WATCH: Lar Corbett lays bare the staggering levels of skulduggery when it comes to sliotars 6 years ago

WATCH: Lar Corbett lays bare the staggering levels of skulduggery when it comes to sliotars

Sliotar shenanigans are nothing new, but we may have underestimated just how many shenanigans are ongoing.


The dark underbelly of hurling was brought to light last week when footage emerged of an individual in Clare colours throwing Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash's bag of balls on to the terraces in Semple Stadium.

It has since emerged that the individual in question was Niall O'Connor, the son of Clare joint-manager Gerry O'Connor. The Banner County have apologised for the incident and Cork have accepted that.

The Rebels' willingness to let bygones be bygones is probably rooted in the old biblical adage: let he without sin throw the first sliotar.

Everyone is messing with their hurling balls to their own advantage it seems. On Wednesday's SportsJOE Live, retired Tipperary forward Lar Corbett said that intercounty players are sending unauthorised sliotars away to be stamped with the official GAA seal of approval to circumnavigate the regulations.


Among the sliotars approved by Croke Park are Azzurri Sports, Cummins Sports, Gaelic Gear, Marc, O'Neill’s and Scullion, but there are many more on the market that are not approved for use in intercounty matches.

Corbett said he knows of players buying their favourite, illicit sliotars in bulk and then sending them away to be franked with the necessary stamp.

"If they have a lovely sliotar that they like and O'Neills only allow the O'Neills in Croke Park, they're sending away, getting the O'Neills stamp on the ball that they like and they're getting over dozens of them. So, what do you call that?," said the Thurles Sarsfields man.

None of this is new of course, as Corbett went on to recall an infamous moment in hurling skulduggery - from the 2005 Munster hurling final.


The incident involved former Cork goalkeeper and current Clare selector Donal Óg Cusack - a man whose sliotar shenanigans were admired by Corbett.

"Donal Óg Cusack used to have the balls, he used to take the O'Neill's and he would file down the rim until it was like a tennis ball - that way when he was firing out the short one he was sure he was picking out the right man. There the ones I like."

In the first half of the 2005 Munster final Tipperary were awarded a penalty, which Eoin Kelly proceeded to drill straight at Cusack.


As Cusack revealed in his autobiography, this save owed a lot to Cork's nefarious planning, which involved soaking a sliotar in water overnight, distracting the referee and switching the match ball for a soggy dud that Kelly would struggle to get any purchase on.

However it is nice to hear this story from the Tipperary perspective. The unusually appreciative Tipperary perspective, considering they lost the game by five points.

"When the referee blew for a penalty the Cork lads surrounded the referee, the good sliotar is hit into the back of the net, Donal Óg rolls out a ham sandwich and deal with that one. I like them ones."

"Rolling out the ham sandwich" has to be entered into the GAA lexicon - love it.

Listen to the ball tampering chat from 26 minutes onwards below.