Waterford defender Tadhg de Búrca will play no part in Sunday’s All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final against Cork, after his last-ditch appeal to the independent Disputes Resolution Authority failed,.
Confirmation emerged shortly after 1am that de Búrca had been unsuccessful in his case – and manager Derek McGrath is now planning without his influential sweeper for the Croke Park clash.
The DRA, which has former Offaly hurler Rory Hanniffy as secretary, backed the proposed one-match ban from the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee, which was rubber-stamped by the Central Hearings Committee, and upheld by the Central Appeals Committee.
The DRA verdict is legally binding and this was the last step on the appeals route for Clashmore/Kinsalebeg clubman de Búrca.
He was sent off against Wexford in the All-Ireland senior hurling quarter-final for an incident involving Wexford’s Harry Kehoe.
Referee Fergal Horgan issued a red card on the advice of linesman John Keenan, and de Búrca was cited for a category III (iv) infraction, specifically ‘behaving in any way which is dangerous to an opponent, including deliberately pulling on or taking hold of a faceguard or any part of an opponent’s helmet (in hurling).’
The minimum penalty for such an offence is a one-match suspension in the same code and same level, leaving De Búrca ineligible for the Cork game.
McGrath will now make contingency plans for the mammoth meeting with the Rebels, with an All-Ireland final place on September 3 on offer for the winners.
Darragh Fives has been tipped to slot into the sweeper role that de Búrca had been operating in so successfully, which will open up a slot in the team.
According to well-placed Déise sources, Maurice Shanahan and Stephen Bennett, both attacking players, are the leading contenders to step in, with McGrath set to reshuffle his team further back to take de Búrca’s absence into account.
McGrath will reveal his starting 15 later this evening.