TIPPERARY SENIOR HURLING manager Michael Ryan has officially ruled out a return for exiled All-Star corner back Cathal Barrett before the end of the 2017 championship season.
Barrett sustained a serious knee injury against Cork in Tipp’s Munster SHC quarter-final defeat on May 21, before it emerged ten days later that the 24-year-old had been dropped from the squad for disciplinary reasons.
Barrett returned to club action with Holycross-Ballycahill last Sunday in a Cahill Cup final defeat against Drom & Inch, and Tipp’s troubles in the full-back line against Clare a day previously led to a fresh clamour for a dramatic recall to the county squad.
But Ryan moved to end any further speculation last night, as he spoke at a media event ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final clash with Galway on Sunday week, August 6.
Ryan said: “Just to nail that for everyone; there’s been a lot of speculation in the media over the last 24 to 48 hours.
“What has been reported is accurate – our panel for 2017 is formed.
“There will be no more changes to the panel in 2017.
“That’s it and that’s the last I will say on that.”
Ryan also revealed that Killenaule’s Joe O’Dwyer is Tipp’s sole injury doubt ahead of the Galway game, at this point in time.
O’Dwyer sustained an elbow injury in training before the Clare tie – and missed the Páirc Uí Chaoimh victory as a result.
And Ryan said: “That’s one that caught us, we are watching that one.
“He just hurt his elbow playing the week before and ran out of time.
“We are anxiously watching Joe’s progress.
“Obviously, we are hoping but we have to just wait and see.
“We have a very good medical team up there, we ask them to work miracles at times and they do.”
John McGrath and Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher sat out training on Tuesday evening, Ryan added, as precautionary measures.
He explained: “Our turnaround time is so short, we really have to be as efficient as we possibly can.
“We are always trying to be as efficient as we possibly can be in terms of trying to manage the boys, but it’s a feature.
“Trying to get fellas not to train these days is the problem.
“They would do anything to play, and particularly at the business end of the year.
“There’s no second chance saloon, you have to get on the pitch.
“In fairness, our boys are really mature about it, they report their injuries very meticulously.
“They are very aware of their bodies too; ‘that’s a niggle or that’s a knock.”
But Ryan insisted that the short, two-week break before a mammoth clash with League and Leinster champions Galway is not a concern.
He said: “We have them exclusively for this two week period, we are happy with that.
“We are under no illusions that we are going into play one of the two form teams that are left at this point in time, I think that’s a fair assessment, Cork and Galway.”
Ryan also confirmed that ace marksman Seamus Callanan will be fit to face Galway.
Callanan was forced off in the final minute of the Clare win with an elbow injury, but is in no danger of missing the trip to Croke Park.
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