Rushe hits out at Kilkenny’s ‘dangerous’ tackling

DUBLIN hurler Liam Rushe has labelled some of Kilkenny’s tackling as “dangerous” and intimated that the All-Ireland champions are being given more leeway by referees than other sides.

It isn’t the first time the physicality of Brian Cody’s side has been called into question but very few players, if any, have had the temerity to do so two days before meeting the Cats in competitive action.

Rushe was part of the Dublin senior side that lost out to Kilkenny by six points a fortnight ago and he will be one of seven from Anthony Daly’s panel who have the chance to avenge that defeat in tomorrow’s provincial U21 decider.

That game will take place at Parnell Park tomorrow evening at 7.30pm and Rushe didn’t hesitate when asked if the Kilkenny senior team sometimes ‘crosses the line’.

“I saw the tackles myself and they were pretty dangerous but we’re just going to have to deal with it. If the referees are going to let them away with it, it means we might as well do it as bad and hopefully we’ll be let away with it as well.

“It’s very frustrating when you see them let away with it and you see Kevin Flynn in our semi-final against Wexford being sent-off for a tackle that was nowhere near as bad.”

It was no rant or whinge. Rushe is a confident, no bull kind of guy. He was just as candid about Dublin’s football supporters. “There’s 20,000 of them there that never kicked a football in their lives,” he said.

Dublin won many a new admirer for their doggedness in sticking with Kilkenny in that senior final but when Rushe looks back on that game he recalls soft goals and too many mistakes. That said, he doesn’t go along with the train of thought that Kilkenny were operating at half-steam.

“People have said that but Tommy Walsh didn’t seem to be taking it easy and neither did JJ (Delaney) when he had both hands around me. I suppose they raise it a level above everyone else. They’ve brought a new intensity to it and everyone’s going to have to match them if they want to get close.”

Richie Hogan is the only one of Brian Cody’s men to be doubling up with the U21s this summer but the game will nevertheless be another enlightening barometer as to the balance of power in the province.

Kilkenny have won five of the last six Leinster titles at this grade but Dublin’s success in 2007 was the most significant, not just for the win but the swashbuckling manner in which they saw off Offaly in the final.

Rushe knows how important this latest test is.

“I think it was Ger Loughnane or someone like that on The Sunday Game who said that Clare may as well just give up their senior now and go back to minor and 21s.

“These are the lads that are going to be carrying on this senior team for the next five or six years, especially under Anthony Daly who is keeping a very close eye and he’s been at all the matches.

“We really need underage success if we’re going to build and strike for success at senior.”

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