Tipp should be too strong for Offaly

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

Tipperary will be expected to pick up their second win of the National Hurling League when they entertain Offaly at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh at 2.30 on Sunday.

Tipp bounced back from successive defeats against Kilkenny and Dublin when they had a hard-earned win over 13-man Waterford in Semple Stadium on Saturday night. Waterford made them fight all the way but the only goal of the game from Paul Kelly proved crucial, while they had outstanding performances from Noel McGrath, Pa Bourke and Padraic Maher.

Captain, Eoin Kelly appeared as a half-time substitute and scored 2 points, as he continues his return to full fitness. This Sunday’s game could also mark the re-appearance to the panel of Lar Corbett and John O’Brien, who have been ruled out of the last three matches through injury.

Offaly, meanwhile, are rock bottom of the Division 1 table, without a victory from their three matches and staring relegation in the face. Their latest reverse came last weekend against high-flying Dublin in Tullamore, when they lost by a hefty margin of 13 points (2-23 to 1-13).

Offaly had a player dismissed for the second successive match and things got progressively worse for Joe Dooley’s injury-hit team after Brian Mulrooney was shown a straight red card in the 22nd minute.

They welcomed back their Birr contingent including Rory Hanniffy, Dylan Hayden and Conor Mahon but they were still without injury victims Paul Cleary, James Rigney, David Kenny, Joe Brady and Derek Molloy.

They suffered another blow when Shane Dooley sustained a serious ear injury. He was forced off six minutes from the end following an incident that resulted in a yellow card for Dublin defender Peter Kelly.

Dooley’s expected absence will further weaken them for Sunday, when anything other than a Tipp victory would be a major surprise.

The referee will be James McGrath of Westmeath.