Wednesday 24 October 2018

Brendan Cummins: Three things stood out to me watching Nickie Quaid produce one of hurling's greatest ever saves

29 July 2018; Séamus Harnedy of Cork has a shot on goal, late in the second half, saved by Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, as Dan Morrissey, behind, closes in during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
29 July 2018; Séamus Harnedy of Cork has a shot on goal, late in the second half, saved by Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid, as Dan Morrissey, behind, closes in during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Cork and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Brendan Cummins

It was a moment when the dream could have died for Limerick, but thanks to Nickie Quaid it lives on.

His full-stretch flick to stop an almost certain goal from Seamus Harnedy has rightly been praised to the hilt over the last few days, even being named moment of the weekend by US Magazine Sports Illustrated, and from a goalkeeping perspective a few things stood out about it.

The first was when the two squared off, Quaid stood up to Harnedy. In that scenario most goalkeepers’ instincts would be to brace and use their body to stop it, but Quaid’s outfield instincts kicked in and, as a result, he was able to block it before Harnedy got off the shot.

The second was Quaid’s hurley. It wasn’t the traditional goalkeeper’s one with a big boss, but a smaller one that allowed him to manoeuvre it a lot quicker. For goalies, the hurl should always be considered an extension of your arm and that’s exactly what it was for Quaid because it wasn’t too heavy – the top of it is like his fingers tipping the ball away. It’s just the right balance between size and weight and it allowed him, in that split second, to think, ‘okay, I’ll get a flick on it’.

Also throughout that whole passage of play Quaid was watching the ball onto the hurl, something I love to see in goalkeeping because it shows that you’re in total control of the situation.

He knew Harnedy was looking around, knew he had to throw it up and in that split second, Quaid knew exactly what he wanted to do – in his eyes everything was happening in slow motion and they never came off the ball. 

It was an outstanding piece of goalkeeping to get that flick away, and while there were other reasons, Limerick really have him to thank for their place in the final.

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