Thursday 19 April 2018

Déise will now seek to clear second Gleeson

Gaelic Games

Gleeson’s escape will be warmly received in Waterford and beyond given his dynamic hurling ability. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Gleeson’s escape will be warmly received in Waterford and beyond given his dynamic hurling ability. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Waterford will turn their attention to liberating Conor Gleeson for the All-Ireland hurling final next month after it was confirmed yesterday evening that Austin Gleeson would be free to play against Galway.

After an anxious 48 hours Waterford County Board was informed that because match referee James Owens had confirmed that he had adjudicated already on Austin Gleeson's pull of Cork attacker Luke Meade's face-guard in the first half of Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final he would have no case to answer.

Video evidence showed Gleeson clearly gripping Meade's helmet and pulling it with sufficient force to remove it.

However, Owens didn't deem it deliberate or dangerous and used his discretion to let the incident go in real time though he confirmed, in communication with the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC), that he had adjudicated.

Without the Wexford official clearing the way, the GAA's CCCC could not build a case against the player under rule.

The decision will once again bring the need for the GAA's disciplinary body to be given citing powers into sharp focus.

Gleeson's escape will be warmly received in Waterford and beyond given his dynamic hurling ability and will provide a huge relief to Derek McGrath as he gathered his squad together last night to commence All-Ireland final preparations.

But it will potentially cause problems for disciplinary officials further down the line with a real lack of clarity now over the four-year-old rule that deems pulling a helmet or face guard a red-card offence.

Owens red-carded Conor Gleeson, along with Cork's Patrick Horgan, late in the game as the Waterford defender reacted in an incident by pulling across Horgan's body.

It has merited a one-match ban but indications are that Waterford will at least seek a hearing for a player that has been one of their best man-markers all season.

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