Laois boss Brennan: ‘There’s a little simulation creeping into hurling’

Laois manager Eddie Brennan has claimed that a “worrying” level of simulation and diving is creeping into the game of hurling.

Laois boss Brennan: ‘There’s a little simulation creeping into hurling’

Laois manager Eddie Brennan has claimed that a “worrying” level of simulation and diving is creeping into the game of hurling. The Kilkenny great stopped short of accusing Tipperary’s Padraic Maher of simulation after he was struck by Aaron Dunphy at Croke Park on Sunday, an offence that resulted in Dunphy’s dismissal.

But Brennan acknowledged that accusations of diving have “possibly been levelled at Padraic Maher” by those who witnessed the powerful Thurles man crumple in a heap on the ground. Laois were trailing by five points when Dunphy, responding to a shove from Tipp colossus Maher, swiped across the half-back’s right leg, prompting Maher to hit the deck.

Referee Colm Lyons issued a red card following consultation with an official. Former Offaly forward Brian Carroll, speaking on the GAA Hour podcast yesterday, said that Maher is a “warrior” who “prides himself on his physicality, his biceps are bulging out through the jersey” but went down too easily.

“If I was Paudie Maher waking up this morning I’d be extremely disappointed with myself,” said Carroll. Brennan shrugged when asked if he felt Maher was guilty of simulation and said that he was more frustrated with the red card decision generally.

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“It’s a pity because it definitely killed whatever little hope we had of getting through,” said Brennan. “I’d have definitely fancied us, we had it down to five (points) when that happened I think and who knows (what could have happened).

“At the same time I don’t want to take away from Tipperary, they did what they had to do, they’re a really good team. I want to be very clear, I’m not trying to take away from their win in any way, shape or form.”

On the issue of an overreaction from Maher, Brennan said: “Yeah, possibly. In the broader scheme of things I’d be a little concerned. I’ve heard a few people talking about it, I think there’s a little simulation creeping into hurling the last couple of years and it’s worrying.

“At times you go OK, if a lad’s on a yellow you test him. But you don’t want to see lads walking off the field unless it’s drastically bad. The rules are there, and that’s the line you’re going to hear off officials and that’s OK, I respect that, but that was a match on Sunday where there wasn’t a dirty stroke and yet there was a ball of yellow cards thrown out.

“I’m probably being hard on them here and I’m not trying to take it out on them.

“Look, going back to the simulation side of it, it’s something I hope doesn’t come into hurling. I’ve seen a few episodes of it and yes, that’s possibly being levelled at Padraic Maher from Sunday but it is what it is.

The answer you’re going to get (about Sunday’s incident) is that it’s a strike with a hurl and that’s it.

Brennan said he hoped that managers throughout the game aren’t encouraging players to engage in simulation.

“I’d like to think that’s not the case,” he said. “I’m not seeking praise here but in 2007 we played Wexford, I was marking ‘Gizzy’ Lyng and he got booked early in that match and in the second half he whipped across me with the hurl and I said to the ref, ‘Don’t send him off’.

“That’s not me saying I’m a great fella, but as a player you love that challenge of going toe to toe with the opposition, the cut and thrust of it, a healthy intensity of, ‘It’s you versus me today’.”

Sunday’s 10-point defeat went down as a moral victory for Laois who won the Joe McDonagh Cup and then beat Dublin, all in Brennan’s first season.

“I think the sky’s the limit for them, to be honest with you,” said Brennan of his players.

“Even to hear Liam Sheedy saying it afterwards, they struggled to handle us at times. They couldn’t get to grips with certain aspects of our game and that’s just reinforcement for the players to say, ‘Lads, we’re doing a lot of things right here’. It’s just a case of doing better and better. I see no reason why we can’t.”

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