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Messages - Lone Shark

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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.

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.   

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.

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.


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.)

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?

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 - 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.

A massive over simplification of what happened in which no one covers themselves in glory. Lots of needle throughout from the initial shocking decision to black card Clarke for a clear shoulder charge.

You forgot to mention how it was off the ball, and how Clarke continued to pull out of Gonoud while he was on the ground, in case he planned on getting up and supporting the Westmeath man in possession. Nobody except the most one-eyed of Armagh supporters could say anything else. Not a single dissenting voice in the press box at the time, from Armagh, Westmeath, or neutrals - he had to go.

I thought it was hard to judge as Westmeath got away with an awful lot whilst Armagh seemed very harshly treated for any misdemeanor. That said credit to Armagh who reverted to a system in the second half that reduced fouling and made the game difficult for Westmeath. Deserved winners in the end

Deserved winners, yes. The rest of that is daft. Firstly, they committed 19 fouls in the first half and 20 in the second. 18 personals in each - that's not reduction by my maths. And harshly treated would suggest unwarranted cards - there wasn't a single card Armagh got that could be remotely disputed, and there were at least ten more that could have been awarded along with it. For one example, not one free was given for late tackle all game, and it quickly became apparent to me that it was a team tactic to hit after the ball was gone. At one stage I counted five late hits in four minutes, none penalised.

Again, I have no axe to grind here, and the handful or Armagh folk I know are good GAA people that I'd have a lot of time for. I've always enjoyed watching them play, but in all my time going to games professionally and socially, I've never seen anything like what went on tonight. 

Was covering this game as a reporter in a neutral capacity, and to be honest I felt Armagh got away with murder here. One red card, 3 black cards, 6 yellow cards and I made it 39 frees conceded, of which 3 were technical (steps, illegal handpass etc) and an incredible 36 were for physical offences.

And here's the thing - it could have been way more. The Armagh crowd went ballistic and thought that they were hard done by, it was anything but - if that game was refereed even remotely close to the rules, they'd have ended up with ten or eleven men on the field. I didn't see James Morgan's offence but Clarke didn't have a leg to stand on, and McCabe should have walked far sooner. I've never seen anything like it - the best way to describe his "performance" was he played like an offensive lineman in American Football, if Paul Sharry was a linebacker. McCabe had his back to the ball a huge amount of the time and was doing nothing only holding, pulling, dragging and blocking Sharry who was trying to make runs. He could have had five black cards of his own - it was bordering on comical.

In general Armagh's "tackling" was cat. Closed fists, obligatory (and completely needless) late hits on players who had just played the ball, rugby tackles, literally anything went. Twice Westmeath lads were running down the sideline, a fair shoulder was on, but instead, needless push in the back, followed by more bellowing from the crowd when the free was given. Madness.
Rory Grugan, Ciarán O'Hanlon and Aidan Forker are others that could have walked the line for black cards, and while there was nothing worthy of a straight red that I saw, I'd say you could have sent off four or five lads for double yellows.

The referee was strong in the early stages, albeit to some degree because of his linesman's influence, but the Armagh crowd started to get to him and he soon stopped giving out cards except where he really had to - and that was enough. Put it this way - not one player got booked for persistent fouling, and if you commit 36 personal fouls, either you rotate it perfectly or else you should have a few players getting yellow for their third offence.

The sad thing about this is that there are a lot of lads on that Armagh team that I didn't know that well as footballers, and they can play ball, much more than your average division three side. Grimley was good at midfield, Aaron McKay made a couple of crucial blocks, denying one certain goal, Campbell, Rafferty and O'Neill were real impact subs, and the Ballymacnab pair of Grugan and McParland kicked some lovely points. Conceding the kickouts didn't make sense to me as there was no doubt as to who was going to win the aerial battle, and it wasn't the home team.

Yet for all that, Armagh didn't win the game - Westmeath lost it. The final five point margin was deceptive. Westmeath missed three glorious chances for points around the 70 minute mark with the game level. They won four kickouts and failed to score, Armagh won one and O'Neill kicked a lovely point. Westmeath committed pretty much everyone forward trying to chase an equaliser and they got caught on the break twice, goal first, then the insurance point.

If any one of those three attempts went over, Westmeath would have won, because Armagh wouldn't have had the space they enjoyed at the death - and certainly I'd have backed Heslin to score that free any day. Up until that late breakaway, Westmeath had four goal chances, and took just one. Westmeath had the winning of this game, and that was on a day when only three players scored - two of them doing so once each, both capitalising from close range after a kind bounce.

The Armagh lads beside me in the press box who were doing stats were saying that they were the same against Fermanagh, but that the referee was even kinder still. It's daft stuff, and it's not going to end well.     

GAA Discussion / Re: Would you be in favour of a second tier?
« on: June 27, 2017, 06:46:24 AM »
I've a real bee in my bonnet when it comes to people saying things like how "it would need to be marketed properly..."

All across Ireland and the world there are sports that don't get bums on seats, and they all perceive that a lack of marketing is the issue. League of Ireland? Check. Ladies football? Check. Christy Ring? Check.

It's all very well to say that two days ago, there was a gap there, and that RTE could have showed a lower tier game. But what about the previous week? Would the armchair pundits, up to and including a lot of people on here, been happy that either Donegal vs Tyrone or Cork vs Waterford went untelevised so that a game like the Christy Ring final could be shown instead?

Christ the same Joe Brolly thinks it's a disgrace that there are GAA games on Sky, even though there's 40-odd games on terrestrial TV over the summer now. But think about it. Is it a real surprise that TV pundits, who depend on TV punditry for gigs, want a system where there are more big games between the big counties, so more games that "need" to be televised, and thus more punditry gigs on the go?

