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Messages - Lone Shark

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1
I don't think there ever was a time (in my lifetime anyway) when you could realistically expect to live the life of a junior doctor in a hospital for example, and for that to be compatible with playing intercounty games. There may have been exceptions, but in general there were always jobs that were fairly incompatible with the type of commitment required - the key thing however was that this didn't apply to the ordinary working man.
Last Doctor I can think of that played for Armagh was Colin Hanratty in the late 80s. I remember him citing work commitments in his early retirement  (tho he did have a bad leg break).

Great post btw.

Niall McInerney is a fifth year medical student. It’s not that rare, Jack Mc is a year ahead of him in UCD. Tough, but not impossible.

The key word there is medical student. Neither of them are doing 24 hour shifts at the Mater or UCHG. And as was pointed out, these are two young lads with no other life commitments.

2
At the end of the day a degree opens up far more doors in a lot of fields. That we're channeling more to third level should be a point for pride, to be honest. The fact is if they want to learn a trade that avenue is open to them after college, but so many more avenues (STEM in particular) would be closed shops to them without degrees. The idea of someone doing one thing for 40 years and retiring or staying in the same job for decades is long over in my generation so the freedom of choice a half decent degree gives you will only become more attractive.

Not to take this discussion off on another tangent, but why, exactly? I've no problem with preparing for the world of work, and I've no problem with learning to enhance and sharpen the mind generally - these are both good things. However lets be honest, we're not talking about lads doing advanced mathematics, chemical engineering or even Irish literature and history here. Students that are suited to pursuing STEM would be in college anyway, that would be their natural inclination. If they are good footballers and hurlers and they get a scholarship or some other form of support for a course that they'd be happy to take if they had two left feet, great. 

However the advanced European economies I spoke about still produce as many STEM graduates as we do. We all know that's not the type of courses that a lot of these young athletes are doing. They're makey-uppey courses that have about one job for every five graduates, and where the main attraction is the comparatively low workload. Or they're doing arts, in order to teach, which I'll say again is great IF THAT'S WHAT THEY'D LIKE TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES. But many of them don't.

And why in the name of God does it make sense to go to college and then learn a trade?? Anyone can choose to change career, but deliberately wasting four years in terms of life and career development seems daft to say the least.

Indeed. Remember those bans on training in certain months over recent years ;D
It's up there with unpaid managers and the Amateur American Summer circus.
On the main issue I'm afraid well never get back to Paddy Bawn Brosnan out fishing for a week, coming into Dingle late Friday night,  tying up th'oul boat and heading to Dublin to play the AI Final.
Teachers, Students, Gardai and Army. After that ......

Agreed - it would be extremely difficult. However there is lots you could do, which would also serve a greater purpose. For example if the issue of financing county teams was taken away from county boards, and there was closer scrutiny of accounts, then it would be a lot easier to curtail some of these things.

3
I don't think there ever was a time (in my lifetime anyway) when you could realistically expect to live the life of a junior doctor in a hospital for example, and for that to be compatible with playing intercounty games. There may have been exceptions, but in general there were always jobs that were fairly incompatible with the type of commitment required - the key thing however was that this didn't apply to the ordinary working man.

We're getting to the stage now where the vast majority of private sector roles are simply a no-go for a player who wants an intercounty career, while even the likes of the army and the gardaí is difficult, albeit manageable. This is for a variety of reasons.

(1) How we work has changed - there is less manual labour, so the "base" that a lot of people start from, before they train, can be quite low.

(2) The demands of the average job has changed. There are far fewer "handy numbers" than was once the case, since the recession flushed away a lot of them. There are less in the public sector, and very, very few in the private. These are jobs where ducking out at 3pm was no big deal, where there was never any need for the employee to stay late, and where holidays could be taken as and when they were required.

(3) 24-hour culture. Aside from the "always on" aspect of some jobs, there's also the simple fact that it's now fully expected that a lot of retail and service work is seven days, and that means that a lot of the ancillary work that supports that frontline employment is also not just office hours.


All of these are nothing to do with the GAA. That's just sociology at work. However on the flip side, the demands of playing intercounty GAA have moved to a level where only teachers, students and those with absolutely no social life whatsoever can make it work. In the past few years I've interviewed a number of players who have given up careers and areas of study that they liked, all because they wanted to play intercounty more, and they knew that they had to bite the bullet and go teaching to make that happen. Moreover, it seems like the AVERAGE staff room now has three or four intercounty players in it. There are some areas of the country where it is well known that you'll only get a teaching job if no intercounty men are in need, because they get first call. I've also interviewed others who have jobs that you would expect to be more demanding, but then they throw in the kicker - they've no time for a personal life. One young player admitted (and he didn't see anything wrong with this) that he had no girlfriend because he simply didn't have time, and all of his friends outside of football simply accept that they won't see him at all, barring maybe a few times in November and December. 

