By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Tipperary will have to plan without Caoimhe Bourke for Saturday’s Glen Dimplex All-Ireland senior camogie semi-final against Waterford and the final if they qualify, after the Drom & Inch netminder was confirmed to have suffered a torn cruciate ligament.
Observers feared the worst when Bourke fell to the ground in the first half of the last group game against Kilkenny at the beginning of the month. Although the incident apparent innocuous, the Premiers’ goalie was clearly in a lot of pain.
Scans have now confirmed those fears and she will be ruled out for the season, with surgery pencilled in for the coming weeks.
While the news comes as a blow to Tipp, the good news for manager Denis Kelly is that he can call on a former All-Star to step into the plate.
Áine Slattery won the gong for her displays in her debut season in 2020, when she began sixth year at Borrisokane Community College as Covid brought the country to a standstill. She had supplanted the previous All-Star nominee Bourke in the No 1 jersey but subsequently lost it to the long-serving custodian for the following year’s championship.
The Shannon Rovers player has remained a part of the panel and came on to good effect after Bourke’s injury against Kilkenny before starting the subsequent All-Ireland quarter-final against Antrim last Saturday week at Croke Park, in which she performed solidly, keeping a clean sheet and delivering accurately from her puckouts.
Slattery will have fond memories of taking on Waterford as it was against the Déise that her profile shot the roof, making a stunning save late on from Beth Carton as Tipp prevailed in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
That set the seal on her All-Star selection, even though Tipperary fell at the penultimate hurdle.
If she can perform similar heroics against Carton and co at UPMC Nowlan Park on Saturday, a first final appearance for Tipp since 2006 could be the reward.