Tipperary boss Michael Ryan says that his All-Ireland champions are itching to escape from hurling “purgatory.”
Tipp will discover the identity of their round 1 qualifier opponents when the draw is made on Monday morning.
When the Premier County play their next competitive game on Saturday week, July 1, almost six weeks will have passed since the Munster quarter-final defeat to Cork. Changes are expected to the team that lined out on that occasion, with Ryan set to welcome back from injury Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher in attack.
Donagh Maher and Joe O’Dwyer are also tipped for call-ups in defence, Tomás Hamill could also be introduced and there’s speculation that 2016 captain Brendan Maher could revert from midfield to the half-back line.
Jason Forde is also pushing hard for inclusion after serving a one-match suspension against Cork.
Ryan admits that the setback against the Rebels, and the crushing Allianz League final loss to Galway, have “hurt” Tipperary.
Since the Cork game, All Star Cathal Barrett has been dropped from the squad for disciplinary reasons, but Ryan is confident he has the strength in depth to mount a serious Liam MacCarthy Cup defence through the back door.
Speaking to Tipp FM, the Upperchurch man indicated a keen desire to get back on the road: “Thankfully, we’re within two weeks at this stage of having a game. Saturday, July 1, can’t come quickly enough for us. We are very disappointed with how, number one, the start of the championship went for us and obviously the conclusion of the League. Those were defeats that certainly hurt us, the management and players, because we work really, really hard.
We’ll get to compete on Saturday week, we don’t know who the opposition will be yet, the draw is on Monday morning and we wait with bated breath.
“And do you know what? I did say this last September, straight after our great win in the All-Ireland, that 2017 was going to be an incredible year for hurling. And isn’t it exactly that?”
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