We now have managers who expect players not just to be available for a match at a certain time on a Saturday and Sunday, but to take the whole weekend off. That means that you can't just take advantage of the good nature of your colleague and swap shifts from one day to the other, or from late to early, you have to simply not work.

We have early morning sessions as well as evening sessions, so the accountant in the lead up to tax deadlines, or the marketing manager in the lead up to Christmas, or anyone who's extra busy for any reason, can't just work the extra hours earlier in the day - they're caught on both sides.

In the bigger counties, there are training holidays, and the excuse of "I can't get off work" isn't tolerated. We're increasing the number of intercounty games, increasing the number of club games, and as a result, more and more of them are on midweek, with consequent pressure on players, particularly those based away from home.




You can't do anything about the fact that some players will want to push themselves, and to make extra sacrifices. They'll take the extra hour to cook the extra healthy meal from raw ingredients, they'll take the hour to do the stretching and swim session on the day off, and they'll get to bed very early to still have seven hours sleep under their belt, even if they've a 6:30 am training the next morning. It only works if you've no family, or a very understanding partner who's happy to slot into the few brief windows you have in the week, but if guys want to make that choice, that's their decision. Nobody can police that, but there's a lot more that can be done on an official level, and there seems to be no interest in doing it.

Equally, there will always be counties that are able to place players in roles where they will only be expected to do as much work as playing intercounty GAA will allow, and that the employer offers the job on that basis. However surely somebody, somewhere should shout stop, and point out how it's not sustainable to allow things continue to escalate like this.

Already in Ireland there are plenty of statistics showing that we send far more people to third level than makes sense - lots of young people are just delaying adulthood, instead of pursuing viable careers that suit their personality. Per capita, we send far more people to third level than Germany, Sweden, or Holland, and it's getting to the stage that intercounty GAA is a huge factor in this - guys who would have been far better served by learning a trade, or doing a brief, specific course in a PLC that will prepare them for a role in whatever large company might be the main employer in their area, instead get a scholarship and do courses in sports science, strength and conditioning, arts (with a view to teaching) and other stuff that the country doesn't need, and more importantly, that they don't want, for no reason other than it suits playing county.



4
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 04:53:05 PM »
I was listening to a podcast regarding the new hurling format and all the players on the show said they wanted more games. So players want more games, fans want more games and the GAA benefits with more games. The issue is things like the provincials and having two separate competitions (league and championship). I see no reason we can't give IC players more competitive games in a shorter timeframe.

(1) Players? Yes, they do - albeit I would question their motivation, in some cases. It can become a chicken and egg - (look what we're giving up, look at the demands, we need to be "looked after" better, etc.)
(2) Fans? Jury very much out. Irish fans, and GAA fans, have proven that they love meaningful, important, big games. I remain deeply unconvinced that they will travel in the same numbers to round robin games that don't have the same significance. In theory, a qualifier tie between (for example) Offaly vs Cavan should draw a similar crowd to a Leinster championship tie between Laois and Longford - but in practice, that's not how it works out at all.
(3) GAA? Is that not what we're discussing here? Certainly I don't think it's as clear cut as "the GAA benefits from more games" as a statement of fact. 

5
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 04:30:00 PM »
Croke Park, we are constantly told when it suits, is not Dublin's home ground. Why do they play home league games in the National Stadium? That is absolutely a competitive advantage for them, and it is a decision which confers that advantage for a financial reason.

It may not matter a squat in the grand scheme of things, but it may, and it's a decision where the driving force was financial rather than games based.

The Super 8 motivation is around money, it's primary interest is not in whether this is good for the games or not.
Is it a competitive advantage to Monaghan to have their county final and home league games in Clones given that all Ulster finals are also played there?

Are you saying that Monaghan should be barred from doing that?

Because you appear to be suggesting Dublin should be barred from playing home matches in Croke Park.

Straw man, straw man, straw man!
It seems clear to me anyway (at the risk of being seen to just wade in out of county loyalty) that AZ is using that as one of many examples of where a decision has been taken that is financially motivated. Now as it happens, I personally would be happy to see Dublin play league games in Croke Park, because if you can get 20,000 people into a GAA game, any GAA game, then you should certainly do so, I hate the idea of any supporters being un-necessarily locked out.

