Tuesday 17 October 2017

Waterford selector Dan Shanahan joins Jim Gavin in Sunday Game criticism following Stephen Bennett ban

Waterford selector Dan Shanahan during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 3 match between Dublin and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Waterford selector Dan Shanahan during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Round 3 match between Dublin and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Jack O'Toole

Waterford selector Dan Shanahan has become the latest backroom member in the GAA to accuse RTE's flagship GAA show - The Sunday Game - of having an influence over the CCCC with regards to player suspensions.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin launched an attack on Sunday Game pundit Pat Spillane surrounding Diarmuid Connolly's push on linesman Ciaran Branagan during their Leinster SFC quarter-final defeat of Carlow earlier this month.

Connolly was subsequently handed a 12-week ban and will not be available until the All-Ireland semi-final, should the Dubs make it that far, with Gavin and Dublin refusing to speak individually to Sunday's host broadcasters RTE after Dublin's 31-point win over Westmeath in the Leinster SFC semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday.

Gavin, his backroom staff and the Dublin players opted not to partake in any television interviews on the grounds that they were unhappy with the television coverage of Connolly's 12-week suspension.

The three-time All-Ireland winning manager has since been backed in his stance by Galway manager Kevin Walsh and former Armagh boss Paul Grimley, with Waterford selector Shanahan now echoing Gavin's criticism's of The Sunday Game after Déise forward Stephen Bennett received a one-match ban for grabbing Damian Cahalane's helmet in Waterford's Munster semi-final loss to Cork a fortnight ago.

"I heard Jim Gavin on the radio talking about the CCCC and I don't know if Stephen would have been penalised if it wasn't highlighted on the Sunday Game, to be honest with you," Shanahan told the Waterford News and Star.

"We'll take it on the chin. Some other lad will come in and do the job and hopefully, we'll have Stephen back for the next day.

“No one wants to get suspended. There was an issue with Stephen that wasn’t seen by the officials as well, something happened to Stephen and there was nothing about it. He took it on the chin. He’s been good in training and hopefully the lads will drive it on for Saturday night.”

The offence was missed by referee Barry Kelly but disciplinary chiefs have decided to act, and Waterford officials have confirmed that they will not be contesting the charge.

This means that Bennett, a key member of their All-Ireland U-21 winning side last year, will miss the first-round qualifier next Saturday - their opponents will be determined by Monday's draw.

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