Moreover, you don't have to go far in Kerry or Dublin to find an ex-player who thinks a B championship is the answer. However I'll start to believe that it's the way to go when a player who would be playing in it comes out and says that he'd have an extra spring in his step if they went that road. If a lad I know to be a solid, committed player who loves his county - I'll give the example of Brian Darby for Offaly, who some of ye will know from TG4's seo spóirt - if he comes out and says that he'd prefer to represent Offaly in a competition like that, I'll listen. If some ould lads from Kerry tell him that's where he should be locked away into, that's not going to twist my arm. 

GAA Discussion / Re: Croke Park - Bags and Shít
« on: June 22, 2017, 03:01:13 PM »
To be honest it just makes good sense for any venue in the south that's hosting thousands of visitors from another currency area to take that currency. Certainly at Croke Park, it should be do-able very easily - worst case scenario, you take notes only at something like £5=€5.50 and give change in euro. Hardly rocket science, should be easy to do. 

I've no idea if we did it at O'Connor Park when Tyrone came down a few years ago but you'd like to think it should be feasible.

Hurling Discussion / Re: Hurling Championship 2017
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:18:48 PM »
Thanks for sharing

Didn't realise Offaly people still had their county up on a pedestal like that

Offaly people don't. We've suffered enough hardships since the turn of the millenium to know better.

One cowardly moron does not speak for the rest of us.

Hurling Discussion / Re: Hurling Championship 2017
« on: May 23, 2017, 04:14:50 PM »
Should be a right good game in Mullingar on Sunday. This article has been well circulated in the midlands and should ensure it is feisty enough.

It'll be a long aul winter in the King's county if Westmeath do the double over them for the second year in a row...

It takes some doing to cram so much ignorance, sabotage and cowardice into the one piece. No surprise that the writer is staying anonymous for that one.

I remember being very sorry that the Express hit the wall a few years back - it was a nice read, staffed by some very good people. Clearly they've all long departed the scene. 

GAA Discussion / Re: The Sunday Game
« on: May 22, 2017, 09:28:55 AM »
Some of the pundits are poor but with a decent presenter they are not all irredeemable. The co-commentators are mainly awful. Is there someone inside RTE who sits down every year with Carney and Carr and says another great year lads. Let's do another year of the same?

Was listening to the early part of Mayo vs Sligo while en route to Portlaoise for the LS vs LD game yesterday. Tommy came out with the gem "that's the kind of 50/50 ball that gives the forward no chance". Somebody needs to sit him down and ask him to explain that type of rubbish, and maybe if he had to do that, he might put an ounce of thought into what he says in the future.

Or give him the boot altogether - but I know that never happens in RTE/Hotel California.

GAA Discussion / Re: The Sunday Game
« on: April 03, 2017, 12:22:58 AM »
Not showing Tipp vs Armagh was bad, not showing anything of Offaly vs Laois was criminal - they had the cameras in the ground for the hurling, so there was no additional cost whatsoever. If it turned out to be a drab procession for one team or another fair enough, but instead it was one of the best games of the day. Up there with Armagh and Tipp.....

GAA Discussion / Re: Super 8s
« on: April 02, 2017, 01:57:18 AM »
I see some Meath heads are a bit peeved at the team that Kildare have picked for this weekend's game in Galway. A match that would be very competitive if both sides were at full strength, now sees Paddy Power lay odds of 1/14 Galway and 9/1 Kildare, with an 8 point handicap.

If Meath are annoyed now, imagine if this happened in the championship, at the quarter final stages? I cannot get my head around why no-one is considering the absolute sh1tstorm that will be unleashed when this finally happens.

Moreover, has anybody outlined what will happen in the event of a walkover in a game like that?

Think logically for a moment, and imagine I'm the Dublin manager, in a super eight group featuring the Dubs, Kerry, provincial winners, and we'll say Cavan and Kildare for the sake of argument. The first four results are:

Dublin beat Cavan in Breffni
Kildare and Kerry draw in Newbridge

Kildare beat Cavan in Croke Park
Dublin beat Kerry in Croke Park

Final round is coming up, and Kerry will almost certainly beat Cavan in Killarney- but if Dublin don't beat Kildare, Kerry wwill be knocked out regardless- and with all due respect to Kildare, there's only one of those teams that represents a potential threat to Dublin in an All Ireland final.

Moreover, why in the name of God would I risk injuries in that game? Surely the logical thing to do for both reasons is to either concede a walkover, or else give a full game to the players in my squad that are effectively numbers 21-35. Are we ready for the riots that would ensue when that happens?

GAA Discussion / Re: Are defensive systems the way forward?
« on: March 31, 2017, 06:36:41 PM »
Soccer teams used to play with the same amount of attackers as defenders too - but you'd be a long time waiting for that to come back.

The unfortunate thing about the standard modern, tactical approach is this - it beats the traditional style hands down, every time. Of course I'm not saying that Waterford playing defensive football will beat Kerry playing 6-2-6, but if twoteams of reasonably equal ability meet, then the fall-back-and-counter-attack side will always prevail. Even if you look at things like short kickouts - if the keeper is any way accurate with his restarts and the opposition don't pull off a high press with lots of honesty and energy, you'll

I agree that the rule makers could change things very easily, but we have a tendency in the GAA to only make reactive changes, hence things like the black card, which has been something between a qualified success and a complete failure. What we need to do is decide what way we want the game to look, and to then find ways to encourage that, or to discourage the aspects we don't like. Personally I believe that the time for 13 a side is well upon us, but I'd also be conscious of the fact that no matter what way you do things, you're going to find it very hard to encourage teams to go back to the days of long balls into a contest between two or more players.

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