However that doesn't change the fact that many of the decisions that have been taken have no such basis - and chief among those is the Super 8. If you want to bring in more games for counties, bring them in for everyone, not just the big teams that need them least. It is impossible to justify that decision on any grounds other than monetary.


And yes, you are correct that there has always been a financial motivation, and there needs to be. But that should never be seen as the NUMBER ONE priority, and right now, there are a lot of Paraic Duffy decisions that come across that way.


6
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 03:43:01 PM »
But there is absolutely a need for an organisation like the GPA. And it has to be administered by professional staff.

Yes, and yes. However the GPA should be operating on the basis that they decide on a plan that they want to implement, whether that be third level scholarships, hardship funds, professional career development or whatever, and they go to the GAA and look for funding, advocate, and then central council makes the decision on where that fits into the heirarchy of needs, relative to infrastructure projects in Waterford, Games development officers in Longford and hurling promotion in Derry.

It should not be the case (but is, because PD signed off on it) that the GPA receives a huge chunk of money out of the GAA's rights income, with no instruction as to how to spend it, so it can all be spent on junkets for the lads over in America. How in the name of jaysus did that farcical schyte in Fenway Park serve anyone, except to be a great big boondoggle?

Moreover, nobody in the GAA seems to know what Dessie Farrell was paid, what went into his pension fund, or likewise for Dermot Earley? And I'm not saying that a role like that should pay peanuts, by all means a salary of somewhere in the €80,000 range would seem about right. But if that's all they're getting, why is that not on record, like most high level sporting salaries?

Different people have different ideas about championship formats. Lots of people who claim to have the best interests of the GAA at heart (hello Joe Brolly) want a two tier or a three tier championship format. That to me sounds like a great way to kill off many county teams. That's actual elitism, from the very people who claim to be against it.

In administrative terms, you describe a problem which lies at club and county level and a problem of the calibre of person involved, not a problem at the national administrative level.

Anybody's allowed suggest a championship structure change - but if the GAA was a proper, grassroots-led democracy, that change would come from the bottom up - not the top down. What club asked for a super 8? None. Can any person on this board, all of whom I assume are club members, or supporters at least, say that they heard of the Super 8 before Ard Comhairle proposed it? Of course not, because it was a suggested solution to a non-problem. The only thing it does is give more games, more promotion, more sponsorship opportunities to the best teams, and literally nobody asked for that, bar a few media heads who want a lot more Dublin vs Kerry and a lot less Carlow vs Wicklow.

The reference to a 2 or 3 tier championship is a straw man - nobody here mentioned it, PD hasn't mentioned it, it's not being discussed. Of course it would be elitist and wrong, but you're trying to shift the goalposts now.

And I take huge issue with the "calibre of person" comment. Keeping a club going is incredibly difficult, and time consuming. I'm a very minor member of the committee in my club, I do a lot less than most due to my work, and I don't have time to be considering motions for Congress that don't affect us.

Many of these motions aren't explained, aren't canvassed, knock on effects aren't explored, and that absolutely is a national issue.



Is round robin or back door at club championship level not "elitist" too? Why is having more games "elitist" at county level but not at club level?

You say "nobody wants to go back to straight knock-out", either at club or county level, but yet they want those games to cut across each other's seasons.

"Fitting games in" (at club level) is the operative phrase here, and that's a fool's game. The answer is to completely separate county and club championship seasons.

Moving the All-Ireland finals forward helps in this regard, but you could easily argue they should be moved forward further, to the end of July or the start of August, if this problem is to be fully addressed.


I never said that it was a bad thing that there are more games, at club or county. My point is that the summer, as we all learned it in school, is clearly defined - it's May, June and July. The county scene has devoured those three months, to the point that some counties get some club games in there, others don't, and that's not going to change now. Yes, I agree with two distinct seasons, but then why all this April fuss? Surely just finish the Intercounty in July as opposed to August, and let the county games get played in April as well. JAnuary to June for Intercounty, with AI semis and finals in July. Club from July to November - that would be far more fair.

I take your point that you're in agreement with this, but the topic up for debate here is Paraic Duffy's tenure, and he's not on that page at all.

I'm not really sure where you're going with the Donegal/Leitrim comparison. Donegal isn't exactly an economic powerhouse. There are few counties which are. You argument appears to have either a problem with economics and the jobs market, or is one where you advocate the actual standards of the games should drop across the board. That isn't going to happen because players won't let it happen.

There is no system and no format under which the likes of Leitrim will thrive at inter-county level. Economics and population will always see to that. That's the fact of the county system on which the whole of the GAA is based.

