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Messages - Mourne Rover

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Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: February 22, 2019, 11:29:06 PM »
Down team for Longford named as Burns; Collins, Wells, McAleenan; Laverty, Flannagan, O'Hagan; Flynn, Mooney; Ryan Johnston, Poland, McGrady; O'Hare, Harrison, McKernan.

It's a pretty strong side for a crunch match, with the winners very likely to be promoted. Jerome might have started but will certainly be used at some stage. Pierce Laverty is an excellent prospect and there is only one way to find out if he is a senior county player.

GAA Discussion / Re: NFL Div 3
« on: February 11, 2019, 11:54:58 AM »
Croí na hÉireann is completely right about the poor spectacle which county football regularly offers. The restriction on hand passes was probably dropped too soon although it may not have ultimately proved practical.  The next option may well be keeping three men in the opposition half, as the evidence over dropping attendances is truly alarming.

Saturday night in Newry was a fairly typical offering, although it did get exciting in the closing stages when the contest was up for grabs. Westmeath should have been well clear at the break but used their extra player poorly and Tally's game management was exemplary in the second half.

 While Down are in a reasonable position in a very tight division, we could just as easily have zero points at this stage.  There are six sides in contention for promotion and it is likely to go to the wire.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: February 10, 2019, 04:04:59 PM »
We have little option other than to pack midfield and try and win the breaking ball as we just do not have players available who are likely to take clean catches. Short kick outs are very risky against well organised opponents and a turnover could easily have led to a Westmeath goal in the first half last night.
Donnelly will make a difference when he recovers from injury but we never really replaced the likes of Gordon, King and Ambrose from a few years ago.  However, coming from behind to grab injury time wins twice in a row is bound to increase our confidence in a tight division. Our trip to Longford in a fortnight wil be crucial as they had an excellent win away to Carlow today.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: February 10, 2019, 12:01:09 AM »
We may not exactly be producing sparkling football but it tells you something about a squad when you come from behind to hit an injury time winner for the second week in a row. The manager deserves enormous credit for the changes he made in both games, and he completely outsmarted opponents who had an extra man for two thirds of the match.

He has us brilliantly organised at the back, and our tackling has improved beyond recognition.To only concede four points in the second half with the numerical disadvantage was an outstanding performance. It helped that Westmeath were so conservative throughout but we were the team who wanted it more at the decisive stage.

Burns had an excellent penalty save, after a little advice from his coach, and is good with the ball in his hands even if he had very few options with his kick outs. The entire defence combined well, with O'Hagan an outstanding captain and McKernan supervising everything.

Our midfield is not really big enough to win primary possession but has plenty of pace and did a decent job on the limited opportunities from breaking ball which came our way.

Havern has ability but his follow through after the missed goal chance was foolish and could easily have cost us the result. Fortunately Ryan Johnston had his best ever game for Down and O'Hare ran himself into the ground and was man of the match by a mile.

Tally sent on Harrison at the break but realised he was not fully fit and took him off again in favour of Jerome, who was replaced early last week but had the maturity to secure and score from the crucial mark.

We have a tough trip to Longford coming up but two points from our last two away fixtures, and hopefully a maximum return at home, may well get us over the line.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: February 04, 2019, 05:40:15 PM »
If Sligo keep producing the kind of intensity on display yesterday, they will give anyone in D3 a game. The margins were very tight in Collooney, and the result could have gone either way in injury time. When Sligo took the lead, Barry O'Hagan had a decent late chance for a point but the ball faded wide. If it had gone over, two exhausted teams would probably have settled for the draw. Instead, Down had no option other than to throw men forward, and it paid off with the goal from Mooney. Sligo will find it tough going to Laois without Hughes this Sunday but, when back to full strength, have definite prospects away to Louth and at home to Offaly in their final fixture.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: February 03, 2019, 09:05:38 PM »
Sometimes you wonder why we are mad enought to drive to Connacht on the coldest and wettest day of the year, particularly when Sligo take the lead in injury time. Then Mooney hits the net with practically the last kick after a brilliant move and it all makes sense again.

The conditions were so bad today, on a pitch with unusually long grass, that it turned into a battle of attrition, with repeated handling errors and tackles flying all over the place. Sligo were quicker to realise the value of the long ball and it looked bleak for us when they led 1-2 to no score after barely five minutes.

Murnin and  Jerome were a little unlucky to be replaced so early but the changes helped us to get back into it with McKernan a steady influence when he went to full back and Darren O'Hagen always impressive beside him. The keeper, Burns, was rock solid under the dropping ball but midfield was a lottery and plenty of breaks went against us.

Poland had probably his best game for Down so far while O'Hare has a touch of class and it was important to give Harrison a run in the last quarter.

Mooney still takes the odd wrong option but his 1-2 from play was crucial in such a tight contest. Down showed great coolness by
putting together a string of passes right at the death, and, when a point was there for the taking, O'Hare was able to pick out Mooney for a decisive finish.

