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Patrick 'Bonner' Maher suffers ruptured cruciate ligament

Patrick 'Bonner' Maher has suffered a cruciate ligament injury, Tipperary GAA have confirmed.

The injury is set to rule the Lorrha man out for the rest of the season.

The two-time All-Star forward fell awkwardly during Sunday's win against Limerick with a scan last night revealing he has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Injuries to Maher and Cathal Barrett marred Tipp's four-point victory, which set-up a repeat clash against the All-Ireland champions in the Munster final.

Barrett's availability for that game will be determined by a scan this evening.

He walked off the field after sustaining an apparent hamstring injury and watched the remainder of the match from the sideline with his leg strapped.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner GAA Podcast before Maher's cruciate injury was confirmed, former Tipperary manager Ken Hogan said he feared the potentially seismic blow to the county’s All-Ireland hopes.

“We’re very despondent in Lorrha and Tipperary. Hopefully, with ‘Bonner’, it won’t be as serious as first thought, but it doesn’t look too healthy.”

Former Premier keeper Hogan, whose son Brian is now the Tipp number one, said Maher had been rediscovering his very best form, and replicating that work on the training ground.

“He had been winning all the fitness tests, even with all the young whippersnappers coming in. He has epitomised everything good about Tipp this year, the fact that he has led from the front. He has a renewed zest for hurling, taking on the defences.

“On Sunday, when we were struggling, he was the go-to man, winning hard ball. And he curtailed Diarmaid Byrnes. And immediately after ‘Bonner’ went off, Byrnes scored a classic point.”

Hogan feels Niall O’Meara is the player to deputise in Maher's absence.

“Jake Morris got 60 minutes on Sunday, which was great for him to get. He’s only a kid, won an All-Ireland U21 last year at 18 years of age. He’s getting to the pitch of it. Mark Kehoe came in, who we are waiting and waiting for. But he’s had some injury setbacks in training.

“But Niall O’Meara played so well against Cork. Unfortunately, he pulled a hamstring in preparation for the Waterford game and he’s been out since. But he had been hurling up a storm. He seems the likely replacement if ‘Bonner’ isn’t fit.”

Dalo's Hurling Show: Clare conspiracies. Cork go third and multiply? The Bonner blow. Did Galway miscalculate?

Ken Hogan, Ger Cunningham and Michael Moynihan review the weekend's hurling drama with Anthony Daly