This goes back to what I said earlier - I have no problem accepting that things are naturally progressing down a certain path, but that doesn't mean you just shrug your shoulders and let it be. Of course Leitrim will never be on an even footing with other teams, but surely you still try and promote that? I interviewed one county player last year for a local paper and he confirmed to me that he gave up a career in law to become a teacher, all because he was told by senior management that there was no way he could pursue a legal career and an intercounty football one side by side, so he had to "choose what he wanted more". That man had zero interest in teaching, at least when I spoke to him, but he wanted to play intercounty, so there it is.

Even if there's nothing that Duffy, or the GAA generally, can do to move things back the other way, you have to try - and there are a myriad of ways of doing that. You can balance the scale financially, you can actively enforce the amateur ethos, you can add transparency to all development officer appointments, and lots more. You'll never be able to stop Johnny's Menswear from giving Jimmy footballer a free suit in exchange for a tweet and an instagram post, but that doesn't mean that you don't throw the smaller counties a bone and at least TRY to do something, surely. 

7
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 03:14:36 PM »
LS, I'll let Sid digest that and respond as many of the points I'd be in agreement with. However, just on the development squads, I'm not sure where you are getting that info?

I'm involved in Tipp, and Clubs are absolutely #1 when it comes to access to players. In fact I rang clubs on a Thursday to insist that lads on my squad played with their clubs on that Thursday night, despite our 'tournament' being on the Saturday. We organise training, and games around club availability, and in a county like Tipp with 4 divisions all operating off separate calendars, that is not easy.

We also only play that 1 tournament, so I'm not sure where the 6-10 competitive games comes from.

I'm not sure what counties you are referring to, so maybe it's different in other counties, but there are guidelines laid down about Development Squad sessions, and the pre-eminence of club activities, so that may be a county or counties actually breaching guidelines set down by the GAA.

I'm conscious of the fact that other counties may do things differently, and I'm certainly going to defer to your firsthand experience. Tipp seem to treat development squads like, well, development squads, as opposed to championship panels - sadly that's not always the case.

I will say that at under-16 level (for example) a Connacht team might enter the Ted Webb Cup, and the Fr. Manning Cup, and have prep matches for both. If a county side went well in both of those, they could easily play four games in each. You will have the odd player involved in both hurling and football as well.

And what happens in a lot of counties (here in Roscommon included) is that there will be a week where there might be no U16 or minor fixtures, to allow these county games.

And you can end up with a situation like my (adopted) club had this summer, when we had a club championship U16 game scheduled for a Friday evening, but half a dozen lads were selected to go to Donegal for a hurling blitz with the county on the Saturday. Our opponents aren't a dual club, so wouldn't have had any hurlers. We were given two choices (1) play on the Friday evening, without the county players , or (2) play it on the Sunday morning, after your six guys have had a 300-mile round trip the previous day, and played 2/3 competitive hurling matches into the bargain. Of course there was always option three, concede a walkover.

Offaly aren't as bad as Roscommon, but not as good as you describe in Tipp either. And this from Joe Brolly (leaving out the hyperbole, just focusing on the facts) would suggest that other counties are not following guidelines either.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/columnists/joe-brolly/joe-brolly-dysfunction-and-humiliation-summed-up-in-one-hypocritical-letter-36184759.html 

This is the key bit from the above piece:

Quote
To ensure that the clubs remain the priority, the letter continues: "The county minor squad will only have pitch sessions on Mondays and Thursdays with a gym session on Saturday morning, and to minimise disruption, the under 17 squad will mirror this schedule."
This doesn't take into account matches and challenge games, which means effectively a four-day-a-week county commitment for 15, 16, 17 and 18-year-olds, starting in January.

8
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 01:28:38 PM »
Before Sid Waddell came in with his comments regarding "elitism", it should be noted that the word had only been used once on this thread. That isn't the cry here. More than a few people had referred to the fact that in their view (and I'm in this group), Paraic Duffy's administration was notable for a huge drive towards the monetization of our big games, and a very commercial focus, as opposed to focussing on what's best for the development of our games overall.

Among the issues (and this is being specific, not throwing out general ideas) are these:

(1) The increasing power of the GPA, the lack of oversight in exchange for the huge level of funding they receive, and the fact that they appear to have a huge amount of control over what happens in our games. They make laughable claims about how the provincial championships could be played in April, like a standalone O'Byrne Cup style competition, but that the crowds will be same as they are now - and yet nobody calls them out on it. We have no idea what they pay their staff, no idea what they plan to use the media rights money for, and PD seems to think that's all okay. 

