Aussie Gleeson's red card casts a shadow over the Nowlan Park magic show 3 months ago

Aussie Gleeson's red card casts a shadow over the Nowlan Park magic show

Waterford 5-20 Wexford 0-16

Mark Fanning gave the first puck-out away so for the second one, Aussie Gleeson was onto him.

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Onto him like a mouse on a fly. He dawdled over in that classic, languid style of his as if to tell Fanning that, if he wanted it, he had all the time in the world. But Aussie knew what he was at. He knew what he was at when, seconds later, he pounced on the puck-out and quick as flash, he was boring down on goal. From there, he never looked like missing.

That was the first time the Mount Sion man touched the ball in this National Hurling League semi-final and for the 7000 or so spectators in Nowlan Park, it marked the start of the magic show.

It was only five minutes later when, with Dessie Hutchinson acting the pure and utter genius, Gleeson was coming for Fanning again and it was a case of deja vu when he hung a second one in the roof. That wasn't long before Gleeson danced out to a Tadhg De Búrca clearance with a style, grace and ease that would make you think he was only messing around in the back garden.

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There aren't many hurlers who can do it like Aussie can.

Wexford hadn't lost a game and they'd arguably been the form team of this League campaign to date but they were chasing shadows here. They lacked sharpness and didn't look as energetic as they have in previous weeks. A lot of it though, could be put down to Waterford and while Hutchinson, Prendergast and Fagan were all brilliant, Aussie Gleeson was the man spinning Wexford sideways.

He lashed over a fine point a couple of minutes later and, with Stephen Bennett out injured, his peach of a free from his own 65 rounded off a dazzling first half performance.

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The magician barely missed a trick today, and that's what makes his late red card all the more frustrating. Gleeson was having a quieter second half, by his standards, but the damage was already done. It cast a shadow on the day for him and for Waterford then when, with five minutes to go and with an eighteen point cushion, he went from the sublime to the ridiculous in getting involved in an off-the-ball incident with Wexford's Simon Donohoe.

Donohoe did start it, by pushing Gleeson in towards the hoardings at they ran after a ball that was going dead. The Wexford man then came back for a second bite when, with flick that was missed by the cameras, he flicked down on Gleeson's hurl .

The Waterford man struck back, albeit with minimal force, and was given his marching orders. To Donohoe's credit, he did appear to be appealing to the ref not to show Gleeson a red card.

John Keenan did though and , as a result, the Waterford man is now guaranteed to miss next weekend's League final and may miss a Munster championship game too, depending on how referee John Keenan sees it.

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Afterwards, Déise manager said he didn't think there was too much in it.

"I didn't see it and I'm not taking the soft option here, I genuinely didn't see it. We're going to have a look at it tonight. I don't think there was a lot in it, to be fair to Austin. Obviously, the referee had to act on his umpires' instructions. That's the directive when you're an inter county referee. If your umpires see something, they have to act. If it's a case that there's any grounds for appeal, we'll definitely have a go at it, we'll definitely be appealing it. 

"John was just explaining his own position and I understand it perfectly. There's a lot of pressure on these referees at this level. That's the directive they get, when their umpires call them in, they have to deal with it. We'll have to see it, look back at it and see is there grounds for an appeal."

Never a dull moment.

Waterford

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Shaun O'Brien; Conor Gleeson, Iarlaith Daly, Shane McNulty; Jack Fagan (0-2), Tadhg de Burca, Carthach Daly; Darragh Lyons, Austin Gleeson (2-3, 0-1 free); Neil Montgomery (0-1), Jack Prendergast (1-0), Patrick Curran (0-7, 2 '65s, 5 frees); Colin Dunford, Michael Kiely (0-2), Dessie Hutchinson (1-3).

Subs: Shane Bennett (1-0) for Dunford, inj. (25), Kieran Bennett for Kiely (51), Tom Barron for Daly (60), Calum Lyons for Fagan (60), Pauric Mahony (0-2, 1 free) for Lyons (63).

Wexford

Mark Fanning; Matthew O’Hanlon, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohoe; Kevin Foley, Pádraig Foley (0-2 frees), Damien Reck (0-1); Cathal Dunbar, Diarmuid O’Keeffe (0-1); Liam Óg McGovern, Rory O’Connor (0-5, 3 frees), Charlie McGuckin (0-1); Oisín Pepper (0-1), Conor McDonald (0-1), Mikie Dwyer (0-1).

Subs: Oisín Foley for Pepper (40), Jack O’Connor (0-1) for Dunbar (42), Rory Higgins for McDonald, inj. (43), Lee Chin (0-1 free) for Dwyer (53), Connal Flood (0-1) for K. Foley (60).