Author Topic: Jimmy does tactics  (Read 719 times)


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Jimmy does tactics
« on: May 16, 2018, 03:35:13 PM »

The other important element is the dink-ball, as I call it, with the third man runner off it; that kicked pass inside bouncing in front of the receiving player is hugely important. It was a massive strategy for Jack O’Connor’s All-Ireland winning Kerry teams and I feel it has become a central element of Dublin’s game. And this is important. Dublin don’t just want players supporting the ball in an ad-hoc way. In my opinion, it is a requirement of management that three players be involved in every attack. In other words, nothing happens in isolation.

In coaching speak, they play in pods. Dublin play in pods of three; the kicker, the man who wins the ball and, crucially, the third man runner. If you go back to Sunday’s game in Castlebar, that is where the Galway goal came from. If you go Ballybofey, that is where the Cavan goal came from. Why is it so important as a tactic? For me, it is because it plays on human nature. We are naturally programmed to anticipate danger. All eyes are drawn to the man kicking the ball and the man catching it. These are the primary threats. The reality is that nobody thinks about the third man runner. If we are being honest - hands on heart - certainly from my point of view watching the game and, I imagine, everyone in the ground, who among us saw Johnny Heaney’s first steps and said: oh, there’s a goal on here. People watch the players on the ball and then this strike runner comes from nowhere. By the time you identify that he is the threat, it is too late. And I think this is a primary reason Dublin have been so successful.

And trust me: it is very hard to cancel out. Even if you know that the player you are marking is a strike runner, it is very hard. In Donegal we put a huge emphasis on ‘anticipate the anticipator.’ But from four years of age, players are thought to focus on the man on the ball. Your attention is drawn to what you perceive as being the threat and is about to hurt you. The third man runner - the real danger - can be 15 metres away, about to take off. For me, it is the most difficult attack to defend against in Gaelic football.


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Re: Jimmy does tactics
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 09:29:06 PM »
I found that very interesting. It was a much better column than McGuinness normally comes out with. Of course, he might be inclined to try a bit harder since the China gig went wallop. Looking forward to seeing if he keeps it up now over the summer.