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Sunday 4 December 2016

Courageous feats in face of adversity

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Published 08/05/2016 | 17:00

Waterford's Maurice Shanahan celebrates after scoring the last point of the game in the second half of extra-time in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final against Clare. Photo: Sportsfile
Waterford's Maurice Shanahan celebrates after scoring the last point of the game in the second half of extra-time in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Final against Clare. Photo: Sportsfile

The word 'manliness' has been much misused in the GAA of late. It's frequently brandished by managers who want to make excuses for off-the-ball incidents or persistent fouling. But the real thing was in evidence this day last week from two young sportsmen whose bravery enabled them to come through difficult situations with flying colours.

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When Maurice Shanahan faced up to the last-gasp, long-range free which had to be converted if Waterford were going to force a replay of the National Hurling League final against Clare he'd have known that the spotlight was on him. Not just because of the importance of the free but because the spotlight has been on Shanahan ever since his gutsy revelations about his struggles with depression.

Following those revelations the Lismore forward's deeds on the pitch have tended to be seen in the light of his depression. Had he missed the free it's unlikely anyone would have criticised him. But in a way the understanding comments, the 'what can you expect, he's been through a difficult time?' stuff might have been just as hard to take.

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