Tadhg de Burca will not feature for Waterford in their All-Ireland semi-final clash with Cork on Sunday.
Although many would suggest that the upheld suspension will work to Waterford's detriment, John Mullane believes that this decision "shifts the pressure to Cork."
Recalling the Munster semi-final of 2007, Waterford were set to face a Cork side missing Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Donal Óg Cusack and Diarmuid O'Sullivan through suspension. Instead of taking confidence from Cork's absences, Mullane concedes that Waterford,
felt the pressure to perform that day more than any other.
Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking from the De La Salle man, one wonders why Waterford fought so hard to have the dubious suspension overturned if this was the case. The particular absence of Óg Cusack and O'Sullivan undoubtedly contributed to the 5 goals Cork shipped on their way to losing that semi-final.
Regarding the appeals procedure, de Burca and Waterford initiated, Mullane believes:
Something has to change when an amateur player is left in limbo until 1.0 on the Friday morning before such a big game before finally learning his fate.
A legitimate grievance that requires consideration, Mullane's gracious concession that he chose not to appeal his own 2004 Munster Final sending-off hides the fact that his infraction involved a blatant strike of Cork's Brian McCarthy.
Yet, Mullane believes that Waterford's Derek McGrath will still find use for de Burca:
I'd still expect Tadhg to play a key role this weekend. Derek McGrath will have used him at last night's gathering, and he'll be a central figure in the dressing-room before throw-in.
Whether de Burca's absence works to Waterford's disadvantage, or it is indeed Cork who feel the pressure as Mullane suggests, the five-time all-star is backing his county!