Dublin boss Ger Cunningham focuses on provocation
DUBLIN boss Ger Cunningham has cited Maurice Shanahan's role in the flashpoint that resulted in a straight red card for Liam Rushe, writes Frank Roche.
Yesterday's All-Ireland semi-final was in its dying seconds when Waterford's top-scorer got entangled with the Dublin co-captain. Shanahan appeared to be holding his hurl, and the ensuing stand-off culminated in Rushe lashing out with said hurl.
It was a clear striking offence for a player now facing a minimum one-match ban at the start of next year's league, but Cunningham still focussed on the provocation involved.
"Very frustrating," he remarked, "when you're going to make a run and there's hurleys being pulled and you're stopped from making your runs. Obviously Liam reacted and he got shown a red card. Unfortunately it's always the guy who reacts that gets picked up for special measure."
While reiterating that Rushe was "obviously frustrated", he added: "I'd have to have another look at it."
So too might Waterford boss Derek McGrath, who dead-panned: "I'll go the Arsene Wenger route and say I didn't see it."
Noel Connors is his chief injury concern for the semi-final. "A very bad dead leg," he reported, "so he'll do some recovery in the Horse and Jockey and our physio team will assess him as the evening goes on - but it doesn't look good at this stage."
McGrath was effusive on the subject of Shane Bennett's full championship debut, while admitting: "He is an enigma in terms of his whole approach to the game. I thought today was the first time he really brought his work-ethic; (it) was higher than it had been in other games."
Back outside the Dublin dressing-room, Cunningham was left to bemoan the "crucial" first ten minutes after half-time. "They scored a goal and four or five points to our one point or two point, so I think that crucial period turned the game against us. Waterford drove on from there, went back to their sweeper system and looked very comfortable. But in fairness to our guys they never gave up, and they showed great heart and they fought 'til the end," he concluded.