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Messages - Derry Optimist

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Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: May 22, 2020, 10:10:58 PM »
 I would like again to commend the Derry GAA Communications Committee, spearheaded by an innovative County PRO, suitably aided by some other like - minded  souls, in their weekly cameos of  very talented sports people across the codes.

 I would hope that eventually they would put them all together in a montage of "We are Derry" excellence.Take this week's selection for instance.Bar Jim McKeever, there has never been  such a consistently high fielder of a ball with such a brilliant spring jump than this week's choice midfielder Tom McGuinness.

Yes, I have not forgotten the tremendous all round athleticism and skill of Anthony Tohill or the many mighty fetches in club football of Patsy Bradley, but Tom was simply in a class of his own when it came to spectacular and aesthetic fielding.

Similarly  the Committee's selection  and description of the telepathic  understanding between our greatest centre half forward, Mickey Niblock, and the intuitive play of that master of the sidestep, Eamonn Coleman, had to be seen to be believed.So to complete your superb combined cameo work I would like to see a montage of snapshots footage and catchy captions  of all your excellent work.

It would create a perfect benchmark for all those present Derry players who really want to prove that they, too,can reach the great heights  of the past masters.Over to you Committee.Let the players of today and tomorrow emulate our stars of yesterday.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: May 11, 2020, 07:00:51 PM »
 I have really enjoyed the recent contributions of many posters who have selected their favourite Derry sides  over many  past decades.Like everyone else I only pick players whom I have seen in the flesh.So I  must be older than some of my fellow selectors when they have not seen Sean O'Connell,Joe Irwin and Gerry O'Loughlin starring in a Derry jersey!

 Anyhow as we have no real prospect of any inter county action in the immediate future ( ie until social distancing is not a requirement  for contact team sports which according to some of the more pessimistic medical experts could be well into next year) I  will now  enter fantasy land and select my ideal  Derry team. The side   which I would like  to see take the field, whenever the green light is given to do so, is rather problematic for two obvious reasons.

Two of my  choices are still officially attached to Australian Rules but there is no harm in dreaming that they will don the red and white jersey one day. I have no doubt that they would add considerable substance to Derry's chances of really being more competitive at a higher level. I have not included Anton Tohill simply because I  have not seen him play at any level. However, there are two other players who have the definite ability to make a huge difference but apparently, despite the overtures of Rory Gallagher, they just do not want to commit themselves to play for the county. So I have ignored their claims for inclusion.

                                                  Odhran Lynch
Padraig McGrogan                        Brendan Rogers                Karl McKaigue

Ciaran McFaul                               Chrissy McKaigue             Niall Keenan
                                      Niall Holly                 Conor Glass
Emmett Bradley                            Callum Brown                  Padraig Cassidy
Shane  McGuigan                          Niall Loughlin                   Enda Lynn

Subs:T Mallon,L McGoldrick,M McEvoy,P McNeill,C McCluskey,S Downey,D Cassidy,C McAtamney,O McWilliams,C Bradley,B McCarron,C Doherty,Jack Doherty,B Heron,R Bell,J Rocks, L McWilliams.

If that side were available the future of Derry football  would be very bright indeed.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: May 05, 2020, 10:22:40 PM »
In reply to Oakleaf Gael Jim McKeever was definitely our best individual player of all time but he retired in 1963,seven years before our selection period began.Undoubtedly  other great players whom I forgot to mention like Mickey Niblock,Mickey Lynch  and Chrissy McKaigue  would have been included for serious consideration only for the one player per club rule.Any one who watched the recent showing of the Derry/Down classic of 1994 should see why Kieran McKeever is a "must" for corner back. He really was a class act in my humble opinion.I think that Gerry McElhinney was a Banagher player during his glorious years with the County!!

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: May 05, 2020, 01:44:43 PM »
Instead of reading  unfair negative publicity,from one quarter, about our native county I think that we should take up the excellent suggestion initiated by  that gem of an analyst  from  Ballinascreen, the redoubtable "Estimator."  He suggested at the beginning of April that we should select an All-time  Best Derry team  based on only being allowed to select one player from any club.

 It also must be acknowledged the great publicity by the superb Tony Scullion interview and by the magnificent cameo series by our County  PRO and Michael McMullan in the Derry Post.They are what good,fair journalism should be about, recalling the great players and magical moments in our GAA history. It should not be about  the insensitive opening of old wounds and adding more grief to people who at this time are undergoing much personal suffering.Anyhow the following is my best Derry Senior team based on Estimator's criteria  for the last 50 years 1970-2020.

