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Phelan's sideline point will go down as a cut above the rest

WAS it the best point ever seen in a hurling match?

Time was up and his side were a point down when De La Salle's Bryan Phelan went across to take a sideline cut, 50 yards out from goal on the right.

Placing the ball carefully, he made a perfect connection, cutting the sliotar right to left and firing it over the bar. The equaliser.

Cushendall had been on the verge of an historic victory in the AIB All-Ireland club semi-final but one masterstroke from Phelan left them shattered and it was the Waterford men who carried the momentum into extra time. Little wonder then that Phelan allowed himself a skip of delight as he watched his magical score.

Strangely, there has been little fuss about it since. If it had been Henry Shefflin and not Bryan Phelan, the newspapers would have been full of tributes for days after.

Bearing in mind the level of skill involved, what was up for grabs and how late in the game it arrived, was it hurling's greatest point?

Certainly there are many contenders for the mantle of greatest ever point.

Ciaran Carey's point on the run in 1996 against Clare, Kevin Broderick's Ronaldo-like effort in 2001 against Cork, and Paul Flynn's over-the-shoulder point against Cork in the 2004 Munster final. If it's goals you're looking for, try John Fenton's epic ground-stroke, DJ's 1991 goal against Wexford, or go as far back as the late 1960s when Larry Guinan soloed the length of the field before blasting the ball to the net in a Munster final.

And yet, Phelan's point will be remembered through the years. It would sit well in any era. Indeed it only serves to remind the GAA that any converted sideline cut should be worth two points in the future.

A few years ago, that rule was introduced on a trial basis in pre-season competitions and Kilkenny's Bryan Barry was the first man to land a two-pointer. The rule change should have been made permanent because it's the most difficult skill in the game to master. And those players who can get to grips with it should be duly rewarded.

For now, it's great to see that the sideline cut is back in vogue. Cathal Casey, Mike Houlihan and Adrian Fenlon used the skill aggressively when they graced the fields but the likes of Phelan, Joe Canning, Eamon Corcoran (until he retired) and Ben O'Connor are now aiming for points from up to 60 yards out and it's splendid to watch.

Think of the technique to be mastered in one movement to pull off the perfect cut. Imagine trying to do it to keep your club in an All-Ireland semi-final with time almost up. For achieving that alone, Phelan's score should never be forgotten.