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Messages - Derry Optimist

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The two main reasons that the completion of a newly modernised Casement Park has taken so long are: Number One. There was a long protracted   dispute from a local Residents Association which basically objected to the size of the new stadium as well as other ancillary objections. The nature of such objections is that it takes an inordinate  amount of time  for such objections to be heard and acted upon. As a consequence the Ulster GAA Council could not lodge their revised plans until 2017.

Then came Reason Number Two: A dispute between the  DUP and Sinn Fein led to the collapse of the Executive. As a consequence there was no politician with the power to sign off on the Ulster Council's last  submission. It was only when the Executive was reformed that new incoming Minister Nichola Mallon could give the final go ahead which she duly and correctly acceded to.So the Ulster Council can not be blamed for the delay and the corresponding additional expenditure.

Hopefully all other necessary completion steps will be speedily agreed and that we will see a newly reconstructed modern Stadium ready for 2022 Ulster final between Donegal and Derry with the Antrim v Offaly All Ireland Tailteann Cup quarter final preceding it as a curtain raiser in a packed Casement Park!!( By the way it was the Executive's fault that the budget for the new Park has overrun by so much so they should be responsible for  the vast bulk of the additional funding.)

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: January 23, 2021, 01:02:42 PM »
Firstly it is surprising to think that one of Derry's finest and most consistently dedicated and well-disciplined players of the last twelve years,Enda Lynn, has recently and suddenly fallen out of favour and is no longer on the panel.

Secondly, though rather ironically, a player who has had past managerial and discipline difficulties  is now fully committed to rejoining the current panel. It is good to see this. Both player and management deserve credit for this happening

Gareth McKinless is an undoubted and very versatile talent who can play in any position. He is equally good as a tight marking corner back, an attacking overlapping wing half back who can break a tackle at pace or as a visionary centre half forward who can make life miserable for any defence.

There is one caveat, however. He needs to curb his tendency to foul needlessly. If he does so and remains really  committed all the time he will be a huge addition to the team.

 To really add to the overall positive team ethos it would be great to see a meaningful reconciliation between Enda Lynn and management if the former wants to rejoin the panel. Both sides know what is required to make this happen. Now is the time to do so.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: December 20, 2020, 02:49:14 PM »
Good to see that Derry Minors beat Armagh by two points in this afternoon's game at Celtic park on a score line of 1-7 to 0-8

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: December 18, 2020, 09:12:01 PM »
With the outlook  for the resumption of Senior inter county training beginning to look bleaker by the minute, Derry management and players can be reasonably happy with their  progress after an improved performance in the Ulster Championship encounter against Armagh.

The high count rate of so many basic errors while in possession and some wayward shooting from bad positions were two of the main factors for that narrow defeat. However, with a greater level of determination and total focus on the task in hand throughout  a  whole game, these basic errors can readily be eliminated.

This should lead to  more consistent high quality  performances and hence better results. If management knows who their best eleven players are that means all the other panellists are fighting for four starting berths and  five possible substitutes being introduced during any given game. This keen level of competition for places can only raise standards provided all players remain fully fit and available.

Allowing for the fact that Ethan Doherty will be required for the U20 team at the start of the League campaign and that Karl McKaigue  will not be fully fit until April or May  and that Enda Lynn is no longer on the panel I would select the following team to begin the 2021 National League.

                                                       Odhran Lynch
 Paul McNeill                                     Brendan Rogers                             Padraig McGrogan
 Conor McCluskey                              Chris McKaigue                              Michael McEvoy
                                   Ciaran McFaul                    Conor Glass
 Jack    Doherty                                  Emmett Bradley                            Padraig  Cassidy
 Niall    Toner                                      Shane McGuigan                           Niall Loughlin

Substitues: Connlan Bradley Carlus McWilliams  Conor Doherty  Shea Downey Gavin O'Neill
                 Patrick Kearney   Benny Heron         Oisin  McWilliams   Danny Tallon
                 Ben McCarron      Paul Cassidy

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: October 22, 2020, 03:46:35 PM »
 First of all, as I understand it, the GAA hierarchy intend by way of motion to decide the exact format of the revised All Ireland football and hurling championships structures at next year's  Congress in February 2021.There are two major obstacles before it can be implemented. Firstly there may not be a scheduled Congress because  of the acute spreading  of the Coronavirus.Secondly and most importantly because of the ongoing uncertainty of having normal sporting fixtures  for the most  of 2021  any introduction of a Tier I and Tier 2 All Ireland football championship will definitely be postponed until at least 2022 at the earliest. So all of you good Derry supporters need not fear Derry having to play in Tier 2 next year!