We will need to improve sharply against Westmeath next Saturday, but, with other sides dropping points this weekend, another win would put us right back in the mix for promotion.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 27, 2019, 04:32:15 PM »
Smurfy, although you have named eight players as `likely to miss large parts of the league', there is every prospect that six of them will be in the squad for our second game next Sunday. There is some uncertainty about McArdle and Maginn, but no one has suggested they face lengthy lay-offs.

If we slip up against Sligo, we will certainly be in trouble. However, they lost by double scores to Carlow today so a Down side with some familiar faces returning should be capable of getting a result at Collooney.

We need to use D3 as an opportunity to give us options in as many positions as possible, so there are inevitably going to be twists and turns along the way.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 27, 2019, 12:07:04 AM »
Jerome called a mark for a catch from a free kick which is not permitted. He also had a bad miss at the same end but produced a brilliant first half. If we have Darren O'Hagan, McKernan and Ryan Johnston back next week, with probably Mooney, McKibben and O'Hare coming in and maybe Harrison and McArdle available, we will hopefully get our season up and running.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 26, 2019, 10:51:44 PM »
It was a disappointing night as we were in such a strong position at half time and the defeat means we may have to win all of our remaining six matches if we are to get promoted. The Laois manager made some crucial tactical and personnel switches during the break, and they were physically stronger than us in some key areas.

However, the game probably turned on a ludicrous decision when Francis was plainly pulled down in front of the main stand, the referee allowed play to continue and the goal gave Laois a huge lift.

Our defence struggled in the second half, particularly after Donnelly was injured, and, apart from O'Hare, our substitutions did not really work. The new faces only made a limited impact and we can expect a fair number of changes for what will be a must win trip to Sligo next week.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 25, 2019, 10:59:54 PM »
Smurfy is as positive as ever about our prospects but the reality is that we have a capable new manager who has been dealing with a fair amount of upheaval in his squad and has named a team to do a specific job in our opening game against what should be serious promotion rivals.

While almost half the side have never previously started a league or championship match and a few others are in unusual positions, did we really expect a settled and familiar line-up ?

O'Hare and O'Hagan will probably appear at some stage, and it would not be a surprise if Harrison is added to the bench, but we have plenty of pace and fitness by all accounts will not be a problem.

We will pretty clearly be keeping plenty of players behind the ball, and the question is whether we can build up enough scores against  decent opposition at this level. It's a new season under the Saturday night lights so bring it on.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 24, 2019, 10:16:21 PM »
Laois named a team tonight with no Donie Kingston, who has reportedly been carrying an injury. He is a huge loss to them, although Down will also be some way from full strength.

General discussion / Re: The Super(ish) Leeds United Thread
« on: January 12, 2019, 12:18:54 AM »
Keeping an eye on the opposition preparations may be sharp practice but is hardly unknown - an unlikely figure was found engaging in it before a not so distant All Ireland final involving an Ulster county. While Peacock Farrell deserved to concede a penalty and probably a red card, the Sky coverage proved that Leeds were deprived of two blatant spot kicks at the other end. Bielsa was wrong to ask someone to stand outside the fence and see what was going on at Derby's training ground but any advantage gained was pretty marginal. Derby were played off the park all night in any event, and Bielsa will take what will probably be a large fine on the chin.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 07, 2019, 12:04:11 PM »
Keyboard Warrior, Donegal are a very fine side but they are actually in division two, rather than division one. Down managed to win breaking ball from a few kick outs yesterday but the area was so congested that we had very few opportunities to set up attacks. The result was that we managed a total of three points by half time, at which stage the game was over. However, you are right to stress that all our preparations need to be geared up for the start of the league. If we are in decent shape for the Laois match, yesterday will be very quickly forgotten.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: January 06, 2019, 07:23:06 PM »
No one is going to get too exercised about a McKenna Cup game on a wet January Sunday but today was poor fare. While both sides were understrength, Donegal looked at a completely different level to us.  We had plenty of pace and energy but seldom got into dangerous positions. Although our tactic of pumping kick-outs into congested areas has to be down to experimentation, it severely limited our possession and a half time total of three points tells its own story. We were a little unlucky that our two best moves saw a goal disallowed for an unnecessary extra hand pass and a shot come back off the base of the post, but Donegal always seemed capable of stepping up a gear.  Our recent record in the competition is admittedly dreadful anyway, and the only match which matters this month is the league opener against Laois. However, Tally probably did not get too many additional options from this afternoon.

General discussion / Re: The Super(ish) Leeds United Thread
« on: January 02, 2019, 12:13:32 PM »
It's pretty obvious that a new keeper will be arriving, but, although a strong case can be made for at least two outfield additions, Bielsa has a philosophy based on a tight, highly motivated squad in which everyone knows their job and is capable of covering other positions. There are risks involved but his approach has served Leeds well so far and he is unlikely to change it at this stage. Leeds were genuinely unlucky yesterday and, if they display the same spirit and commitment, will soon start picking up points again. The next two league games are tough ones, at home to Derby and away to Stoke, but this division was always likely to go to the wire.

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