As a manager Derek McGrath needs to use every tool to motivate his side and the GAA gave him a big one on Thursday night.
The whole situation surrounding Tadhg de Búrca ban is so wrong. There was nothing in the incident. Adrian Tuohy from Galway got off on a similar situation during the week and there wasn’t anything in that either.
You have to be disappointed by how long this has dragged on. For the player most of all, but also for the two counties involved on Sunday.
It’s unfair on everybody and I don’t know how these things aren’t sorted within a week.
The panel discuss Tadhg de Burca’s red card pic.twitter.com/jCROHkgv0U
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 23, 2017
There’s also the spin-off effect on Tadhg de Búrca himself, with his family, work or whatever he’s doing. People will have been constantly asking him ‘are you on, are you off, did you get off the ban?’
You have to think of the amateur player in these circumstances, who is meeting people all the time in his daily life. He deserved to get off for me, and this rule needs to be looked at now more than ever.
I would amend it to punish a guy who goes at his opponent’s helmet aggressively and creates a melee: that’s a genuine red card.
If two lads are going at each other, let them sort it out themselves – a bit like ice hockey.
The problem is when a guy violently pulls the helmet off someone and everyone piles in because it boils the blood of his teammates.
The rule as it stands is a bit ridiculous. There are too many inconsistencies in it and I’m sure the refs would be happier if it’s changed as well.
Who will take the sweepers brush?
Darragh Fives should drop into the sweeper role now, but he was one of their back seven anyway. So the question becomes: who does McGrath bring in to replace Fives?
Do Waterford introduce another defender or does McGrath bring an attacker like Maurice Shanahan or Colin Dunford and drop someone else back. It’s a big decision, but I reckon he’ll bring in a forward.
Waterford are not as strong or composed without De Búrca. However, in a funny way I reckon they’ll step up their defence on Sunday to counteract his loss.
There might even be less space in their half, because he used to cover so much of it. The Déise’s midfield might even come back deeper to compensate.
Cork know their system inside out and you can even see in one or two of their interviews during the week that they are focused on a specific style. We saw flashes of it in the National League, but it has really come to fruition for them in the Championship and that’s when you really want it happening.
Kieran Kingston will not mind if Waterford operate with a sweeper system. He’s faced it before and should know what he’s going to get. Kingston won’t be bothered at all by it because he’s got players that can win the game from outside.
The likes of Shane Kingston, Conor Lehane, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Luke Meade are all well able to score from long range and that can nullify the sweeper who is sitting in front of the full-back line. It’s all well and good using an extra defender to curtail goals, but Cork aren’t winning the games with green flags and they’re hitting 24 or 25 points every time they go out.
However, a big issue Cork do need to look at is the form of Shane Kingston.
Probably because he’s Kieran’s son, the Cork manager doesn’t seem to mind taking him off. Kieran is maybe slightly harder on him because he’s his boy. Shane has been a bit off colour of late for both the senior and u21 sides but, if he comes into form it will be a massive plus for The Rebels at the weekend.
I tipped Waterford in the Munster semi-final and got it wrong, but I have to go with Cork this time. De Búrca is a massive loss, even if Waterford will be motivated by it.
I just feel Cork are back! They’ve been hurting for a long time over the failure in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final, but this outfit are a different animal and if they get to the All-Ireland final, I’d give them a great chance against Galway.
A Tipp-ing of the scales
I still believe there’s an All-Ireland or two left in that Tipperary team, despite their loss to Galway last week. It’s an old saying, but they died with their boots on.
It was one of the best performances the Premier County produced all season. They were just unfortunate that it didn’t fall their way. A moment of absolute brilliance from Joe Canning won the game for Galway.
It’s disappointing for Tipperary as a whole because there’s such high expectations there. But age is still on the side of the key players and leaders within the panel.
It’s almost certain Michael Ryan will stay on as Tipperary manager and that continuity will be good for the team. I’m 100 per cent behind him anyway.
The hurt of losing the 2015 All-Ireland semi-final come out of Tipperary when they won it all last year and I believe they use this defeat as motivation next year.