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'Some of the stuff was over the top' - Waterford great Ken McGrath on recent Austin Gleeson criticism

The 2016 Hurler of the Year has been sent off twice in recent weeks.

Waterford star Austin Gleeson (file pic).
Waterford star Austin Gleeson (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

FORMER WATERFORD HURLING star Ken McGrath has hit out at recent “over the top” criticism of Déise defender Austin Gleeson.

2016 Hurler and Young Hurler of the Year Gleeson has been sent off twice in recent weeks in action for his club Mount Sion.

Gleeson was shown a straight red card in his side’s final championship group win over Roanmore earlier this month. The 25-year-old was given his marching orders by referee Thomas Walsh in the second minute for a challenge on Brian Nolan.

Due to miss the quarter-final showdown against De La Salle as a result, Gleeson was cleared to play beforehand after having his red card overturned.

While he started in that four-point victory, he was again sent off after receiving two yellow cards.

McGrath had no complaints about the second dismissal, but took issue with the earlier “perfectly-timed” challenge against Roanmore which saw Gleeson dealt a straight red.

Speaking to WLR’s Lár Na Páirce show, McGrath said: “I have seen a good few comments about it, especially on social media.

Some of the stuff was over the top. There’s fellas who are experts on everything, soccer, rugby, Covid. If you felt that challenge against Roanmore was ‘disgraceful’ or some fella said it was ‘filthy,’ I don’t think you know the game of hurling if you call that challenge filthy or disgraceful.

“To me, he caught him perfectly and that’s why it was rescinded. It’s not Austin’s fault that he’s in such shape and got his strength and conditioning up to such a level. I think it was a perfectly-timed challenge.

If Pádraic Maher or Jackie Tyrell did that, they’d be lauded. I wouldn’t take that away from Austin. I think we need that going forward for the county team. He has added this strength and power to his game and I don’t think see much wrong with it to be honest.”

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On the two yellows Gleeson received against De La Salle, McGrath added:

“I didn’t have any problems with last Sunday. There were probably two yellows. I didn’t see them back, I only saw them live but they probably were two yellows.

“It’s a physical game. There’s fellas built up for these local championship matches. It’s high tempo, there’s players hitting each other. If we’re going to take away that from a player that has got into this shape and has that ability, I don’t know where we’re going.

“The challenge against Roanmore was a body to body challenge.”

Mount Sion — who are targeting their first senior county title in 14 years and looking to reach their first final since 2014 — face Passage in their semi-final showdown at Walsh Park tomorrow. 

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Emma Duffy

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