(2) The fact is that while it is correct to say that all changes have been voted through by county boards, and they in turn should vote on the basis of what their clubs want, that's not how it works in practice. In practice, the only motions that get through in the majority of cases are the ones proposed by Ard Comhairle, since what happens is that counties only oppose them if they have a strong vested interest in doing so, and there's never a huge number of counties that have that. Everybody wants to cosy up to the top table to have a chance of getting favours in future, so a county like Sligo, or Fermanagh, or Donegal, will vote through whatever Ard Comhairle wants when it comes to the Leinster and Munster hurling championship. And I don't think anyone on here is going to pretend that Tubbercurry, Termon or Teemore are going to sit down at a club meeting and discuss the Leinster SHC. They've enough to be doing making sure there are jerseys on the backs of the under-14s, and enough adults to coach them.

Homework exercise - try and find the last time a motion from a county regarding the structure of championships was passed. You'll have to dig. Successful motions in that area only come from Ard Comhairle.

(3) Back in the "golden era" that no-one wants to return to, despite what some people might claim, all county championships and most club championships were straight knockout. Consequently you could play club and county side by side, through the summer. Nobody wants that, but what has happened since is that both strands now have a full programme of games, and the extra space has been completely eaten by intercounty, instead of shared. County teams get the summer while the clubs get April, and Autumn (provided the county team gets knocked out). Even if a county team doesn't have a game for a fortnight, the manager often looks for the club players for a hastily organised challenge game, so there is no change of fitting club games in. Most would argue that a little bit of balance would be nice, but instead Paraic has been at the head of the charge for this notion that giving clubs the month of April is a big step in the right direction, even though I don't know a single club player who (a) believes that any county will actually be able to play club games on the weekend of April 28/29 in 2018, and (b) enjoys the "two season" aspect, and having to be championship ready at a time when there can still be a touch of frost on the ground when you get up in the morning. 

And yes, the new system means that most counties (at least 21/32, all bar 8 football and 3 hurling) will be done by mid-July. But what of the other 11?

(4) On top of all this, PD has overseen a dramatic growth in a new phenomenon, that of underage county development squads. Now we have the farcical situation where under-14 club teams can't get games played, because they can't get access to their players. We see county under-16 panels playing anything from six to ten "competitive" games in a summer, where managers demand access to the players and club fixtures can't be played. How is that not elitist? 

I like the U-20 development, it has always defied logic that players would play at that age (or U21) and senior as well. I'll give credit for that certainly.

(5) Another new evolution in GAA has been the amount of time involved in playing intercounty, which in turn means that whole swathes of people are ruled out, purely because their employers aren't able to be as flexible. And yes, that feeds into elitism, because it means that if you have a Tesco employee in Kinlough, playing for Melvin Gaels, and another five miles down the road in Bundoran, playing for Realt na Mara, and they are both potential county players - the county with the far greater level of funding (in this case Donegal) has a far better chance of getting their player a handy job that's compatible with playing county, while the guy in Leitrim has no option but to keep his job with all the weekend and evening hours that are incompatible with joining a county panel.

There will always be counties with wealthy backers, and the teacher will always have a massive advantage over the "9-5:30, 4 weeks annual leave" professional, but we've long passed the time for the top administrators in the GAA to shout stop - and they never have.



You say there are no details - there's just a handful of details, and in every instance PD has either stood back and done nothing, or overseen a continued decline, or in the case of the GPA, actively fed the parasite within. Again, I fully agree that he has only ever acted out of good will, but he has always been a man who has acted within the constraints of what he perceives to be the inevitable future of the GAA that no-one truly wants, but he feels powerless to stop. In comparison with the job done by Liam Mulvihill, I'm afraid he's in the ha'penny place.

9
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 11:02:26 AM »
When is this "Professional era" coming in?
Will all 32 Counties have fully professional hurling and football teams of 30 players each plus 20 managenent/back up/administration?
€50K ×50 = €2.5m x 64 = €160m.
Minimum for wages only.
Who's going to pay for all this?

I thought paranoia had vanished from GAABOARD but it's back in full flow as the "enemies/nemesis" of the GAA are getting it with both barrels from the usual crew.

Owenmoresider got in there before me. There won't be 64 professional teams, there'll probably be about 12-14 between both sports, and between them they will cannibalise everything in terms of TV revenue, sponsorship, players etc.

And we're well on the way already. Factor in sponsored cars, clothing, mileage (over and above the basic amount to cover fuel/wear and tear), food (again, I'm not talking the one meal after training here) and all the other add ons that are available, and there are plenty of players involved with the stronger teams in both codes who are doing very well out of playing intercounty GAA. If you're a potential intercounty hurler and footballer from somewhere like Ballyhaunis in Mayo or Ballinacourty in Waterford, there's no getting away from the fact that it's not just the potential for a senior All Ireland title that varies hugely depending on which sport you want to play - it's your earning potential as well.

