Waterford hope appeal can free up Shane O'Sullivan for Cork tie
Waterford will be going right to the wire in their bid to get Shane O'Sullivan's suspension lifted in time for their Munster SHC hurling quarter-final against Cork on Sunday week.
His hearing with the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) will not be heard until next week and, in fact, may not take place until four days before their big championship clash.
"His case will be heard next Monday or Wednesday, we haven't got confirmation of the date yet," Waterford manager Derek McGrath revealed last night.
O'Sullivan received a one-match ban for the straight red card he got from referee Johnny Ryan in their Division 1A relegation play-off loss to Dublin on March 30.
The Ballygunner star initially contested the ban and subsequently appealed it to the Central Appeals Committee (CAC), but they upheld it, so the DRA is his last chance to get a late reprieve.
Yet McGrath said they still believe the ban could be overturned, despite the fact that O'Sullivan's previous appeal was unsuccessful.
"We'd be hopeful an independent body, which this is, would have a very close look at the incident and review it," the Decies boss said.
Waterford had two key men – Michael 'Brick' Walsh and O'Sullivan – sent off on costly straight reds in two separate league games this year and McGrath said that "in both incidents we'd feel that there was a case for it to be, at the very least, a lesser offence than a red card."
Some regard the fact that such suspensions carry over into championship as particularly harsh, but McGrath said they weren't complaining about the rule and acknowledged that they weren't the only team to suffer.
"It was brought in at Congress, a rule is a rule, we can't overturn that and a Derry footballer suffered the same thing from the National League final, but we haven't lost hope," he said.
McGrath felt both decisions were "were on the other side of harsh," but said he had great sympathy for referees and the level of abuse they have to suffer.
He said his one hope for this summer's championships is that referees apply common sense and consistency.
"I know common sense is not in the rule book and is not applicable, but the one thing we'd be hopeful is that it's either one thing or the other," he stressed.
"That they either go with the technical fouls or a 'let it flow' approach, but not a mix of both in one game.
"There has to be consistency, that's what we'd hope."
Waterford have been haunted by a litany of injuries this year and O'Sullivan's nephew Philip Mahony is the latest big-name loss, after suffering a double leg fracture and a dislocated ankle recently.
Waterford beat Offaly and Tipperary in two challenge games in the last five days and were boosted by the return of Jake Dillon in those, after having some minor knee surgery recently.
"We feel Jake will play some part against Cork," McGrath confirmed. "We got 15 minutes into him both nights, he mightn't be ready to start, but he'll definitely be involved in some capacity."
But he said that they still don't know if Stephen Molumphey's hamstring problem will rule him out and he confirmed that Darragh Fives, Maurice Shanahan (torn back muscle) and Jamie Barron (having a scan tomorrow on ankle ligaments) are all unlikely to make it back in time.