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: October 10, 2020, 06:48:56 PM »
Next week,provided GAA intercounty matches  resume again,Derry will meet their bogey team of recent years, Longford, in the National Football League.Based on their  form in the club championships I would select the following 15.

                                              Odhran Lynch
Carlus McWilliams                    Brendan Rogers            Paul McNeill
Conor McCluskey                      Chris McKaigue            Padraig McGrogan
                       Ciaran McFaul            Padraig Cassidy
Jack Doherty                            Emmett Bradley             Niall Loughlin
Enda Lynn                                Shane McGuigan          Christopher Bradley

Subs: Connlan Bradley,Shea Downey,Declan Cassidy,Conor Doherty,Michael McEvoy,Patrick Kearney,Benny Heron,Danny Tallon,Niall Toner,Ben McCarron,Alex Doherty.

P.S.Presumably all of the above were selected on the revamped panel! Unfortunately there appears to be a shortage of defenders and midfielders on the panel itself

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: October 07, 2020, 07:38:47 PM »
I believe that there are 28 players in the Derry Senior football panel.Four players who started against Tyrone in last year's Ulster championship game have been omitted for this year's panel ie Niall Keenan,Ryan Bell,Liam McGoldrick and Conor McAtamney (Incidentally Paul McNeill was also a starter in that side but was missing for the league owing to an injury).It would appear that Rory Gallagher is placing a lot of emphasis on the younger talent within the county.Hence the inclusion of Paul Cassidy and Ethan Doherty.

The most surprising omission from that missing quartet is Niall Keenan who has been one of Derry's most consistent players for the last four years.Likewise the inclusion of the inexperienced Connlan Bradley as goalkeeping cover for Odhran Lynch is also a surprise.

Perhaps some poster could give us the names of the full panel as I feel there must be other omissions from last year's panel which was certainly much larger

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: October 05, 2020, 12:50:26 PM »
Based on the matches that I saw, courtesy of an excellent streaming service organised by the County Board,I have picked the following 15 for my annual Derry Club All Stars awards.
                                            Odhran Lynch
Carlus McWilliams                   Brendan Rogers            Paul McNeill
Conor McCluskey                    Chrissy McKaigue          Conor Kearns
                              Patsy Bradley     Ciaran McFaul
Enda Lynn                              Christopher Bradley       Jack Doherty
Shane McGuigan                     Niall Loughlin                 Niall Toner
Subs:Thomas Mallon,Brian McCallion,Neil Forester,Conor Nevin,Padraig McGrogan,Conleth McShane,Patrick Kearney,Padraig Cassidy,Benny Heron,Brian Cassidy,Colm McGoldrick and Ryan Bell

GAA Discussion / Re: GAA Response to Coronavirus
« on: October 02, 2020, 04:41:03 PM »
With the rapid  daily growth of the coronavirus throughout the whole country but especially in  Ulster, I would think that the likelihood of either the National Leagues or Provincial and All Ireland championships taking place this year are disappearing fast. Most counties who have not yet completed their county championships in both codes will be lucky to do so.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: October 02, 2020, 12:55:42 PM »
With the imposition of the new Coronavirus restrictions in the Derry and Strabane council area from next Monday, that looks very likely that the scheduled NFL game against Longford and the opening Ulster championship game against Armagh in the weeks ahead will not go ahead as planned at Celtic Park. Depending on whether the pandemic continues to spread more rapidly or not it might also mean that there will be no NFL games or indeed any championship games played this year.If it does not spread any more seriously will Bellaghy be an acceptable alternative venue for our inter county fixtures in the eyes of the authorities in Croke Park? Or will the games have to be played elsewhere?
As we pause on those possibilities let us hope that we have a good County final on 

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: September 07, 2020, 06:50:24 PM »
So far I have enjoyed immensely the Derry football championship matches, courtesy of an excellent streaming service.In addition all the commentators and analysts added to an overall  great presentation.

it would be an interesting exercise when the series is finished, to select the most impressive 15 players numbered 1-15.Until now I have  thought the following players have had good campaigns.A host of Slaughtneil players but especially Shane McGuigan,Paul McNeill and Brian Cassidy,Niall Toner of Lavey,Michael McEvoy, and Conor Kearns of Magherafelt,Ciaran McFaul,Paul Gunning and Jack Doherty of Glen,Colm McGoldrick of Coleraine,Patrick Kearney of Swatragh,Conleth McShane of Bellaghy and JP Devlin of Ballinascreen.