10
GAA Discussion / Re: Paraic Duffy to Stand Down
« on: October 12, 2017, 10:33:53 AM »
I’d be biased I suppose as I’m a club man of Paraic’s but I think he’s been really good in his time in the job. I’d expect this thread to soon descend into a ‘fcuk him all he was interested in was the money’ slagging match. I’ve always thought he was in a damned if he did and damned if he didn’t situation with the changes that have occurred as the game hurtles towards semi professionalism.

Whatever people think about the job he did I can tell you he’s a serious grassroots football man at the back of it all.

When it comes to how I'd view the man's tenure, the bit in bold says it all for me. I don't doubt that he is a genuine man with the best interests of the GAA at heart, and he came across as a man who believed in the measures he implemented and oversaw.

However he acted as if he believed that the move to semi (or full) professionalism in the GAA was inevitable, and that his job was to steer the bobsled downhill, because there was no point trying to stop it. He oversaw complete and utter capitulation to the GPA agenda, and consequently has made it incredibly difficult for the next occupant of the role to change that trajectory. To give the GPA such power and resource without any level of accountability or oversight strikes me as completely counter to the ideals of the GAA, and it will be very hard to unwind. I firmly believe that in the future we're going to have an Angela Kerins/REHAB style moment within the GPA when somebody lifts the lid on the finances in that organisation, and that has been facilitated by the GAA's petrified stance in any sort of face off with that body.

I'd also broadly fall in line with AZOffaly's view, that he often saw revenue generation as a worthy goal in itself, rather than a necessary aspect to fund the promotion of all gaelic games across the entire country. Again, I've no doubt that the GPA approves of this too, since it makes sense to fatten the calf as much as possible before killing it.


Ultimately however, I believe that this approach didn't emanate from any will to do harm to the GAA, but far more a sense that we're on the cusp of a professional era, and that all that it was in his power to do was to manage the transition as much as possible.

11
GAA Discussion / Re: Would you be in favour of a second tier?
« on: August 13, 2017, 01:31:31 AM »
Waterford manager Tom McGlinchey and London manager Ciaran Deely from earlier on in the year.

http://www.the42.ie/tom-mcglinchey-waterford-2-3407747-May2017/

https://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2017/0530/879042-london-boss-deely-wants-a-second-tier-competition/

Firstly - I like Tom McGlinchey, and I think he's done a decent job with Waterford - but he is a Cork man. He was brought up thinking that in footballing terms, Waterford are second tier by their nature, and while I've no doubt that he's put his heart and soul into his job, it is just that to him - a job. It's not the same as somebody asking for their own county to be relegated; the county they grew up supporting, playing for, committed to.

Maybe I'm being unfair, but to me, that's a Cork man suggesting a second tier - and until he's also suggesting that Cork should be in it, I'm not taking that the same as I would the comments of someone like Frank Fitzsimons. Now if an experienced player, someone like Paul Whyte or Thomas O'Gorman came out and asked for it, that would be different. Tom McGlinchey asking for it is the same as when Pat Flanagan went on the Sunday game and suggested that Westmeath should be in an All Ireland B competition. Yet funnily enough, he never asked for that when in charge of his native county.
 
London is a bit of a special case too. They don't have a special rivalry with their neighbours that they want to keep alive, and they will always be very different from the county sides from the island of Ireland. Again, very few players grow up with a deeply held love of County London, in the same way that 99% of the readers of this board grew up loving their own county. They don't have a bank of memories of provincial games that they treasure, and they don't have those one-off days to aspire to in the same way.

Neither Offaly nor Westmeath were at anything in this year's Leinster championship, but for two days in June, that was all that mattered. That was our All Ireland, and winning or losing it meant far more than any Junior competition. London don't have that, so of course their view will be different.


To me, this argument is the same as people who think that there should be better public transport. Some people want it because they themselves would happily take a bus or a light rail to work, even if it involved some additional inconvenience. More people just want it because they think it'll get more cars off the road and thus make their own drive to work a bit more pleasant.   

12
GAA Discussion / Re: Would you be in favour of a second tier?
« on: August 11, 2017, 03:46:49 PM »
Yet another individual involved in the day-in-day-out business of being a bottom-tier footballing county team calling for change.

Yet another? As far as I'm aware there was a survey there recently of div 4 type managers and all of them mentioned change but i believe only one of them called for tiers. It actually may have been this lad.

