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Jason Forde and John McGrath in action in the 2016 All-Ireland final against Kilkenny.
Jason Forde and John McGrath in action in the 2016 All-Ireland final against Kilkenny.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

4 players including key forward duo to miss out for Tipperary against Kilkenny

Fitzgibbon Cup commitments will affect Tipperary’s squad next Sunday.
Feb 19th 2018, 6:01 AM 10,396 11

TIPPERARY MUST PLAN without four players for next Sunday’s league trip to face Kilkenny due to their involvement in the Fitzgibbon Cup final the previous day.

Key forwards Jason Forde and John McGrath will miss out due to their involvement with UL in the third-level showpiece while emerging Tipperary players Barry Heffernan and Paul Maher are also involved in the final against DCU.

With that fixture taking place in Mallow next Saturday afternoon, Tipperary boss Michael Ryan feels it would be too much to ask his players to line out in Nowlan Park the following day.

The Fitzgibbon Cup final is usually held on a free weekend in the hurling league but the compressed nature of this year’s spring schedule means both games take place next weekend.

With Tipperary already without attacking star Seamus Callanan due to injury, the loss of Forde and McGrath will affect their capacity to generate scores.

Silvermines player Forde struck 2-9 on Saturday night to bring his return to 3-28 from Tipperary’s three league games to date as he has taken over the free-taking duties.

“To be fair to those boys, we have four involved with UL and we’ve nobody on the DCU squad,” outlined Ryan.

“Our four, we’ve to let them off. They won’t feature next weekend. I hope they won’t be too disappointed hearing that through the media!

“The facts are the facts, we can’t play them [twice] in 24 hours. Look, we’re carrying a fine panel. Those guys need game-time too.

“It’s hectic. It’s still the same amount of games that we’ve to get ready for. We’ve just been as sensible as we possibly can. Thankfully we’re standing up straight.

“The Fitzgibbon is coming to its climax next weekend. At that stage we’ll be upon league day four. To be fair, any of the guys that have been involved, I don’t see any fatigue on them.

“The colleges aren’t killing them. They don’t train them, we train them. I think that’s a good balance.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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