Henry Shefflin defends Hegarty’s challenge on Joe Canning

Henry Shefflin has defended referee James Owens’ decision to refrain from sending Gearoid Hegarty off for a challenge on Joe Canning.

The Limerick man came very close to being shown a red card during his side’s All-Ireland hurling semi-final win against Galway after catching Canning on the back with his hurl.

Ultimately, the referee decided that a yellow card was all that was warranted for Hegarty’s challenge, despite the GAA rulebook deeming it worthy of a sending off.

However, the Kilkenny legend was speaking on RTE’s coverage of the game at half time and felt that the official punishment for such a challenge would have been too harsh.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t be reading up on the rule book. I think if Gearóid Hegarty was walked off the line for that it would be just [terrible].

“I know people give out and say we should be by the rule book, but sometimes we’re too PC about these things.

“I don’t think he went in to hurt him. He wasn’t, he went in to block him, it was wild, it was loose. It definitely warranted a yellow card.

“Joe definitely got a slap. You could see the hook marks on his back so it definitely hurt Joe, but I don’t think it warranted a red card,” Shefflin commented.

Canning was able to continue playing after the incident, but was stretchered off later on in the match after a collision with teammate Joseph Cooney.

The Galway talisman was having a brilliant game for the Tribesmen, including four wonderful points from sideline balls.

It was later revealed by RTE that Canning had suffered a concussion but the Portumna man is thankfully reported to be all right otherwise.

John Kiely’s men were deserved winners in the end and will head into the All-Ireland final against Waterford as favourites.

That game takes place at 3.30pm on Sunday the 13th of December at Croke Park, where Limerick will look to make it two All-Ireland titles in three years.

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