The Tipperary senior hurling team’s preparations for this year’s Munster championship have been dealt a major blow with serious injury concerns over key defenders Paul Curran and Donagh Maher.
Paul Curran was named captain of the Tipperary team at the start of the year but a knee injury puts his participation in the Munster championship in doubt. He damaged ligaments in his knee in a recent club game with his local side, Mullinahone, and despite being able to finish the game the injury appears to be worse than originally feared. Curran is definitely out of this Sunday’s league semi-final against Cork and possibly the championship opener against Limerick. The Tipperary captain is expected to meet with a surgeon this week to discuss the possibility of having surgery to repair the damage to his knee.
This is Donagh Maher’s first year on the panel but his impressive performances at corner back have fast tracked him into contention for a starting berth come championship time. Maher lined out with his club, Burgess, in a recent championship game but was withdrawn late on with a hamstring complaint. He has since missed a further round of club championship games and will also sit out this weekend’s game with Cork.
If both players are absent, this is likely to mean a major shakeup in the Tipperary defence. Donagh Maher’s corner back spot is likely to be choice between Borrisoleighs Paddy Stapleton and Conor O’Brien of Eire Og Annacarty. Paul Currans full back spot could well be filled by all-star wing back Padraic Maher of Thurles Sarsfields meaning a vacancy in the half back line. Ironically, the player most likely to benefit could be Donagh Maher’s brother, Shane Maher, if the No.7 jersey is up for grabs.