2007 Hurler of the Year Dan Shanahan looks ahead to Waterford’s Munster semi-final clash with Cork, the Rebel County being favourites, and where Austin Gleeson should play.
BY GERARD BROWNE
Former Waterford star Dan Shanahan believes his native county need to play Austin Gleeson in the forwards.
The Déise come up against Cork in the Munster semi-final in Semple Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the absence of their captain Pauric Mahony due to a cruciate leg injury, the debate centres around where to play Gleeson.
Shanahan feels for the benefit of the team, he needs to line out in a more advanced role.
“I think for the moment you play him in the forwards. I just think at the moment, he more dangerous in the forwards,” he says.
“If Austin can play well next Saturday, Waterford have a better chance of winning. When he is on his game, he is so hard to handle.”
Cork are the 8/15 favourites with the bookmarkers. However, Kieran Kingston’s men have their own injury concerns.
Eoin Cadogan and Darragh Fitzgibbon will miss Saturday’s game, while Robbie O’Flynn is suspended.
The former Waterford selector finds it hard to believe the Rebel County are favourites given these issues and their lack of preparation time.
“It’s hard to understand to be honest,” Shanahan states.
“Cork only played their county final four weeks ago, so Kieran Kingston only had the likes of Patrick Horgan for two weeks.”
“Liam Cahill has his players for the last four/five weeks.”
The Lismore club man recognises Cork have dangerous attacking options.
Shanahan is confident Waterford have the defenders to cope with them.
“I know Cork have serious forwards in (Patrick) Horgan, (Seamus) Harnedy and (Alan) Cadogan,” he continues.
“We have tough lads. Tadhg De Burca had a nice rest earlier in the year coming back from his cruciate. He was in great form with the club.”
“Conor Prunty has overcome his injury problems and he is a great man marker.”
“The one question I do have is the Waterford forwards really need to click. So much depends on Austin and Stephen (Bennett) at eleven and fourteen”.
The winner of Saturday’s encounter is potentially only 70 minutes away from Croke Park and an All-Ireland semi-final.
Shanahan feels both camps will be happy with the side of the draw they’re on heading into the championship.
“One win and you’re in a Munster final and an All-Ireland quarter-final automatically,” he adds.
“There been nothing between these sides over the years and both will be happy with the draw”.
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