                                                    Damian McCusker(Glen)
Kieran McKeever(Dungiven)            Brendan Rogers (Slaughtneil)         Tony Scullion(Ballinascreen)
Joe Irwin(Drumsurn)                      Henry Downey(Lavey)                Gerry O'Loughlin(Magherafelt)
                             Anthony Tohill(Swatragh)          Fergal Doherty(Bellaghy)
Sean O'Connell (Ballerin)                Damian Barton(Newbridge)      Sean Leo McGoldrick (Coleraine)
Paddy Bradley(Glenullin)                 Enda Muldoon (Ballinderry)      Mark Lynch(Banagher)
John Somers,Henry Diamond,Anthony McGurk,Peter Stevenson,Brian McGilligan, Gerry McElhinney,Sean Marty Lockhart, Enda Gormley and Joe Brolly are unlucky to lose out under the one player by club rule.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: March 04, 2020, 05:09:38 PM »
With Cork and Down almost certain to be promoted to Division Two of the National Football League and Fermanagh and Clare possible candidates to be relegated  to Division Three, what are the chances of the initial 2020 Tailteann Cup decider  being  a repeat of the 1947 League final between Clare and Derry?

Unfortunately league placings do not lie and until Derry produce tall, top quality and mobile midfielders   a Taillteann Cup success is the only realistic target for this year and maybe beyond.(Sadly our two potentially best midfielders, Conor Glass and Calum Brown, are playing in the AFL).

However, like Down who were decidedly unlucky not to be promoted last year, Derry can with a settled team make a more concerted and sustained effort for promotion next year.Lessons can surely be learned from the dropping of a valuable home point against Leitrim and the failing  to put  Down away  in the last ten minutes in this year's encounter in Newry.

In the meantime Derry's remaining two League games against Longford and Offaly should be played with championship intensity.This would be ideal preparation for the Ulster championship match against Armagh in Celtic Park in mid May. It would be a major boost if Enda Lynn,Michael McEvoy, Karl McKaigue,Niall Holly and Jack Doherty were fully fit by then.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: March 02, 2020, 05:05:00 PM »
Can anyone who was at the game between Cork and Derry  yesterday give an accurate report  of how the whole team played throughout the entire game?

Reading some of the media accounts one could deduce it was only over confident and careless play by Cork which allowed  a poor Derry side back into the game with some lucky goals against the run of play.

I was hoping that it was the determined,intelligent play of the Derry team as a whole which allowed them to dramatically narrow the deficit.

Perhaps some enlightened Derrry supporter who was at the game  could give a balanced view of how the team generally played and  if there was a huge gap in the quality of both teams.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: February 25, 2020, 07:54:50 PM »
One of the main problems that the Derry Senior County football squad has is the absence of tall,speedy,mobile and natural midfielders  within the panel.They do not have high fielding ball winners who know when to create an overlap,who can pass long,accurately and incisively  and  score freely.

Thus very good and versatile players like Chrissy McKaigue and Ciaran McFaul are overworked trying to play out of their normal and more natural positions.In other words they are the victims of their own versatility and their own phenomenal workrates.In addition the defence misses Chrissy's stability and leadership qualities and  likewise the forward line could do with Ciaran playing in a more advanced position.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there are no buddung Jim McKeevers,Anthony Tohills,Fergal Dohertys or Enda Muldoons in the county.So, like at least 20 other counties in Ireland, Derry suffers in this regard when it comes to creating scoring opportunities for their forwards. In essence this is the real reason why Derry find it extremely difficult to score much more easily despite the fact that they often have much more possession but fail to put teams away as it were.

Rory Gallagher was very successful with a, admittedly, very good Donegal side but he also maximised the attainment of a much more limited Frmanagh side.We must live in hope that he will be able to successfully marry the younger talents of the skilful Niall Loughlin,Odhran Lynch,Padraic McGrogan,Conor McCluskey,Alex Doherty,Niall Keenan and Ben McCarron to the leadership qualities of the McKaigue brothers,Enda Lynn,Brendan Rogers and Ciaran McFaul.If he does so their combined performances will out weigh their individual talents and Derry will be a more viable Division Two side, if not this year, definitely next.It is very much a slow but progressive and incremental pathway back to the top table for this Derry side.If Gallager and his management team stick to this type of a concerted effort they will have done  Derry some service.Doire Abu.

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: February 06, 2020, 09:16:09 PM »
In yesterday's Irish News former top class GAA journalist,Paddy Heaney. was fulsome in his praise for new Derry football manager Rory Gallagher.He maintained that the future  of the Oak Leaf County could be very promising under his stewardship.

He said that in order to become great again all the County now needed was an inspirational player, like the legendary American Super Bowl  quarterback of yesteryear Joe Montana.Has anybody spotted a potential Joe Montana anywhere within the county?!

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: February 02, 2020, 07:56:19 PM »
Not having been able to attend either of Derry's two opening National Football League games, I must say that to describe the Leitrim result as a total disappointment would be the understatement of the year.However, would I be right in saying that there was a vast improvement in yesterday's encounter against Down and but for careless shooting and wrong decision making in front of goal that they could have actually won the game.

