Austin Gleeson is nervously waiting to discover whether he will face a ban for apparently grabbing the faceguard and pulling off Luke Meade’s helmet, writes Stephen Barry.
Galway corner-back Adrian Tuohy escaped a similar sanction after last week’s All-Ireland semi-final, with reports that referee Barry Kelly said he had dealt with that incident, for which Tuohy went unpunished, on the field.
1/2 It's believed Barry Kelly stated he dealt with Adrian Tuohy incident in last Sunday's semi hence no retrospective suspension #GAA— John Fogarty (@JohnFogartyIrl) August 13, 2017
2/2 If James Owens states the same regarding Austin Gleeson he will be free to play final. #GAA— John Fogarty (@JohnFogartyIrl) August 13, 2017
If Gleeson’s case is not considered dealt with by referee James Owens and the Central Competitions Control Committee decide to impose a suspension, Gleeson would be the third Waterford player to be banned this year for interfering with an opponent’s faceguard, after Stephen Bennett and Tadhg de Búrca.
While de Búrca will return for the decider against Galway, Waterford are likely to be without Conor Gleeson, who was sent off for a striking incident late on.
Speaking on The Sunday Game last night, Eddie Brennan believes Waterford will also have to do without the 2016 Hurler of the Year.
“What you have to look at is the actions of his hands. If your hand gets caught (in the helmet) fair enough. But once you start clenching your fist and closing in, as if you are grabbing something, you are now in a situation where you are aware of what you are doing and you are aware of what you are holding on to,” said Brennan of the Austin Gleeson incident.
“It's disappointing for Waterford to be facing into this, but it's conclusive for me.”
Speaking on the Live show, Ger Loughnane commented: “Is it dangerous? No. Is it deliberate? Yes. Is it violent? No. How will it be looked after that? I don't know. But it is interference with a helmet, he can't deny that.
“He pulls the helmet off Luke Meade. How Aussie Gleeson gets involved in these incidents just beats me. With all the controversies there was about Tadhg de Búrca...”
Last night, Anthony Daly added: “There has been so much talk for three weeks about helmets that the last thing you should go near in a game is a helmet.
“Austin found himself tangling with Luke Meade and he goes to ground on top of him and the helmet comes clean off the head. Maybe in his defence he was looking at the ball, but the ball was gone long out over the line.”
Brendan Cummins, a former teammate of Brian O’Meara, the last player to be suspended for an All-Ireland final in 2001, said, “We sat here last week saying players should not touch helmets.
“If you wanted to give Austin Gleeson some ray of hope, Tuohy got away with his pull on the headguard of 'Bonner' Maher on the basis that he wasn't looking. That will be the argument that Austin will put in.”