Galway hurling selector Noel Larkin says the All-Ireland final will be better for Austin Gleeson’s involvement, writes
Whereas Galway manager Micheál Donoghue and captain Niall Burke tip-toed around the issue of Gleeson potentially missing the decider owing to his tug of Luke Meade’s helmet during Sunday’s semi-final, the Galway selector was adamant when stating his desire to see Gleeson parade behind the Artane Boys Band on September 3.
“Everybody in the country wants to see him playing in the All-Ireland final and hopefully, that’s the case,” Larkin, speaking before it was confirmed Gleeson was in the clear, said.
“We all go to see players like that. We saw him last year doing extraordinary things and I think the final would be a better place if Austin makes it.”
Waterford’s Tadhg de Búrca and Stephen Bennett have already this summer been 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’.
David Burke says the wording of the rule needs to be reviewed by Croke Park chiefs.
“There are a lot of referees coming out saying they don’t agree with the rule. The GAA needs to look at it, put an end to it, really, and sort it out because people are talking about the wording in the ruling.”
Burke claimed Adrian Tuohy’s interference with Patrick ‘Bonnar’ Maher’s helmet during their All-Ireland semi-final was “accidental”.
When pressed on the Austin Gleeson incident, he replied: “I’d like to see the best players playing on All-Ireland final day.”
Galway manager Donoghue said: “On the biggest day and whoever you are playing, you still want all the players, their big players and our big players, available.
“The rule is there and it’s just ironic in the last number of weeks that it has been one incident after another and up to that, it wasn’t a huge conversation-maker. But now because you are at the business end, it’s high on the agenda. But I don’t know what alteration they can or can’t make to it.”
Donoghue learned of Tony Keady taking ill two days after their win over Tipperary, with his subsequent passing putting “a huge sense of perspective” on their quest for hurling glory.
“Tony was first and foremost a husband and a father, and of course everyone remembers him for his hurling and the way he carried himself every time he played with Galway.
“Within our own group, he has touched a lot of fellas in terms of coaching. He was with the Ahascragh club, with Cathal and Padraic (Mannion). From my own playing experience, he coached us for years as well.
“The greatest thing we can do now is push on and try and wear that jersey in the honour that he did.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.