At least that is the impression I gleaned from reporters, Michael Wilson and Michael McMullan, who are both normally fairly accurate in their overall assessment of games.

Perhaps some of our fellow posters who were at the game yesterday could give an analysis of the team's general performance and a pen picture of each player's contribution.

Does any one know if Niall Loughlin and Niall Holly will soon be match fit as their inclusion would certainly be a great boost as would the inclusion of long term injured players such as Paul McNeill,Karl McKaigue, Jack Doherty,Michael McEvoy,Jason Rocks and Enda Lynn?

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: January 10, 2020, 06:37:02 PM »
The only meaningful information that  we can obtain from Donegal's easy victory over Derry, in the McKenna Cup on Wednesday night, is that Donegal have a much stronger all  round panel of reserve players than Derry have.It does not mean,however,that  many of the inexperienced players who played for Derry on Wednesday are not good enough to be starters on Derry's first fifteen in the near future.

 For new players to be tested properly no more than three should start a game together with the remaining twelve experienced players.

For any team to make real progress they must have three or four quality players who  are ball winners in the middle third ,can score and be equally good both defensively and offensively.Unfortunately we do not seem to have any budding Anthony Tohills  or Fergal Dohertys in the county.This makes the task of management and the team all the more difficult. Still with the exception of most Division One sides,  almost all other counties have the same problem.

Goalkeeper Odhran Lynch,C McCluskey,P McGrogan,S Downey,Conor Doherty,P Hagan,O McWilliams,D Cassidy  and Ben McCarron are all potentially very good inter county players at Senior level and if they are gradually introduced in the League,no more than three at a time, can make a real impact  for the positive development of Derry football.

As it would appear that Michael McEvoy,Jason Rocks,Paul McNeill,Enda Lynn and Benny Heron will not be available for the League, I would select the following for  the opening encounter with Leitrim.

T Mallon
P McGrogan
B Rogers
K McKaigue
L McGoldrick
C McKaigue
N Keenan
C McAtamney
N Holly
E Bradley
C McFaul
P Cassidy
S McGuigan
R Bell
N Loughlin
O Lynch
G McKinless
C Mc Cluskey
S Downey
Conor Doherty
O McWilliams
C Bradley
Jack Doherty
D Tallon
B McCarron
P Hagan

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: January 01, 2020, 07:56:30 PM »
 Finally and to keep everyone happy perhaps Wildweasel74 could list the names of all the tall,strong players who are NOT  available  and would be suitable for playing Senior County football for Derry and likewise Lenny could tell us the names of  all the tall,strong players who would make good County men and who ARE available but were not asked!!!

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: January 01, 2020, 03:05:32 PM »
Thanks Wildweasel74 for your customary accurate summary of Derry's best performers in the Monaghan McKenna  Cup game.

We must also congratulate Lavey in adding their names to the list of Derry  Ulster Minor club winners at St Pauls just over half an hour ago.By the way Wildweasel, other than Danny Heavron, who were the other capable, well built and tall players who have not made themselves available to the Derry Senior panel this year?

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: December 30, 2019, 01:30:17 AM »
Were you Wildweasel or any other Derry supporter at Inniskeen for the Derry v Monaghan McKenna Cup game?I know Derry were missing about nine of their starting fifteen but I would be interested in their overall performance.Any of the new players impress?

GAA Discussion / Re: McKenna Cup 2020
« on: December 30, 2019, 01:22:39 AM »
Anyone at the match in Inniskeen?If you were there Wildweasel or anyone else I would be interested in your overall impression of Derry's performance.I know they were missing about nine starting players but how did the new players perform?

Derry / Re: Derry Club Football & Hurling
« on: December 19, 2019, 11:04:06 PM »
As the McKenna Cup opens in ten days time our thoughts will automatically turn to Rory Gallagher's first Derry team selection.Presumably the Slaughtneil hurlers on the Derry football panel will not be selected,likewise the Coleraine Junior hurlers who are also on the football panel.That means our defence alone will be short of four top class players who would be challenging strongly for first choice positions. I refer to the McKaigue brothers,Brendan Rogers and Liam McGoldrick.That should give Rory the option of trying out some of the younger players.By the same criteria come-back midfielder Niall Holly  and ace forward Shane McGuigan would also be unavailable.As a consequence I would expect the starting 15 to be along the following lines.
   T Mallon
   N Keenan
   C McCluskey
   R Dougan
   S Downey
   P McGrogan
   P Hagan
   C McAtamney
   Gavin O'Neill
   E Bradley
   C McFaul
   P Cassidy
   B McCarron
   N Loughlin
   C Bradley.
Subs: O Lynch
         E Concannon
         Sean F Quinn
         C Kearns
         C Doherty
         P Kearney
         O McWilliams
         B Heron
         P Coney
         R Bell
         J Doherty


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