'Whaaaaat the hell happened there?' How Austin Gleeson blamed himself for Tipperary's phantom goal

Austin Gleeson blamed himself for the phantom goal which saw Waterford miss out on a crucial victory over Tipperary.

Gleeson says the goal, given when an umpire incorrectly adjudged him to have carried a Jason Forde free over his own goal-line, cost Waterford their chance of reaching a Munster final or All-Ireland quarter-final.

His big mistake, he says, was thinking of his next move before fully securing the ball in his hand. Still, when Gleeson heard referee Alan Kelly's whistle, he assumed he'd been awarded a free out.

"I wasn’t fit to be honest, not fully fit, so I was tired coming towards the end of the game. I wouldn’t put the error completely down to match-fitness, but it was definitely a factor," said Gleeson in a piece on The Sports Chronicle.

"For those frees SOK (Stephen O’Keeffe), Tadhg (de Búrca), or Darragh Fives always say, ‘the spare man is up‘ so you usually call your name and go for it. I remember the lads saying ‘Aussie you’re up‘. The rest of them were holding their men out and I went up to catch it.

"Nine times out of 10 I would’ve caught that first-time but because there was no one else around me and the lads were doing such a good job, I was automatically thinking of my next move and that was the big mistake. I was moving forward before I had the ball in my hand.

"When I dropped the ball I was kind of happy that I’d got back to it and came out. When the whistle blew I thought it was a free out.

"Next minute I turn around and see the green flag and I’m like ‘whaaaaat the hell happened there?‘

"Coming home on the bus afterwards I sat down in the back corner on my own. I was basically blaming myself that we lost the game.

"It was the key moment in that game. I knew it immediately. If that goal didn’t stand and we’d won against Tipp…

"I know Limerick tore us asunder but going into that Cork game, we’d still have had something to play for and could have gone through on head-to-head. I knew straight away after that game how big that was."

Gleeson also defended the tactics of outgoing manager Derek McGrath.

McGrath became known for his sweeper system but Gleeson called his philosophy "total hurling" - akin to the brand of Total Football made famous by Johan Cruyff.

"Everyone knows when I came in first I was just 'see the ball and shoot' but wanting to do right for them [Derek and Dan Shanahan] drove me personally. It drove all of us.

"You could end up playing corner-back in a challenge game but end up corner-forward and coming out roaming in the next game. You had to have the dynamic skill to be able to do that. Everyone in the Waterford panel has that now. Derek didn’t train anyone differently because they were a back or a forward. Everyone was the same.

"You could call it 'total hurling'. Derek's main aim was to make you a better person. He always said he wanted us to grow as men, that was his biggest thing."

Read Gleeson's full article on The Sports Chronicle.

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