Wednesday 22 January 2020

I can be more than just Deise's impact sub - Shanahan

Hurlers Donal Og Cusack (L) and Dan Shanahan (R) and Leinster and Ireland rugby player Gordon D'Arcy launch the Guinness 'Pace Yourself' campaign at the Guinness Storehouse yesterday. Photo: INPHO / DAN SHERIDAN
Hurlers Donal Og Cusack (L) and Dan Shanahan (R) and Leinster and Ireland rugby player Gordon D'Arcy launch the Guinness 'Pace Yourself' campaign at the Guinness Storehouse yesterday. Photo: INPHO / DAN SHERIDAN
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Dan Shanahan believes he can do a job for Davy Fitzgerald's Waterford side this year and that he still has 70 minutes of hurling left in his ageing legs.

Shanahan, whose goal finally broke Cork in the epic Munster final replay, had to watch most of the action from the sidelines as the great modern-day rivals of Munster hurling slugged it out to a thrilling end over two games.

And that frustrated him to the point where he admitted he could have been considering his future if he had not been introduced in extra-time in the replay.

"You would consider walking away. I wasn't on at all and if Eoin Kelly had taken his chances I wouldn't have got any game. It would have been very interesting to see what reaction I would have got out of that," he said.

"I have a lot of work put in this year and I enjoy encouraging the young lads. If I have anything to offer, which I have, I will help Waterford," added Shanahan, who admitted he has probably played in his last Munster final, with retirement on the horizon at the end of this season.

However, there is still a strong kick in him, he argues, far beyond the role of impact sub.

"Personally, I think there is 70 minutes in me, depending on what position Davy would play me in. I have a lot of training done this year, on and off the field, but Davy's the manager, he makes the decisions.

"Whether I like it or not, I will respect his decision. I might not always agree with it, but he's the manager," said Shanahan, who was in the Guinness Storehouse yesterday for the launch of the 'Pace Yourself' Diageo campaign, which encourages a sensible attitude towards alcohol consumption.

Shanahan admits it took some persuasion from Fitzgerald to convince him about the impact-sub role he is now playing so well.

"Of course it did. There is no one happy sitting down, but it is hard to keep 30, 32 fellas happy, that's the way I look at it. If you get your chance you have to take it and I think I took my chance the last day."

Shanahan can't predict whether he will start the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary in two and a half weeks, but feels he will be "grand" about it either way.

"I don't know, it's a different game to the Cork game. It's his (Fitzgerald's) decision and if I'm coming on as a substitute it will do me grand. It's not about me, it's about us."

Despite disagreeing over the role he can play, Shanahan has credited the management job Fitzgerald has done this season and the blend he has introduced to make this, in the Lismore veteran's opinion, the best Waterford squad he has ever played on.

"When you see Tony (Browne) finishing games at his age and you get all the young fellas mixing in with the older fellas, it is unbelievable," he pointed out.

"Davy has done a great job. It's a thankless job sometimes, to be honest, but he's done a great job and the lads with him have done a great job."


Shanahan reckons his goal against Cork in the replay was his ninth against Donal Og Cusack and he's still confident to always back himself in those one-on-one situations. As for the victory that night, he puts it down to hunger.

"I think we were that bit fitter and hungrier than Cork in key positions and that's what won it for us," he suggested. "We have a good mixture of youth and experience there now and we are blending well together.

"Our full-back line is playing exceptionally well at the moment and our goalkeeper is definitely one of the best in Ireland this year, which gives us great confidence."

Retirement is on the horizon for definite and an All-Ireland title remains the elusive dream, but he no longer has any hang-ups about the 2008 All-Ireland final defeat to Kilkenny.

"People are always going to harp back to that final and the hiding we got. You just take it in your stride and I think we have got better since then," he insisted.

"Other teams may have folded or packed up and gone backwards but we have come forward and it has brought us on together as a team."

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