'Absolutely outstanding' Harry Kehoe intervention praised as Tadhg de Búrca heads for CAC

Selector Dan Shanahan at the Waterford press day at Lawlor’s Hotel in Dungarvan yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Waterford star Tadhg de Búrca is set to take his case to the GAA's Central Appeals Committee (CAC) this evening - as he bids to be allowed play an All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final clash with Cork on Sunday week.

De Búrca, who's been operating so well in the sweeper role, was sent off in the quarter-final victory over Wexford for interfering with Harry Kehoe's headguard.

A Central Hearings Committee (CHC) meeting last Monday evening rubber-stamped a proposed one-match ban for De Búrca, despite what's been described by Waterford selector Dan Shanahan as an "absolutely outstanding" intervention from Kehoe himself.

Shanahan confirmed that Kehoe was present for the CHC meeting at Croke Park and spoke on de Búrca's behalf.

Shanahan said last night: "I don't know the ins and outs, but he (Kehoe) did travel up and spoke, by all accounts brilliantly, above at the meeting, to no avail.


"Harry said what he had to say and I heard he was absolutely outstanding.

"Credit to Harry and (Wexford manager) Davy Fitz for that, but if the shoe was on the other foot, we'd have went up there as well, to be honest with you.

"Again, it's just amazing that Harry can say there was no intent there and yet he (De Búrca) can still get a suspension.

"The law is the law and that's what they'll say - his hand touched his helmet, but intentional though? There was no intent there.

"For his own sake and our sake, the sooner it's sorted, the better."

Waterford could take their case to the Independent Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), if they're unsuccessful at the CAC stage.

However, that leaves manager Derek McGrath, De Búrca and the other Waterford players in something of a quandary, as the issue could drag into next week. McGrath would ideally have liked the situation dealt with by the weekend at the latest, as Waterford are planning on getting an internal 15 v 15 game played tomorrow evening.

Shanahan explained: "We'd like to know then, who's to play where and what options we have.

"To get the right option is key because Tadhg was so good at doing that job.

"It's a tricky situation. Would I rather it was sorted by now? Of course I would, because you'd like to be settling things down and seeing how you're going and picking teams and stuff like that, even for Tadhg himself, to try and get his head right."

However, Shanahan admitted: "How many lads get away with it? We're after being up there a number of times over the years, twice this year (Maurice Shanahan and Stephen Bennett), and the lads have served their suspensions.

"You'd be hoping for himself that he'd get away with it, my heart is saying please God he will, my head is telling me it's 60-40."

When asked if Waterford will pursue the matter further after CAC level, Shanahan replied: "If we think there is a chance that we can go the whole way with this thing, I've no doubt we will, but we'll see after tomorrow night."

Shanahan's fellow selector Eoin Murphy admitted that as things stand Waterford are planning on playing without De Búrca.

If he's definitively ruled out, Waterford are expected to ask Darragh Fives to fill in as sweeper, but a starting spot is up for grabs. Murphy is also anxious for a swift conclusion to the De Búrca case, as he's worried that it might become a distraction.

"That's exactly what we don't want. I'm practical and pragmatic about it - he's not around, he's not available and we're planning without him," said Murphy.

"All the players are trained to do the same thing, so we have players who can come in and do a job for someone."