Austin Gleeson, on club duty here with Mount Sion, is a major injury concern for WIT Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Race Against Time

Serious injury concern for Waterford IT, mixed team news for UL ahead of Fitzgibbon replay

Waterford star Austin Gleeson a major doubt for the holders as Jack Browne set to return from suspension for UL

WATERFORD SENSATION AUSTIN Gleeson is facing a race against time to be fit for Wednesday evening’s Fitzgibbon Cup final replay – as University of Limerick prepare to welcome back Clare defender Jack Browne from suspension. Gleeson has been superb for holders WIT in this year’s competition, notching 2-49 in total.

But the Mount Sion dynamo is struggling with a hamstring injury sustained on county duty against Offaly at the weekend. WIT coach Colm Bonnar, who is preparing for two massive fixtures in the space of a week, is also monitoring the progress of Tipperary’s Joe O’Dwyer.

Bobby Duggan and Joe O'Dwyer Joe O'Dwyer has impressed in early outings for Tipperary Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

The Killenaule man has been out of action since innocuously damaging his shoulder in the Premier County’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1A defeat to Dublin.

Bonnar said: “Joe is three weeks since his injury and we’re not sure about him yet. He’s a big loss, a real Fitzgibbon man and really aggressive. He did well for us last year at wing-back and while I wouldnt’ have seen him as a corner back, that’s where he was getting a chance with Tipp before his injury.

It was unfortunate timing and one of those freak accidents because he didn’t get hit but his shoulder popped out as he turned.

“It came at the wrong time because he’s losing out on Fitzgibbon and to other fellas in the race for a Tipperary shirt.”

Bonnar also conceded that Gleeson’s hamstring problem is “not looking good” even though the 2013 All-Ireland minor medallist has been undergoing intensive treatment since the Offaly game.

Bonnar said: “Austin came off with a hamstring strain. We’re meeting at 6.30 tonight and we’ll see what the physio says.” Tipperary’s two-time All-Ireland SHC medallist Bonnar is also preparing Kilkenny and Leinster club kingpins Ballyhale Shamrocks for next week’s All-Ireland final against Kilmallock.

Bonnar has reported a clean bill of health and while you might think that the Cashel native has time for little else other than hurling right now, there was room for a weekend of celebration after son Cillian enlisted in the Army.

Jack Browne dejected after being sent off Jack Browne is set to return following his red card in the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Meanwhile, UL boss and Clare legend Brian Lohan has confirmed that Banner County star Jack Browne is set to return to third-level duty on Wednesday at Páirc Uí Rinn. Browne, who appeared as a blood sub for Clare against Tipperary on Sunday, was suspended for the Gaelic Grounds stalemate against WIT through suspension.

Lohan said: “Jack Browne should be ok. He picked up a one-match ban and wasn’t eligible for the final. We’re waiting on (Tipperary’s) Jason Forde. He was sick for the match yesterday and while he came on, we don’t know how that’s going to pan out.”

Lohan also revealed that John McGrath, scorer of 0-5 against Clare for Tipperary, is also a concern after going over on his ankle. And Lohan insisted that UL’s wishes were not considered when the Fitzgibbon Cup final replay date was decided upon. Bonnar had appealed for breathing space for his overworked stars but Lohan has now suggested that he would have preferred if the rematch went ahead last week.

“A lot of guys are tied up with teaching practice and we would have liked to have it last week. But when the fixture was being made, they didn’t take us into account.”

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