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Shane Dowling's Comments On Seamus Flanagan Incident Provoke Strong Reaction

Shane Dowling's Comments On Seamus Flanagan Incident Provoke Strong Reaction
By Donny Mahoney Updated
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After the phony war of the League, the Hurling Championship shot to life this weekend in a big way, especially in Munster where Tipp and Clare and Waterford and Limerick played out frenetic, full-blooded games. The Munster round robin is one of the best spectacles in Irish sport, and the games in Thurles and Ennis delivered plenty of talking points.

A good chunk of the post-match discussion of Limerick v Waterford has been occupied two flashpoints: the first being an elbow to the head by Seamus Flanagan on Stephen Bennett, the second a sideline scrap that saw Géaroid Hegarty receive a second yellow as well as a dig from a Waterford mentor, who promptly received a red card.

The Flanagan elbow has proven controversial, as referee Liam Gordon opted not to show the Limerick full-forward even a yellow card. In slow motion, the elbow looks extremely dangerous and Bennett required treatment afterwards.

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Shane Dowling on the Seamus Flanagan incident

On last night's Sunday Game, Shane Dowling offered a strident critique of the Waterford mentor, calling his intervention 'absolutely disgusting'. However it's his comments on his former teammates that have caused much online debate.


It's Munster championship. Things are going to get heated. Géaroid got sent off. Seamus had an incident as well. That's going to come and go and it's part of Championship hurling, right? We've got to understand that. But someone running in from the dug-out in to give somebody a dig is just absolutely disgusting as far as I'm concerned.


It appears that Dowling was trying to make a distinction between what players get up to in the cut-and-thrust of a game of hurling and shenanigans like we saw where a backroom staff member walked towards the field of play to throw a punch. That's a fair point that no one can argue with. Ideally, the mentor will be banned for a long time. However, many people watching at home were peeved that Dowling used the behaviour of the Waterford mentor to deflect from criticism of the Flanagan incident.

Elbows or shoulders to the head shouldn't really be a part of Championship Hurling. Writing in the Examiner today, former hurling referee Brian Gavin said the elbow would have been a 'red card in most sports'.


He wrote:

Limerick will be thankful for coming away with the win as they might be to finish the game with 14 men when they could have lost two more. Seamus Flanagan’s tackle on Stephen Bennett was a red card offence

The Flanagan elbow was criticised by other RTÉ GAA pundits.


Ursula Jacob was far more critical of Flanagan for elbow, saying 'he probably can count himself lucky he didn't receive any card, yellow or red It comes in late, a high challenge on Stephen Bennett. The more you look at it, was there intent there?'

On RTÉ's halftime coverage of the game, both Liam Sheedy and Anthony Daly said Flanagan was 'lucky' not to have seen a card for the incident.

Sheedy: He's a very lucky man. He's a big guy, he's in great condition, but he does use his body... Watch the connection here. That connection is high into the face...He leads with the shoulder into the face and follows through with the elbow.

Daly:  He wasn't looking at the ball, Liam. The ball had done to the ground. Peter Casey had done superbly to get in the tackle to put the ball to ground , and Seamie comes in late. He's lucky. He's lucky.

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