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GAA Discussion / Ladies football league finals
« on: May 06, 2018, 03:26:19 PM »
Some game of football that. Tipp deserved it but cracking game and standard of football was very high.

GAA Discussion / Feile Peil 2016
« on: June 22, 2016, 04:15:34 PM »
Can't wait for this weekend which is always a highlight of the year. Lots of teams heading over from the UK and Scotland will be one of only 3 UK counties sending both a boys and girls team. They're division 8 in the boys and 6 in the girls. Best of luck to all involved.

GAA Discussion / Manning Cup
« on: July 15, 2015, 08:56:27 PM »
Manning Cup Round 3
Full Time Sligo: 1-23(26)  Laois: 0-2(2)

What the hell is going on in Laois? That's a ridiculous score for an U16 competition between two counties that should be broadly competitive at any level.

GAA Discussion / Dublin GAA Chairman Andy Kettle RIP
« on: December 16, 2014, 08:56:54 PM »
I don't usually get involved in these types of threads as all people who pass away, especially before their time, is very sad but I was shocked to hear this tonight and felt Andy deserved this acknowledgement. A brilliant administrator and a great GAA man. I didn't even know he was ill but he will be a great loss to Dublin GAA and the GAA in general.

GAA Discussion / Donal Og talks football
« on: August 08, 2014, 03:56:25 PM »
I wouldn't agree with everything he says here but he does think about sport in an interesting way and it's always fascinating to hear the thoughts of someone who hasn't a football background but does have an appreciation of GAA.

There is a danger that Gaelic football will stagnate unless it reforms itself radically, argues Dónal Óg Cusack

A few years ago at Cork training Denis Walsh set up an exercise for us. The backs were to defend against the forwards. It was a conditioned game. Only goals could be scored. The forwards would start in possession around midfield.

So I called the six backs in and said ‘okay lads, we line up with a wall of four players across in front of me and then two players in front of them. Nothing passes. Stay disciplined. If somebody gets pulled out of the line of four somebody else drops back to take their place immediately. Stay fluid. We always have bodies in front of the ball. Just suffocate them.’ The drill didn’t work out as Denis had planned. An exercise designed to improve the capacity of our forwards to make and take goal chances had turned into a look at the design flaws built into modern Gaelic football.

I’m not a hurling snob (I am, but let’s pretend for a few minutes) and I am one of the weird minority of neutral people who found the 2011 All-Ireland football semi-final between Donegal and Dublin interesting to watch. It was an extraordinarily tactical game with two very bright men on the sideline. Pat Gilroy and Jimmy McGuinness had done what very few managers really do. They had studied the resources they had and each had constructed the best team possible from those resources. That afternoon they had to think non-stop for 70 minutes to come up with a way to beat the team put together by the other man. I found it fascinating to watch.

That’s the first point to be made about football and hurling. Management has to have the ability to think. I’m only half joking when I say, in football especially, a manager should have just one year in charge of a county team. The previous year he shall be the manager elect and he shall be locked away on a remote island somewhere, an island with no contact to media (Armagh maybe). That way he won’t be able to spend his first winter in the job slavishly copying the style and tactics of the previous year’s All-Ireland winning team, regardless of the sort of players he has to do the job. Give him just the one year in charge then and he might, out of vanity, want to make his mark and win the whole thing rather than securing his post for the following year by playing a double sweeper system and cutting down on the margin of eventual defeat.

Like all Cork people I admire Dublin greatly and I think Dublin people are great to stay living up there in the favelas and townships. Fair play to them. You have to say as well that there is no point in other counties begrudging Dublin footballers because they have got their system right and are producing so many top grade footballers at the moment. The only option is to do the same and match them. Just as for the last decade or so there was no point in moaning about Kilkenny having their systems right in hurling. The idea is not to drag them back but to make yourself better.

What has to be conceded is that developments in the game have tended to favour the better resourced counties in the last few years. We have five subs now instead of three so we say we have a 20-man game. There is no point in playing a 20-man game if the last three subs you put on the pitch are fellas who weren’t good enough to start. Or if they are decent players being put on just to fill gaps in positions where fellas are injured or in trouble. To play the 20-man game effectively you need to have 24 fellas togged out who are of equal standard and who can cope with any eventuality. Dublin have this nailed down better than anybody else.

We also have the black card which stretches the possibilities to beyond the 20-man game parameter. A manager could end up using 21 or 23 players in a championship game so again, you need even further depth. With injuries, loss of form etc., you can’t just have 24 players of equal ability; you need to be getting to the mid-30s in your numbers of quality players.

It’s not a criticism of anybody to say that the bigger the playing population is and the better the development system is the better the supply to the senior team will be. Logical? A successful county in a centre of large population will draw more resources from sponsors etc. and be able to sustain itself.

Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin didn’t just get lucky and find they had winning hands when they sat down at the table. Huge amounts of work were done underground for years before senior success and in itself the Dublin senior team’s success is like the grace of a swan. All the hard work is going on out of sight. Dublin are attractive to watch but what doesn’t get mentioned so much is that they couldn’t play the football they play without possession of the ball. They have become experts at stripping possession from other teams. A key stat in Gaelic football is turnovers. Dublin work non-stop at that in matches. Then they do the stuff that has become their trademark.

What do you do then if you are a serious football man like Jim McGuinness with a small pick of players scattered around a county that it takes two hours to drive the length of. You do what outnumbered forces in this country and many others have done for hundreds of years. You go guerrilla. You pick your moment to attack.

You keep the losses to a minimum at home. You wear them down.

And that’s where Denis Walsh drill and Gaelic football have both ended up in the same tactical cul de sac. Teams will play like the surviving Ulster teams play this year because in an unequal world it just works. Teams will play like the Ulster teams play because when the defensive system works, people in that particular county don’t care how it looks. Puke football becomes proud defiant football when you win. Teams will play that way because the rules of the game as they stand facilitate it.

Teams with smart managers will always line out according to their strengths and they will play the style that best suits them. Lots of people this week are telling me, for instance, that the only hope Limerick’s hurlers have against Kilkenny is to go out there and make it a war. To lay into Kilkenny with shock and awe. That’s like saying to Bruce Lee, ‘okay pal let’s see how you like it when I try my karate chop.’

Kilkenny have trained themselves to absorb shock and awe and just get on with things. Limerick can spend 70 minutes bouncing off Kilkenny and lose the match or they can pick scores and use their forwards well and fluently and maybe win it.

Hurling is a more tactically fluid game than football at present for a couple of reasons. Refs have started doing a good job on tackling the curse of the spare hand. You can set up something like a blanket defence in hurling but hurling lets teams score from frees or from play from 70 or 80 or even 90 yards out which makes your slavishly copied double sweeper system look stupid when the ball is flying over their heads for the first 20 minutes. Apart from the facility with which scores can be got (Clare U21s scored 28 points the last day in a 60-minute match v Cork) the ball moves further and faster in hurling than it does in football which opens more possibilities to the passer on the attacking team.

There is a danger that Gaelic football will stagnate unless it reforms itself radically. We either have the choke-hold games with double sweepers and parked buses. Or we have the turkey shoots. It’s time to think outside the box.

In hurling, with initiatives like freestyling and Super 11s we are looking at other expressions of the game. The results are interesting. In the early experiments so far with the Super 11s format we have come up with a hugely skilful and fast-flowing game which players have found hugely enjoyable and beneficial to their hurling. The rules and more information will be published on the GAA website in the near future. Lots of counties find it hard to keep club hurlers going during the summer with the numbers and holidays etc. Super 11s will provide a very skilful variant of the game for summer competition that will improve players and keep them coming. It is an addition to hurling’s attractiveness and not a replacement.

In football, I believe we should be looking at making the game 12-a-side on a permanent basis. We have reached the tactical cul de sac mentioned above.

We have a problem that is just a fact of life that better resourced counties benefit more from the changes in the game (how long is it since the qualifiers in football threw up any romance at all?). We have a system where players are going to extraordinary lengths for a few games a year and those games are being played in a format which shuts down their chance to benefit from all that training.

Knocking three players off each team would open up the spaces and open up the tactical thinking. Out one man each for the throw-in and then line out as you will 4-2-3-2? Go ahead. 3-3-3-2? Make it work. 10-1? So long as Michael Murphy is okay with it that’s your call Jim.

You look at a game of Gaelic football now and it is Aussie Rules trapped inside the body of pre-1960s style gaelic football. Players have outgrown the format. The game is bursting to find a new expression. You won’t bring back high fielding by implementing the mark because space in the middle third is so confined that it is always easier to deny the other team the clean possession that the mark gives than it is to go for the mark yourself. You limit the brilliant creativity of em, (show?) ponies like the Gooch by limiting space.

There is a limited audience of nut jobs like myself who can enjoy watching a football game which has six points scored in the first half just because they think the tactics are fascinating. More importantly for our Association is that there is a limit to the number of kids who will want to play a game where tactics are tending towards specialising in negative, non-creative skills. As the game is going will Leitrim ever win another Connacht title let alone an All-Ireland?

For all the amazing bellyaching which goes on anytime the GAA makes moves to finance itself we need to move football and hurling to a position where those counties which can be self-sufficient are left to resource themselves and should look at the value of those counties with smaller populations being guaranteed a certain amount of money towards the training of county teams.