Exactly. There's been no shortage of media heads, and pundits from Dublin, Kerry or Mayo calling for tiers, but I haven't heard anyone who actually would be cut adrift actually looking for this sort of a system. Fitzsimons' comments are pretty much the first ones that I would take seriously, because he's speaking on behalf of a county that would be cut off into the reincarnated Tommy Murphy cup.

13
Loneshark I wouldn't get too upset about people disagreeing with you. We are only talking about football. There are more important things. As for Heslin/Grimley incident I do not recall that. I will say that Niall is by no stretch a hard or dirty player. He would seldom get involved in any wrestling. The Heslin incident - in particular - I was on about occurred near end of normal time. There was a ball played in and he went up with 2 Armagh players and the ball went wide. He proceeded to shoulder one Armagh player and then punch Brendan Donaghy in stomach.

The problem with tackling is important but I believe in general I feel this is over exuberance and poor techniques  rather than dirty play.  There are a couple of exceptions to this. That still does not mean that I feel the inconsistency of the referee was not a factor on the free count or frustration felt.

I'm not getting wound up about it, at all. As a handful of people on this board will know, I've had more cause than most to learn some hard lessons about what's important and isn't important in life this year, and you'd find my pulse is fairly settled as I type right now. The point of my post was not to try and deal with the raving loonies who believe that any criticism can only stem from an inherent bias (and in fairness, if I grew up in Northern Ireland under Unionist control, I might have the same mindset!), but to point out to the silent majority that the idea that I might have any chip on my shoulder is plain daft. That's all.

Definitely I didn't see that Heslin incident you're referring to. Obviously if that happened, that would have been a hugely significant miss on the part of the officials.

However on the point of inconsistency, my whole thing is that while O'Sullivan's approach was his own, and there were some types of fouls that he didn't call at all, in my view Armagh were the ones who benefitted hugely from that inconsistency, since their "unique" approach was such that a referee could have given a card every two minutes, if he wanted to call it by the book. McCabe alone could have had one every five minutes. In fact if ever there was a case where a referee could have been justified in taking a leaf out of the rugby union book and calling over the captain to have a word with his team, this was it.


 

14
GAA Discussion / Re: The Sunday Game
« on: July 10, 2017, 12:27:25 AM »
Not much better than the TV3 deal.
At least, that was my understanding at the time.
We already have GAAGo for those watching overseas, why do we need SKY?

Where TV3 prepared to pay €55m over 5 years? (I don't know, it's an genuine question but I'd be surprised if they were in a position to afford that.)

https://amp.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/fans-set-for-five-more-years-of-sky-with-gaa-on-the-brink-of-55m-rights-deal-35162069.html

Just on this, that's €55m between RTE and Sky, the vast majority from RTE since they get more games, and the best of them. I too was told that what the GAA get from Sky is broadly in line with what they got from TV3.



On the general topic, and leaving aside the obvious conflict of interest inherent in the "Former player who gets paid large sums to analyse games on RTE believes that more games should be on RTE" aspect, I wish someone would address this question.

Why is it such a travesty that Waterford vs Kilkenny was not available on terrestrial TV, but Cavan vs Tipperary in football (which was also a great game, I was there) is perfectly fine to leave uncovered? It was on at 2pm, opposite nothing at all other than some dreary old golf coverage. Put it out there, if you believe that people missing games is such a terrible thing?

The logical extension of the argument that no games should be on Sky because ould lads that live on mountaintops should be able to see them, is that all games should be available free to air. Now of course you can't broadcast all the games at the one time, and if there are five or six games on a Saturday evening or a Sunday afternoon, you can't show them all - but you could show more. Where do all these people believe that the line should be drawn?

Moreover, how about the quaint old notion that there shouldn't always be a game on TV, and maybe someone should go out and support their clubs? I don't know what's on TV next Saturday evening, but I do know that there's two games in the Offaly SHC, including what looks like an excellent local derby between Kinnitty and Kilcormac-Killoughey. Maybe one or two people around home should go out and see that, instead of staying in, stuck to the couch? Maybe the GAA should factor that in?




15
To be honest, at 39 years of age, if lads want to think that I have an anti-Armagh agenda for some bizarre reason, despite the fact that Offaly have never played a senior championship game against them in my lifetime and the fact that I live over 100 miles away from the county boundary and have little or no interaction with Armagh people on a daily basis, then work away. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see, and I could not be arsed trying to convince people otherwise.

