There were many game-changing moments in the final quarter of today’s All-Ireland semi-final between Cork and Waterford. The dismissal of Damien Cahalane after 51 minutes opened up the game and what was a tight battle and a game of inches soon turned.
Gaps appeared in the Cork defence and they were expertly exposed, most notably by Jamie Barron and Austin Gleeson. Gleeson showed incredible vision to set Barron up for Waterford’s second goal.
And moments later, the provider turned supplier as Gleeson ran through the Cork defence, reminiscent of DJ Carey at this stage of the hurling championship 15 years ago. That day DJ Carey’s run saw him pass to Jimmy Coogan instead of Charlie Carter.
Today, as can be seen below, Gleeson had time to play Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh into his right-hand side but a sublime side-step and dummy was followed by a composed flick past Anthony Nash which saw the crowd erupt.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) August 13, 2017
Gleeson is now the cult-hero of Waterford hurling taking over from figures like Ken McGrath, Paul Flynn and another man fond of a fine solo-run and finish, John Mullane. Today saw Mullane in the press box on live commentary for RTÉ Radio 1.
But the former Déise great could not contain himself as Gleeson neared in on goal. Mullane even managed to have his trade mark fist-pump captured on camera as dreams of a first All-Ireland final appearance since 2008 started to become a reality.
WATCH: John Mullane celebrates Austin Gleeson’s goal as Waterford are through to the 2017 All Ireland final. pic.twitter.com/XcY8KrGxQh
— RTÉ Radio 1 (@RTERadio1) August 13, 2017
That passion was referred to by Derek McGrath in his post-match press conference. Waterford fans will now be hoping that this group can gather the one thing John Mullane has missing from his illustrious career, that senior All-Ireland Celtic Cross.