Pat Gilroy instruction to Liam Rushe was a stroke of genius 1 week ago

Pat Gilroy instruction to Liam Rushe was a stroke of genius

He did to Padraig Walsh what few thought was possible.

Liam Rushe had the beating of Padraig Walsh every time he got the ball on Sunday. With Dublin horsing Kilkenny out of it all over the field from the word go, their big, bustling full forward was the man they looked for with every ball they won.

And it was no wonder why. Like a starving savage, the mammoth from St Patrick's Palmerstown hunted down possession like he hadn't experienced the joy of holding a sliotar in weeks.

But then when the sliotar came his way, he was so sharp and so assured that he wouldn't even have to break stride to take it under control.

When he had it under control, the best full back in the country wouldn't be able to even lay a finger on him. How the hell do you contain a gargantuan gorilla with all the enthusiasm of an oversugared baby?

He'd pinball around the place but he was always closing in on Eoin Murphy's goals, and as the men in black and amber queued up to break the bronco, they were reminded to think twice before crossing his path again.

He went at it ball-headed and though he might have forgot to tap the ball off his hurl until the seventh step at the earliest every time he took off, why would he not test the most loosely applied rule in the GAA?

Maybe the referee was just caught up by the beauty, marvelling at the power of Dublin's answer to King Kong that he couldn't bring himself to draw it to a halt.

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Michael Carton soldiered alongside Liam Rushe in the Dublin half back line for years. The O'Toole's club man never doubted Rushe's capabilities, he just felt this Palmerstown power station sold himself short by letting the ball off instead of galloping into the distance.

"He's adapted his game. In years past, he would have caught it, and then thrown it back straight away. I think he's had to look at his game because he struggled at centre back for the last two years. Now it's coming down on him (in the forwards) and he's really relishing it," said Carton.

There was no catching and laying it off this time, and Wooly feels that was a clear-cut instruction from Pat Gilroy. Run down the throat of these Cats.

"What a monster of a player. He took Padraig Walsh on loads of times and brushed past him like he wasn't even there.

"It was like the instruction was, when you get it, I don't want you throwing it out straight away, go at them. Take on your man and then take those two lads to you, and then throw it out."

"That's very smart. It was a clear instruction, when you get it, take him on. Usually a forward wouldn't take his man on on that regular basis. Gilroy is clever, draw two, give it to the spare man then, the scorer."

Kilkenny legend JJ Delaney was impressed with the wounded lion-esque agression.

"I was surprised with his aggression there yesterday, and his pace, too. Usually he'd be a big strong man but if you bottled him up he wouldn't go any further. He seemed to have a lot of power in his legs and once he got past the first tackle, he was just going straight for the goal.

 

"Once he gathers momentum, he gathers speed and he's hard to stop."

And Carton feels Rushe must be a dream to play alongside.

"Rushe wouldn't be that prolific himself, but if he's taking two men with him, sure it'd be a dream to play corner forward beside him."

He's a weapon that Liam Ryan and Wexford will have to be ready for this weekend.

You can listen to this discussion, and much more from Thursday's GAA Hour Hurling Show right here.



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