Waterford attacker Maurice Shanahan said after yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final win that he and his team-mates “had to win the game for Tadhg, to give the man a chance to play in an All-Ireland final”.
Shanahan was referring to Tadhg de Búrca, the Waterford defender red carded against Wexford in the All-Ireland quarter-final, and who lost his appeal against suspension at the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) on Thursday night.
“I wouldn’t say it was a distraction, the appeals and so on,” said Shanahan.
“Tadhg trained like he was going to be playing, despite the appeals and all of that.
“It wasn’t a distraction, honestly. The fact that we lost the appeal on Thursday night, that only bonded us together more as a group.
“We had to win this game today for Tadhg — we had to give the man a chance to play in an All-Ireland final because of what he’s done for this team over the years.
“He’s been one of our best players all year and thankfully he has that chance now.”
Shanahan said the sending-off of Cork full-back Damien Cahalane had the effect of loosening the game up in the second half: “It probably did. We were playing a sweeper, Cork were playing a sweeper, and when Damien got sent off Cork probably had to come at us, which opened things up for us, particularly with the ball being sent into us.
“Damien’s sending-off, Conor (Gleeson’s) sending-off, they were harsh enough, but that’s the way the game has gone, I suppose.”
The Lismore man paid tribute to a Cork side which had beaten Waterford already this summer.
“It hasn’t sunk in that we’re in an All-Ireland final, to be honest, and it probably won’t sink in for a few days.
“We went out to play a great Cork team — they’ve beaten us three times already this year when you count the Munster Championship, the National League and the Waterford Crystal. Every time we played them, they beat us.
“The momentum was certainly with Cork coming into the game, but we knew what we had in the dressing-room — that if we turn up on the day that we have as good a chance as anyone, but we have to turn up and we have to work like dogs. That’s what we did today.”
Shanahan said he and his team-mates would enjoy the build-up to the final but wouldn’t get carried away.
“Waterford don’t get to All-Ireland finals that often, so we have to live in the build-up as well. But we can’t get carried away.
“We know we have a job to do in September, that’s to beat Galway — but Galway are the same as us. They were probably at home last night thinking they have a chance to win the All-Ireland, and they’ll definitely go into the game as favourites — and rightly so — they’ve been the best team around all year. But it’s up to us now to put it up to them and to see what happens.”
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