last weekend, and a Cork official said last night that all four quarter-finalists were invited to cast their eyes over the new facilities.
Tipperary’s opponents Clare availed of the opportunity but their run-out on the new surface was brief.
The Cork official explained that a full training session would not be accommodated for any county — but the Clare players did get the chance to enjoy a puck-around on the new surface.
It’s understood that Tipp have instead decided to concentrate on their own preparations on home soil and hit the new ground running.
Saturday’s do-or-die fixture will mark Tipp’s first senior hurling championship meeting against Clare, in Cork, since 2003.
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