Gifted Austin Gleeson needs to grow up and learn from Waterford team-mate Kevin Moran

Gifted Austin Gleeson needs to grow up and learn from Waterford team-mate Kevin Moran

Hawk-Eye was utilised in the first-half of Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final which confirmed a Kevin Moran audaciously-executed shot had narrowly sailed outside of the near post and landed wide, writes Peter McNamara.

Had Moran’s attempt been arrowed five inches to the left, it would possibly have gone down as one of the scores of the decade at headquarters.

Since the All-Ireland quarter-final last year in Thurles, Moran's confidence is through the roof.

The Moran of two seasons ago would not have even dreamed of taking on a shot like that one from under the Hogan Stand. Yet, there he was, drawing gasps from all over the ground as he brazenly tried to raise a borderline miraculous white flag which would have pushed Waterford two points clear approaching the interval.

Gifted Austin Gleeson needs to grow up and learn from Waterford team-mate Kevin Moran

Part of you willed that ball to be over, just because you knew that if it had been accurate enough, you would have witnessed a moment of sheer majesty.

Alas, the jury returned a ‘Níl’ verdict and so, to the dressing rooms the sides went separated by a single point.

However, the fact Moran took the shot on illustrated exactly where his head is at presently. Has he ever been a more confident performer?

While it seems between Joe Canning and Conor Whelan on the Galway side of the Hurler of the Year coin, equally, either Moran or Jamie Barron will surely receive the award if the Déise prevail on September 3.

Currently, Whelan and Barron should be in the box-seats, but Moran cannot be too far behind his team-mate in this regard, such has been his absolute brilliance this summer.

Whelan, Barron and Moran are the hurlers of the season. The three players in question have consistently operated on a loftier plane than all of their peers in the championship.

Gifted Austin Gleeson needs to grow up and learn from Waterford team-mate Kevin Moran

The first two men on that three-man list have plenty of years ahead of them. Moran, though, may feel he only has two or three more campaigns after this, appreciating that it’s becoming a younger and younger man’s game by the year.

Moran is 30 now, still a young man himself, obviously, but is playing like an operator possessed by the pursuit of the most regal of successes for fear the opportunity will pass him by. The De La Salle wing-forward is noted over the years as being the proverbial work-horse.

Yet, that term does his levels of composure a disservice. Moran’s an extremely competent decision-maker. He plays the percentages based on his deft knowledge. And Micheál Donoghue has a job on his hands to select a suitable man-marker for him detailed with eroding his influence next month.

All of the accomplished players in any sport make it seem as if they are totally dictating the terms of engagement and he was certainly achieving that at headquarters, especially in the first-half, one which yielded three white flags in open play for the attacker.

As was the case in the opening period of the All-Ireland quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh against Wexford, Moran was the Déise’s most effective mover and shaker.

You may find that if the Tribesmen curtail him in the first-half of the All-Ireland final, that Galway could find themselves in a winning position at half-time of a decider in which Kilkenny are not the opposition. And if they fail to push on from that point, they will hardly lay claim to the Liam McCarthy Cup any time soon thereafter.

The westerners are strong odds-on favourites to lift the trophy, probably due as well to the fact Derek McGrath will have to plan without superb man-marker Conor Gleeson.

The odds were probably also initially based on the premise Austin Gleeson was in line for a suspension, one that he would have deserved, quite frankly.

The latter is the type of hurler EA Sports would have on their front cover of a PlayStation game. Gifted. Truly, truly gifted. However, gifted does not mean he should be above the rules of the code.

He is a petulant character and Sunday’s encounter represented the second time in just over 12 months whereby Gleeson escaped a straight red card for blatant offences – the other being the Munster U21 final last year where Tipperary felt massively aggrieved by the fact he did not get the line for a clear striking action towards an opponent’s head in added-time at the end of the first-half.

The linesman saw the incident on the night, flagged it with referee Johnny Murphy, but Gleeson was bizarrely yellow-carded instead of sent off.

And similar to that night where he went on to receive the man of the match award, despite the Premier’s deep frustrations, Gleeson had a telling influence in the second half of Cork’s demise on this most recent occasion – though the Rebels’ final-quarter subsidence was more self-inflicted, to be realistic.

It became officially clear last evening that Austin Gleeson had miraculously avoided punishment despite ripping the helmet from Luke Meade.

Galway's Adrian Tuohy and Gleeson should be thanking their lucky stars that the incompetentcy of the rules regulators must know no bounds.

Of all the shambolic, cringeworthy situations GAA's officialdom have found themselves in over the years, the decisions made that Tuohy's and Gleeson's actions were not worthy of sanction beat all that has gone before.

And in Gleeson's case, what of James Owens' direct impact in all of this? If the CCCC were somehow satisfied he dealt with the incident at the time, do all involved not realise he did so incorrectly?

The whole saga stinks of ridiculousness. The main plus, though, is that the GAA's marketing team have a very easy job now.

It's 'Joe v Austin on September 3 folks', as if a Galway-Waterford decider needed selling at all, regardless of Gleeson's participation.

Gifted Austin Gleeson needs to grow up and learn from Waterford team-mate Kevin Moran

Would the All-Ireland final have been poorer for the losses of Tuohy and Austin Gleeson? Of course it would. But try telling that to families and friends of the Tipperary team, Tadhg de Búrca, Conor Gleeson and the Cork panel.

Derek McGrath should have a word in Gleeson's ear, though, regarding his conduct.

He is too valuable a player to his county, and to the game overall, for Gleeson to be acting out in this fashion from time to time.

Yes, he is young and will learn, but it has to be extremely fast because otherwise these situations will occur again and again and potentially detract from his genius, during his career, one that could be as illustrious as he wants it to be.

The ball, in that regard, is in his court.

It's time Gleeson grew up and maybe used Moran as an example of how to really lead a team.

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