Wexford hurler Andrew Shore is delighted and relieved he can play this year having feared he might have to write off 2015.
The defender was handed a 48-week ban for lining out for Birmingham side Roger Casements last October in an All-Britain junior hurling shield match when still registered with Dublin club Parnells.
Despite two appeals, one to the appeals committee of the Warwickshire County Board and the other to the Central Competitions Control Committee, the suspension stood and it precluded the 25-year-old from training and playing with Wexford.
Shore’s ban was reduced by the reinstatement committee at Congress at the end of February, freeing him up to join Liam Dunne’s hurlers. He has also returned playing for his original club Davidstown-Courtnacuddy in Wexford.
Shore said: “It was looking as if I was going to be out of the sport I love for a year. I was training on my own, which is very, very tough. Especially when you know that lads are inside working hard. I was obviously worried but what kept me going was concentrating on doing that training myself and that if I got a chance, that I would be ready to go back in straight away.”
The saga was taxing but Shore never gave any thought to what he went through. “I had to do what I had to do to get back. I had to go here and there. You have to respect the GAA too. They have rules. I just had to go wherever I had to go to try and get off the thing. The cost wasn’t going to come into it.”
Asked if he would like to change anything about the eligibility rule, Shore said: “Look, you have to respect the rulebook. I have full respect for the rulebook and I wouldn’t try and change any rule. I’m just happy that I got sorted and I’m back hurling. I thought I had done everything correctly.”
Shore was just as keen to get back inside the Wexford camp as they hope to build on their promising 2014 season when they reached an All-Ireland senior quarter-final, knocking out Clare and Waterford, and an U21 All-Ireland final. Missing out would have been a source of huge regret.
“That U21 team, all the lads that are in with us, the likes of Paudie Foley, Conor McDonald, Conor Devitt, Eoin Conroy... they’re all a year older and they know what it’s like to win. They’re after winning a Leinster championship, which is driving us on, the older lads and the more experienced lads.
“We’re going to have to work damn hard to try and keep our places on the team and on the panel, which is making training way better and it’s pushing us all on. The expectation level has gone up in our own dressing room. It’s great for the fans and great for everyone but we want to try and be doing something now.”
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