McGrath wary of wounded Waterford after last year's defeat
A TRIPLE HEADER in Thurles next Saturday sees five different counties competing as the hurling qualifiers have both been fixed for Semple Stadium.The Tipperary footballers must also be accommodated for their round-two tie with Wexford, starting proceedings at 3pm. This is followed by Wexford versus Cork in the phase-two hurling match at 5pm before the televised fixture of Clare and Limerick at 7pm.
However, the main event of this most convoluted of GAA weekends is the Munster hurling final on Sunday in Páirc Uí Chaoimh; a repeat of last year’s meeting between Tipperary and Waterford.
Tipp’s Noel McGrath doesn’t expect Waterford to be scarred by the concession of seven goals in 2011. “It’s a year ago so they’ve probably moved on,” said McGrath. “It’s a new year and everything has changed. It’ll be a different game and everything will take on a life of its own down in Cork. They’ll be coming to get the victory the same way we’ll we trying to get the victory. I think it’ll be a keenly-contested battle, there won’t be much in it. Any day you lose you’re going to be hurt and you just want to get it out of your system and get going again. Waterford got a great match against Clare in the semi-final and came out with a great victory.”
Meanwhile, Down defender Conor Garvey will have his case heard before the Central Appeals Committee tomorrow night. County secretary Seán Óg McAteer indicated yesterday if they are not successful in having Garvey’s one-match suspension overturned, they will consider taking the fight to the Disputes Resolution Authority.
Down are adamant Garvey has been harshly treated and are desperate to have him cleared to play in the Ulster final against Donegal on Sunday week. The player was cited for endangering an opponent (Karl O’Connell) after the Ulster semi-final win over Monaghan.
Niall McParland will get the cast taken off his broken hand tomorrow. The Down defender was poised to make his debut in the Ulster championship opener against Fermanagh but suffered the injury in training two weeks before the game. “In terms of blocking balls and such like, the Ulster final may come a little soon for someone who has broken his hand,” said Down manager James McCartan. “Though knowing Niall, he will be in there tackling with gusto right away.”
Long-term injuries to Dan Gordon and Benny Coulter have healed up and Down also have Aidan Brannigan available again after the one-match ban he picked up in the wake of the Fermanagh game.
Kerry manager Jack O’Connor is expected to make a number of changes to his starting line-up for Sunday’s qualifier meeting with Westmeath in Mullingar.
Darran O’Sullivan is the main doubt due to a hamstring strain, while fullback Daniel Bohan yesterday underwent surgery for a ruptured achilles tendon.
Bohan sustained the injury during an internal training game.
“I feel very sorry for the player, there was a loud crack and we knew, something serious had happened straight away,” said O’Connor. “It’s a bad blow for Daniel on a personal level as he getting married this year, and that is a bad break to get.
“Our biggest concern is Darran O’Sullivan who picked up a hamstring injury in a challenge game we played last Saturday week against Sligo. He is still struggling with that and we’ll see how he is during the week, and we will make a decision then on him.”
Kieran O’Leary or Patrick Curtin are in line to replace the former Kerry captain in the attack, while Bryan Sheehan is expected to return to midfield where he will resume free taking duties.
WEEKEND CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES
All-Ireland hurling championship Phase 3Wexford v Cork, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 5pm; Limerick v Clare, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 7pm – Live RTÉ.
All-Ireland football championship Round 2:Tipperary v Wexford, Semple Stadium, Thurles, 3pm; Antrim v Galway, Casement Park, 3pm; Leitrim v Wicklow, Carrick on Shannon, 6pm; Roscommon v Tyrone, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm; Longford v Limerick, Pearse Park, 2pm.
Munster hurling championship final:Tipperary v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 4pm – Live RTÉ.
Connacht football championship final:Sligo v Mayo, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm – Live TV3.
All-Ireland football championship – Round 2:Cavan v Kildare, Breffni Park, 3pm; Westmeath v Kerry, Mullingar, 3pm; Laois v Monaghan, O’Moore Park, 3pm.