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Messages - bannside

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Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: April 05, 2019, 08:25:10 PM »
Mark was well respected within the squad and had developed into an excellent player, indeed one of Antrims main men. His decision to leave the panel was largely due to his increasing work commitments in Dublin where it wasn't easy to pull out of work three or four times a week at 5pm to get ahead of the traffic in time for training. He owes Antrim nothing and I'm sure the door is always open for his return should he decide to go back to the well one more time next year.

On the other foot, isn't it a good job not everyone adopted the same attitude towards having nothing else to play for!!!! Fair play to the rest who did decide to shoulder on.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 27, 2019, 07:27:05 PM »
I see it as wide open between seven or eight teams all beating each other. Maybe I'll be wrong but I don't see any super forces out there the way St Galls and Cargin undeniably were a few years ago. I predict things will continue to level out even further this year....but time will tell. Atm probably about 8 clubs will fancy their chances of finishing in the top 4. That's healthy and should make for plenty of competitive action in the months ahead.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 26, 2019, 06:51:28 PM »
The football league is almost upon us once again and this year I foresee the most open division one league in memory. The race to the top six will be interesting with most teams quietly fancying their chances of achieving that. No one looks unbeatable at this stage and it wouldn't surprise me if four or five points separated the top half dozen positions.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 24, 2019, 04:03:36 PM »
It's obvious there are players in Antrim who take great pride in being handed a county jersey and after another two well earned points today in Kilmallock we finish the division in third place after losing three games by a point. The long road home will be a bit quicker after another good second half display, and now Lenny can focus on getting his best players in the right frame of mind for the summer. There are definitely several players who can add to his options, and no doubt he will have scouts at the Antrim league games starting next week.

Reiterating what I've said on several occasions, if we can add just add the likes this years unavailable players such as Conor Murray, two Healys, Paddy Mc Aleer etc to the squad then I think we can realistically aspire to get out of the basement division and be competive in division three at the very least. The loss of these four hurt us particularly hard this year imo, all have great engines and would really suit our current style.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 16, 2019, 09:29:17 PM »
Thrilled to see the passion displayed by the Men in Saffron earlier today. We were a different league from Wicklow and there were some absolutely standout performances, notably Patrick Gallagher who kept us in the game with three terrific blocks or tackles when we were behind in the first quarter. Matt Fitz was exceptional scoring 2 -03, Eoin Nagle looks full of promise (what a pass for Fitzys goal) and Paddy Mc Cormick gets better and better. We were full value for our ten point victory.

Our second half today was as good as I've seen for quite a while, especially with pressure on to deliver a performance....and Antrim did that. Credit where it's due to all involved.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 16, 2019, 07:22:46 AM »
Indeed ITG we need to get something from last two games to avoid the dreaded worst team in Ireland label. No one has any appetite for that. From that perspective at least one of the last two is a "must win".

The inter county landscape has changed rapidly in recent years, and the sheeer commitment level demanded is simply too much for many. Four or five sessions per week is scaring players away, the negative impact that has on social lives, relationships, job prospects, and impact on club participation, makes many wonder is the sacrifice necessary.....especially when you wouldn't get a hundred supporters to bother to turn up and support you.

I totally understand that. Unfortunately there is no quick fix unless you restrict the squad training nights to in SW and one in the city. That might make a difference to many who won't commit at present.

We've lost three players in recent weeks due to walk aways and three or four injuries which hasn't helped Lennys case. In my opinion he really needs to bring in four or five players to freshen things up, and create a competitive environment at training. Otherwise we really are in a race to the bottom at this stage.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 15, 2019, 10:52:54 PM »
Mc Cabe is no longer available apparently!!

Pity because I thought he was shaping well and has the engine to play at this level. Looks like he doesn't fancy hanging around fighting for his least that's the way it's coming across!

I'm sure the aforementioned clubs will be flattered by your admiration...but back to my previous question...have St Galls not got two or three players that should be in there doing their best for their clubman Lenny and more so for their county? Backs to the wall at the bottom of the NFL and players are deserting the ranks.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 15, 2019, 09:26:17 PM »
Not one player from St Galls MR. Have you any insight as to how this can be? Even excusing the over thirties who feel they have done that particular shift, surely your proud club has several good enough to make the team/squad!! Are they not being encouraged to go? I'd have thought with Lennys strong connection there your club would be pulling a bit more with him? From the outside it certainly doesn't look like he is getting much support from St Galls.

No one from Cargin either CB? Why would you say this is the case?

We have a must win home game tomorrow and the silence is deafening!

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 11, 2019, 12:26:21 PM »
BelfastSaff that's a terribly depressing post. Most on here do think the quality is there, but getting the right players on the pitch seems to be the problem. And if you talk to Lenny he will present a strong case that he has at some point thrown an olive branch or an invitation to most or all of the missing names that we all know are still some of the top ballers in the county.

I much prefer to think that if Conor Murray and Peter Healy had been available from the start of the league we would be sitting pretty up around the top and pushing for promotion. Just those two players, that's all. Those are the fine margins we are talking about here!

Had we beaten Waterford, we would be sitting here fairly optimistic of winning our last two and talking about a point the referee gave Derry that everyone thought was wide, and a perfectly good Ryan Murray against Leitrim that was disallowed. Again....the thinnest of margins.