Now obviously if I was a hurling snob I would leave football to its own devices but Cork people always had a duty to bring enlightenment. If I was a hurling snob I would publish some of the other suggestions I have heard for football. That Limerick, Waterford, Tipp and Clare combine to produce a divisional team to play a Munster semi-final every year against Cork or Kerry. That Kerry be deemed, as the Yanks would say, the winningest football county and Mayo get a title at last as the runner uppingest county. That traditions be given parity of esteem letting “the harmless brawl” or “hondbags aye” become a featured part of Ulster football. That Kilkenny be allowed build a wall around itself to fend off the ebola of football. And to keep the natives in.

That sort of stuff has no place in a column like this though...

GAA Discussion / Video of 2nd half frees against Wexford (v Laois)
« on: July 07, 2014, 03:06:41 PM »
Below is a link to a video put together by Wexford GAA of the frees given against Wexford in the second half of their qualifier game against Laois. It's very well done and gives the viewer a pretty clear picture of whether the frees were justified. I've only watched it once but of the 13 frees awarded I reckon only 2 or 3 were definitely correct (and one of them was over carrying by a Wexford player), one or two more were 50:50 but the majority were not even close to frees. Have a look and see what you think but I would hope referees are shown this footage and held accountable for their decisions.

GAA Discussion / Thank GAA it's Friday....
« on: July 04, 2014, 07:27:34 PM » only 3 minutes away. I've heard little about it but I presume,

1. Marty will host it

2. It will be rubbish

3. It will take someone here less than 30 minutes to ask why they don't simply bring back breaking ball

GAA Discussion / Munster final July 6th 2014
« on: July 01, 2014, 09:39:12 PM »
Kerry name their team.

Kerry XV to play Cork:
1. Brian Kelly – Killarney Legion
2. Marc Ó Sé – An Ghaeltacht
3. Aidan O’Mahony – Rathmore
4. Shane Enright – Tarbert
5. Paul Murphy – Rathmore
6. Killian Young – Renard
7. Fionn Fitzgerald – Dr Crokes (C)
8. Anthony Maher – Duagh
9. Johnny Buckley – Dr Crokes
10. Stephen O’Brien – Kenmare
11. Bryan Sheehan – St Marys
12. Donnchadh Walsh – Cromane
13. Paul Geaney – Dingle
14. Declan O’Sullivan – Dromid Pearses
15. James O’Donoghue – Killarney Legion

GAA Discussion / Feile 2014
« on: June 28, 2014, 11:53:12 AM »
Keep up to date with all the action here -

A great competition, anyone else's clubs involved. Our boys won their first game but are down by 6 to Crossmolina at half time in their second game. Our girl's representatives took a bit of a tanking in their first outing though.

Hurling Discussion / Heart surgery for Ken McGrath
« on: April 30, 2014, 12:14:27 PM »
According to Hoganstand former Waterford hurler Ken McGrath had to undergo open heart surgery to "stop a life threatening illness". That's shocking news and I hope everything is now ok. I met him once or twice and he seemed like a thoroughly decent fella as well as a great hurler. Hopefully all goes well but I'm sure a young man like Ken will have a great chance to fully recover.

GAA Discussion / Date of All Ireland football semi finals?
« on: March 22, 2014, 08:42:05 AM »
I'm hoping to bring our U12's & 10's to one of the All Ireland football semi finals this year but I'm having trouble finding the dates and which provinces are playing first and second. Am I right in saying it's Aug 24 & 31?

General discussion / Philip Seymour Hoffman dies
« on: February 02, 2014, 07:00:01 PM »

Unbelievable, was he ill? A brilliant actor and was in some great movies.


GAA Discussion / 15 year old Offaly boy not allowed to hurl??
« on: January 31, 2014, 10:52:20 PM »
We need to cop ourselves on in the GAA. Parish rules and the like are alright, though small clubs in counties where they don't exist get on just fine, but we embarrass ourselves to often when we force kids, who simply want to play a bit of sport, to obey the rules or give up the game. I doubt any other sport in the world behaves the way we do in relation to young kids and 'eligibility rules'. Offaly CB, like the Kerry CB before them should be ashamed.

Mother claims GAA ‘bullying’ her child

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Offaly mother of a 15-year-old hurler prevented from lining out for his first club has claimed the GAA are bullying her child.

 By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

Conor Smith had been a juvenile member of Birr for four years before being informed in 2012 that he was ineligible as he was living in the Crinkill club’s catchment area in the Birr parish and, as his father had not represented Birr at senior level, could not play for them.

Smith’s late grandfather is Tom Ryan, an honorary president of the Birr club, but Crinkill queried the legitimacy of him playing for Birr in an U14 game between the neighbouring sides in August 2012.