Any posters have any thoughts on other players who might make the cut for the best 15 at the end of the championship?

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: July 04, 2020, 03:13:00 PM »
Can any poster confirm the date of this year's Derry County Senior football final? Originally I read that it was scheduled for the weekend of October 10th/11th.Now I believe another outlet has said it is on the previous weekend  ie October 3rd/4th.

Perhaps some well informed person, like Toby 47, could enlighten us further as well as telling us the names of those players who have been omitted from the revised Derry Senior County football  panel for the remainder of the 2020 season or indeed those who may have been added to it.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: June 26, 2020, 09:59:12 PM »

Congratulations to Iarlaith Donaghy on being selected as the top Schools' Gaelic footballer in Ulster.Last night, in a poll conducted from All Ulster schools, he was announced as this year's Danske Ulster Schools' footballer of the year.

During the past year he,as captain of St Pius X  from Magherafelt, played a huge part in his school reaching this year's MacLarnon Cup final.The final which was originally scheduled for St Patrick's Day will now feature as a curtain raiser to the MacRory Cup final which will now take place in October. Here St  Patrick's College, Maghera will take on St Colman's Newry in the Blue Riband of Ulster Schools football.

Iarlaith is currently a  Derry underage star and a prominent member of St Michael's GAC Lissan.So heartiest congratulations to himself,his family,his club and his County.What a signal honour to be selected as the number one player from over 100 elite footballers throughout the province.

No doubt we will see much more of Iarlaith when he develops into a mature and talented footballer for the Derry Senior County team.

GAA Discussion / Re: 2020/21 All Ireland Football Championship
« on: June 25, 2020, 06:43:53 PM »
I see where, "according to informed RTE" sources, that there is going to be allowances made for a back door system in this years's All Ireland Senior Hurling championship.However the same sources indicate that there is no back door, just a straight knock out system, in this year's All Ireland Senior Football championship.

To me this is blatant discrimination  in favour of the hurling counties in  getting  preferential treatment. I thought the GAA prided itself in looking after both codes in a fair and straight forward manner. For example as Tyrone and Donegal are scheduled to meet in the first round of  the Ulster football championship, and if the RTE predictions are correct, that means that the loser of the Tyrone/Donegal game is eliminated from this year's competition.

On the contrary if the same fate were to happen in the Munster hurling championship the first round losers are allowed in again.Surely this is a patently  unfair scenario if it were allowed to happen. All our codes in all our provinces should receive equal treatment.It should be a back door for both or a back door for neither.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: June 21, 2020, 10:31:36 PM »
Now that the GAA have brought forward their season's club games by three weeks, from July 20th to June 29th, that means that the club season has now been extended by three weeks Whereas this   is definitely good for club activities I think that in the interest of fairness   the County  managements should be able to  gain too from this change by being allowed to apply the GAA's own 13 day rule.

This in essence would mean that County managements  should have exclusive access to ALL their players  from October 3rd  onwards instead of October 17th under the original Road map guidelines  which were  issued at the beginning of the month.

As the guidelines have been revised there is now an ideal opportunity to be more flexible and fair to all club  and  county  games right across the board.At present the Armagh Senior County final is on September 11th so that means that Armagh have  a 4 week preparation advantage over  Derry  which has its County final, FOUR weeks later, on October10th/1th.

By bringing forward the Derry County Final,  by just one week, Derry  GAA would not only be obeying its OWN 13  day rule but would more importantly be helping their own management prepare properly for the Championship game against Armagh. As it is we are not giving the management, players and spectators the opportunity to have our players prepared properly.Is it too much to let both club and county players  to have a fair crack of the whip to share the extra three weeks now at the County'd disposal?!

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