Waterford was a disaster, an event which left us rock bottom, and rightly opened up this flurry of activity on this forum. Lets try to win these last two and hopefully the horizon gets a bit brighter.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 09, 2019, 06:43:20 PM »
Yes PJ. Cookstown beat the Kerry champs in the final. John was 32 at the time. Still young enough to have a proper crack at Antrim in the near future. If you talk to the vast majority of the players in the two clubs he has taken since, Ballinderry Shamrocks and Na Fianna Coalisland, most of whom were present at his brothers wake, you will have no doubt of the esteem in which he is held. He certainly wasn't run out of Coalisland, things happen in management especially in a third year, and I know for a fact John and Conleith Gilligan were an exceptionally well considered management team.

Of course Kevin Madden has obvious credentials almost landing a treble last year with Creggan. Both know their way round a football team, I don't think anyone should dispute that, regardless of where they are from.

In any event Lenny has the job and hopefully he can put something memorable or competitive together in the next few months and he deserves our full support whilst he tries to turn things around. As I said before our performances were decent up until the Waterford game, and maybe he got a bit complacent when we came from behind to go five points up. It happens.

At the same time the league table doesn't lie and tbh it's very painful reading atm.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 08, 2019, 10:24:45 AM »
Bogieman makes a great point about the need for creating an ethos with positivity, creativity and comradeship at the centre....if we are ever going to pull ourselves out of this ongoing cycle of mediocrity. As well as the hard work too that is also mentioned. Outinfront mentions this now too. Great.

Its obvious there must be some correlation between our divisiveness amongst ourselves and our lack of progress. There can't be a county in Ireland with so much division. The country v city divide is obvious.... SW gaels believe they have been a very poor relation for too long (rightly or wrongly) but there's a bigger divide in my opinion between Football and Hurling.

I've attended County Committee meetings just after a poor football championship performance and there is literally zero conversation or debate about it. In other counties this would be top item on the clar, with active debate for hours. In my opinion at least 50% of delegates switch off immediately. same when the topic returns about a new football manager. Honestly, many in the room feel it's a waste of time talking about it. Quite frankly the apathy starts there and then.

Belfast Gaaman makes another great point. What exactly is Ciaran Mc Cavanagh going to do, to lead and be seen to instigate a tangible programme of recovery. So far nothing, and for many of us that's an absolute priority.

I understand why Colie Donnelly didn't make this a bigger priority....his tenure had other more pressing issues to deal with....but Mc Cavanagh as a businessman should know that a vibrant senior football set up will inspire future generations much quicker than anything. With Gaelfast getting going, those kids and also the country kids too must be able to look up to our current players and aspire to follow in their footsteps.

I've long advocated a football sub committee needs to be set up to oversee a joined up approach for short medium and long term programme. To make sure every possible box is ticked, from juvenile development, coaching the coaches, marketing, budgeting, goal setting and measurement, financing etc etc. IMO a vibrant committee dedicated to making this work will start this process, which as CFCLG rightly says, could take ten years or longer.

So please Mr Mc Cavanagh, over to you.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 07, 2019, 10:24:34 AM »
Spike I feel your hurt more than you know. Problem is we need hundreds hurting and tbh across the county there's not too many losing sleep over how our county footballers are performing.

Also, a bit of debate here (or anywhere) is worthwhile as long as it's subjective and for the right reasons. Trust me, nearly everyone that is remotely interested does consult this forum on a regular basis, so it's a reasonable platform for measured debate.

It is or will be a matter of public record that the budget for preparation of senior football is vastly improved in the last few years. YES, traditionally that was a problem, but generally there's enough in the pot now to ensure that we really can't harp on that the reason we are still underachieving is because of lack of finance. We don't have trips to La Manga or cars for each player, but all reasonable financial bases are covered.... and I'm not being patronising by pointing that out. So for now we can remove that from the list of excuses we continually churn out.

Lenny's programme and wish list wasn't coming in noticeably cheaper than the other candidates. He has a few months left this year to show us what he is building, and hopefully that's two good wins in the league and a competitive run or two in the qualifiers. In the meantime we should get behind him and ensure we all do what we can to get the county's best players out wearing Saffron.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: March 07, 2019, 07:53:52 AM »
I'd like to correct a few points that have been made here recently, and the biggest one is that the funding allocated for the running of senior football is inadequate or that the county are cheapskating in any way. That assumption is well wide of the mark. The players are exceptionally well treated and get everything inter county players are entitled to, gear, meals, travelling expenses, food, proper hotels and travel etc etc. Lenny has access to excellent "county board" support throughout, and has the team built around him (support staff) where and when he needs it. To say otherwise is cheap and unfounded, and needs challenged.

Lenny put his hand up for this gig and has got it mostly on his own terms. I've spoken to him occasionally and he bleeds Saffron like us all, and is putting in serious work behind the scenes. He has invested serious energy in this, and to be fair, the players are all in agreement that the set up is by some distance the most professional they've seen to date.

Look, every team has a bad day at the office, and hopefully Waterford was that. In Leitrim they are 5/5, promoted and there's a real buzz. We are better than them, and I've no doubt whatsoever about that. We were every bit as good as Derry all over the pitch. Both those teams are now promoted.

Having said that, last Saturday was a disaster and being 5 points up, Lenny needs to ask himself the question why he decided to throw on four rookies in the last 15 minutes where the game was lost. Definitely not his finest ever game management it needs to be said. That was a time for experienced heads to be on the pitch. Hopefully valuable lessons learnt.

Antrim / Re: Antrim Football Thread
« on: February 18, 2019, 07:44:53 PM »
In other years U-16 SW winners played off against SA winners in an all county final ITG.

I disagree with financial doping as is clearly the case here. I say rent Croke Park to the Dubs every time they use it, just so they remain mindful that it's not owned by them but by the association.

And by the way James Mc Carthy is currently my favourite player, and the other two not far away. Those three are up there with the best players the game has seen and are a joy to behold in full flight.

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