John Fogarty: Limerick are right to fight for Peter Casey

John Kiely is certain to be mindful of the optics in opposing a disciplinary charge when the Limerick camp have acknowledged they were fortunate not to be punished from incidents in the Munster final
John Fogarty: Limerick are right to fight for Peter Casey

Limerick’s Peter Casey and Waterford’s Conor Gleeson clash in last Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Since the 65 they were not awarded in their 2018 All-Ireland semi-final defeat, the Limerick County Board have been pushing for the introduction of a TV match official.

Their motion to Congress last year was deferred to the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) and, largely due to Covid, little has been heard about it since.

Proposing it, chairman John Cregan said it wasn’t about questioning their defeat to Kilkenny but added: “It’s not good enough that any team loses out when a mistake can’t be rectified or a rule is broken.”

Make no mistake, the video evidence Limerick are currently poring over has as much to do with the team losing out as Peter Casey.

Close to All-Star form, snaffling that Waterford sideline to set the move for the only goal of the game on Saturday, the All-Ireland champions aren’t so strong or ignorant that they could throw him to the wolves and concentrate on the players they will definitely have available for Sunday week.

As Barry Nash fights an injury to be fit to face Cork, they won’t want to be down another man if they can avoid it.

Especially when it seems that they can. There would appear to be some doubt raised in at least one of the video angles about Casey’s head motion towards Conor Gleeson and whether the Waterford defender’s action forced him in the direction of his opponent.

But there’s the moral aspect attached to contesting the expected two-match suspension too. Not to get too musketeer about it but Casey is one of them and you would imagine backing him forms part of their values as characterised by the symbol they wear on the back of their jerseys.

With somebody of Caroline Currid’s acumen involved (note how she sat beside Casey after he was sent off), you can be sure Limerick won’t be distracted from the job in hand if there is a disciplinary process, although the same might not be said for Casey if his case is prolonged.

The likes of Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan provide cautionary tales about how such cases can impact on individual performances.

At least the pandemic should ensure there is no toing and froing from Colbert to Heuston Station as the process takes place virtually.

Four years ago Waterford chose not to try and clear Gleeson for that year’s final after the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) chose to uphold his red card from the All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork.

And so it was that Gleeson became the first senior inter-county hurler to miss a final through suspension since Tipperary’s Brian O’Meara 16 years previous.

“We spoke in advance of the hearing last night and we spoke about possible outcomes in advance, and I won’t say we’ve exhausted every outcome, but we’ve made a decision as a management — and player — to leave it at that now,” then Waterford manager Derek McGrath explained.

However, McGrath has since admitted regret that he did not pursue Gleeson’s case, instead choosing to make him a cause as they had done so successfully with Tadhg de Búrca who was suspended for the All-Ireland semi-final.

But McGrath realised he couldn’t draw on that sense of injustice a second time.

Playing the emotional card is not something his old UCC college-mate John Kiely tends to do although Currid will be best placed to judge that.

Kiely is certain to be mindful of the optics in opposing a disciplinary charge when the Limerick camp have acknowledged they were fortunate not to be punished from incidents in the Munster final.

He certainly wasn’t indignant about Casey’s sending off: “I do know that from talking to Peter that there was a clash of heads alright, yes. But nothing malicious. Or nothing of any significance, really. But, at the same time, you have to be very, very careful. Especially when you’re in that position.”

That Jamie Barron stayed on the field last Saturday despite that early strike against Gearóid Hegarty may be interpreted by some as karma following Aaron Gillane and Seamus Flanagan’s fortune in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last month but it doesn’t square anything.

It might be felt that Limerick’s best behaviour has to be matched off the pitch, that if they are to live by the sword they must die by it too.

But it would be stunning were Casey, the subject of a borderline sin bin call against Cork in the Munster semi-final and having been dropped for last year’s final, to fall on his own sword.

It’s not as if it would do Limerick any favours. Because they have been so successful, they aren’t all of a sudden going to be seen in a better light for taking their medicine.

What should happen over Microsoft Meetings in the coming days will be as much a competition for Limerick as the hurling itself.

GAA were right to postpone throw-in

If the rule of thumb for photographers is to arrive at least two hours before a championship game, most journalists prefer to be in situ about an hour prior to throw-in.

For obvious reasons: To settle in, take in the atmosphere, hop a ball or two.

Caught up in the M7 tailback on Saturday, there were several of those coming from Munster or west Leinster who were wondering if they were going to make the start time before the game was delayed by 30 minutes.

One renowned scribe plonked himself into his seat just a minute prior to the start of the national anthem. Running to the stadium from his car alongside supporters with similar thoughts of missing out, he made a lie of Kellie Harrington’s claim that the last mile is never crowded.

Hardly for those working at the game but for the sake of supporters the GAA’s decision to put back the game was a commendable one. Having experienced some of that traffic build-up at Naas, there would have been several thousand supporters who would have been discommoded but for that call.

At 5.05pm, there were only 11,000 of the limited 24,000 capacity in Croke Park. Even before 3pm, there were supporters making drastic manoeuvres to divert from the M7. “That was the real thought, that people would then start to rush to get to the game in order to make the throw-in time,” explained GAA stadium and commercial director Peter McKenna.

As underlined by Darragh O’Donovan’s post-match comments, Limerick took exception to the match being postponed by half an hour. Players in such circumstances have only one thing on their mind but the GAA had to consider the safety of their fans and the largest paying attendance of the year thus far.

Excited referees lose their heads

Cork’s habit this summer of warming up in training gear then returning to the dressing room to change into their jerseys is causing quite the stir with officialdom.

Against Clare in LIT Gaelic Grounds, they missed the start of Amhrán na bhFiann while from a match presentation point of view in Croke Park making their way out to the field a second time having already received a fanfare for their first appearance was a minor nuisance.

By the time Cork do come out a second time in the All-Ireland final, the Artane Band, who made a welcome return to Croke Park last week-end, could be positioned in front of the Hogan Stand tunnel.

Dare anybody tell Cork they can have only one entrance on August 22?

Another issue that cropped up over the week-end was the determination of both referees John Keenan and Fergal Horgan to throw the ball in quickly after the national anthem has concluded.

The Artane Band were not off the field on Saturday when Keenan started proceedings while on Sunday Horgan moved to throw the ball in only to delay doing so and as a result players became embroiled in pushing and shoving antics.

Their eagerness contradicted the new match regulation that “at least 30 seconds will be provided to teams after the anthem, this is to allow for any team huddles or warm-ups before they are required to get into position for the start of the game”.

Decent-sized crowds back, Keenan’s first All-Ireland semi-final, the excitement was understandable but it is best avoided in future.

Email: john.fogarty@examiner.ie

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