An investigation was launched by Offaly’s Competitions Control Committee which, in September of that year, proposed sanctions against him and Birr’s chairman and secretary.

Smith has missed 33 days of school with stress as a result of his situation, which culminated in him bringing his case in front of the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) last September.

However, it wasn’t heard as it was deemed to be in effect a parish rule case, which the DRA had already passed judgment on in 2009. However, the independent legal body had later agreed there were grounds for Birr to come before the tribunal again.

Smith scored the winning goal for Birr in the 2011 Offaly Feile final against Coolderry. He is now a promising handballer, winning two Leinster titles and reaching the quarter-finals of the world pairs.

However, his mother Trish is uncertain whether he will ever play hurling again. The ordeal had a deep impact on him and his doctor initially believed he was being bullied at school. After the first county hearing, he vomited through anxiety.

“As far as I’m concerned, the GAA have bullied my child and stopping him from doing something he loved. He hurled for Birr for four years and nobody said a thing.

“I feel our child has been penalised. We didn’t break any rules. I wouldn’t subject any child to what Conor has gone through. He was 14 at the time of the first hearing and 15 by the end.

“I’ve another young lad coming on and I swear he won’t go through it, but he’s been red and green since he was a child and watching DVDs of games with his grandfather. He’ll be devastated when he’s stopped hurling, but I will not let him go to any hearing.

“I remember after one hearing Conor pleaded with me not to send him to school the next day. The only way I can describe what happened is like a death. It was their grandfather’s wish to see them playing for Birr.”

Birr have long maintained the parish rule should be implemented and anyone born within the parish of Birr should be entitled to play for any of its three clubs — Birr, Crinkill or Carrig-Riverstown (Crinkill and Carrig-Riverstown form CRC Gaels at underage level).

The parish rule is enforced via the Offaly bye-laws for all grades except where there are no underage teams in a parish and a player can line out for an independent team which does not bear the name of an adult club within the county.

However, the Offaly County Board maintained Smith was an illegal Birr player as per a boundary agreement, which Birr claim is superseded by the parish rule.

An Offaly hearings committee document presented to the Leinster Hearings Committee read: “It would be easy to treat this as simply a case of a young [player] wishing to play hurling and let sentiment cloud your judgement. But as there is an agreement in place we must honour and enforce the terms of that agreement”.

Trish Smith was particularly incensed that Colm’s name was mentioned on signposts for the tribunal around the hotel where the DRA meeting was held last year. “I was highly disgusted by it. ‘Conor Smith versus the DRA’ everywhere. A juvenile’s name.”

On the advice of his parents, Smith also wrote to the DRA asking them to refrain from emailing him directly as he was a juvenile.

At one of the hearings, Smith himself asked why he wasn’t allowed to choose which club he wanted to play for in his parish.

“That’s what he can’t understand,” said his mother. “He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

GAA Discussion / Good opinion piece on the tackle
« on: July 25, 2013, 01:45:57 PM »

Good opinion piece on the tackle and I'd agree with a lot of it. Tough to find a solution to this one though. One thing I'd like to see is a looser definition of the shoulder charge, it seems unless it's picture perfect in football (and doesn't knock the man over) it is a free while in hurling everything goes in this regard. IMO a blatant shoulder into the back or chest are the only shoulders that should be consistently frees, a slight deviation from the shoulder to shoulder principle shouldn't be a free as far as I'm concerned.

GAA Discussion / Cork team V Galway
« on: July 24, 2013, 09:45:32 PM »
                 1. Alan Quirke
                    Valley Rovers

2. Eoin Cadogan      3. Michael Shields      4. Thomas Clancy
Douglas                St. Finbarr's           Clonakilty

5. Damien Cahalane      6. Graham Canty      7. James Loughrey
Castlehaven           Bantry Blues           Mallow

          8. Alan O'Connor      9. Pearse O'Neill

               St. Colum's           Aghada

10. Mark Collins      11. Aidan Walsh      12. John O'Rourke
Castlehaven           Kanturk                Carbery Rangers

13. Daniel Goulding      14. Ciaran Sheehan      15. Brian Hurley
           Eire Óg                Eire Óg                            Castlehaven

16 Ken O'Halloran Bishopstown
17 John Mc Loughlin Kanturk
18 Tomás Clancy Fermoy
19 Noel O'Leary Cill na Martra
20 Jamie O'Sullivan Bishopstown
21 Paudie Kissane Clyda Rovers
22 Andrew O'Sullivan Castletownbere
23. Fintan Goold Macroom
24. Patrick Kelly Ballincollig
25. Paul Kerrigan Nemo Rangers
26. Donncha O'Connor Ballydesmond

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