TIPPERARY MANAGER EAMON O’Shea will have to plan without key defenders Michael Cahill and James Barry for the vast majority of the Allianz National Hurling League.
Assistant manager Michael Ryan revealed that Barry has already gone under the knife to cure a hip problem and Cahill is awaiting surgery on a similar problem, which is hoped will take place this month.
All going to plan, Barry will return to training in March but Cahill’s timeline could see the Thurles Sarsfields miss out on the entire League campaign.
Ryan relayed the injury bulletin after the Tipperary squad returned home from a pre-season holiday to Dubai early on Monday morning, while also confirming a number of new additions to the panel.
John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Michael Breen (Ballina) and Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) have been drafted in from last year’s extended squad.
Bill Maher was captain of the 2012 All-Ireland minor hurling winning side and also won a minor football crown in 2011. Breen was part of that 2012 hurling side while Meagher won a minor football medal in 2011.
In addition, there are five newcomers, namely David Butler from Drom & Inch, Liam Treacy and John McGrath of Loughmore-Castleiney, Sean Maher from Clonoulty-Rossmore and Killenaule’s Joe O’Dwyer.
McGrath is another former dual All-Ireland medallist and younger brother of established senior star Noel. Sean Maher won an All-Ireland minor medal in 2012 while O’Dwyer was part of Waterford IT’s Fitzgibbon Cup winning side last March.
Ryan confirmed the injuries to Barry and Cahill, which will result in some defensive experimentation during the League.
“Mickey Cahill still scheduled to have surgery on a hip, the plan is that will take place this month. Getting an appointment for him is difficult.
“We would have liked to have had it done in December but it didn’t happen for us. James Barry had surgery on his hip. He’s rehabilitating now.
“The plan with James is to have him back training in March. That’s on the basis that you don’t get a setback or anything like that. These guys are mature. They will do their rehab well and that’s the secret of it, not to do too much.”
Tipperary, planning without retired forwards Eoin Kelly and John O’Brien, begin their competitive campaign against Mary Immaculate College in the Waterford Crystal Cup on Friday evening.
They will have to cope without a number of players committed to third level colleges, including Kieran Bergin, Tom Stapleton, 2014 Young Hurler of the Year Cathal Barrett, Meagher, Breen, Liam McGrath and Ronan Maher.