I'm well aware that in Ulster, and also in Connacht, there is a fair degree of provincial solidarity - people will stick up for other counties of their own. Rest assured Offaly (or Leinster in general) doesn't work like that. We are in a bad way at the moment, almost entirely of our own making, but we'll always have our own identity and I feel as much affinity with Westmeath as I do with the people of Donegal, Kerry, or the Isle of Man. In my teens and twenties, I'd have cheered on a team made up entirely of parking clampers if they were playing Westmeath, but now I'm just too lazy to bother expending such emotional energy, so I'm entirely ambivalent. I know Tom Cribbin personally and he's a very decent skin who is an honest and as genuine a man as you could hope to meet, so I'm disappointed for him, but not so much that I'm going to drag myself into a needless online row for the sake of it.

So just to pick up on the other points that were raised.

(1) I was not intending to write a "report". If you want that, here's one I wrote for the GAA website - http://www.gaa.ie/football/news/round-qualifier-armagh-defeat-westmeath/ I was merely looking to make an observation about what I considered to be a remarkable game, unlike anything I've ever seen before. At a guess I've seen the Armagh senior footballers play live (i.e. at the stadium) on average about once a year over the past decade, and I saw Kildare plenty of times when McGeeney was in charge there. I didn't expect anything like this. It was unprecedented in my years of match reporting, and I just felt like sharing my views on a GAA discussion board.

(2) I'm not for a minute claiming to have presented an exhaustive list of every transgression that happened from both sides. That's not what it was about - I was remarking about the fact that Armagh's fouling appeared to be deliberate, coached, utterly un-necessary in a lot of cases, and could easily have drawn a record number of cards. I am well aware that there are members of the Westmeath team that are no angels, and I've no doubt that there was other stuff going on. However as I said, I didn't observe a red card incident from either team, I didn't observe Westmeath make a load of black/yellow card fouls that went unpunished, so I didn't discuss them. Much the same as I didn't see the messing that went on between the Westmeath subs and the Armagh fans - so I won't comment on that either. My point wasn't that fouls A, B, C went unpunished, it was that every time I looked, there were more things happening. The late hits in particular was incredibly odd. A huge number of them were harmless shoves or bumps after the ball was gone, nothing that you'd bother whistling if it was a one off, but it just seemed like a policy, because it was happening every time.

(3) There can be no disputing the Clarke black card. Jamie Gonoud made a run to support the man in possession, Clarke shouldered into him and ensured he couldn't rejoin the move. And yes, a lot of journalists and commentators don't understand it. However I'm also involved in underage coaching, so I make damn sure that I do know the rules. That was certainly a "Deliberate Body Collide to take a player out of the movement of the play".

(4) On the Heslin/Grimley altercation, again the two lads ended up wrestling on the ground, and because it was a move that was likely to lead to a goal chance, so I'd have to note the build up, I was watching the ball. However I will say that the idea that Heslin would instigate when his team was mounting a dangerous attack seems counterintuitive. Now if there are others who saw a punch from Heslin, then I'm not going to say he didn't. He'd certainly be one player who has been guilty of rash outbursts in the past, but not so much in recent years.

(5) Were there some frees given against Armagh that were harsh? Absolutely - particularly late on, there were a couple of frees given under the kickout that seemed to be for little or nothing. However there are two aspects to this - firstly, that's the kind of stuff that happens in every game, you'll always have a fair number of contentious calls of that type, and secondly, when you spend the game fouling constantly, that's the kind of consequence you can expect - Refs will presume that you're going to keep transgressing. That's just human nature. 

(6) On the Fermanagh game, you'll note that I didn't say that Armagh's tactics in that game were the same as they were here. Again, I wasn't at that game, and I certainly won't judge on the basis of a lousy two minutes of Sunday Game highlights. I was merely relating what the Armagh statisticians beside me in the press box said, in terms of the approach and the number of frees. If someone who was at both games says that the nature of the fouling was completely different, then I'm not going to argue.

(7) Anyone who believes that O'Sullivan was fussy or harsh should take a look at how David Gough handled the Connacht final today. Look at some of the frees that were given for off the ball fouls, for the slightest of pulls or for very minimal contact. Note how he gave yellow cards for persistent fouling, even if it was slight in nature. O'Sullivan gave no yellows for persistent fouling, and no "off the ball" frees - and he could have gone to town. Now Gough is the other end of the scale, but if Armagh were reffed by those standards, I'm not exaggerating when I say they'd have finished the game with 10 or 11 men on the field, while there would have been a lot more 20m frees for off the ball incidents close to goal. I can say with complete certainty that if this approach is maintained, ye will meet a referee who will take a far less lenient approach than Padraig O'Sullivan did yesterday. And if your response to that is to say "Lenient?? LENIENT??" in an increasingly shrill voice, then work away. I won't be losing sleep over it.




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