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Messages - merman

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Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 30, 2020, 10:49:37 AM »
Just watched the highlights of the BK v RE game. PJ Scully was on fire. CAn anyone explain why PJ has struggled when playing for Laois because in the club scene he is one of the best.

I think he might have suffered with playing with a sweeper. He is an exceptional forward but physicality can be an issue at inter-county level and when our forwards are outnumbered, it's often players like him who are squeezed out.

I'd love to see him back in though. He clearly has a lot to offer.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 11:20:45 AM »
Saturday week at 7pm I believe. Wonder will it be on tv? I think one of the local media outlets jumped the gun slightly and thought it was coming forward a week rather than just a day.
I'm not really sure why one of the two biggest games in our GAA calendar is being played on a Saturday evening rather than a Sunday afternoon.

Impressed with Clough/Ballacolla. I didn't really agree with the commentators who felt the score-line flattered them; they missed a couple of frees, hit a few wides and spurned at least 3 goal chances. I like Rosenallis and they've been a great story but I felt CB kept them at arms-length and apart from a 10 minute spell in the first half, looked a level above.
Picky Maher is getting all the plaudits but I thought Aidan Corby (well-called Keyser) was exceptional. He covered a serious amount of ground and gets on an awful lot of ball. I thought he was wasteful against RE but he has improved steadily since and provides a good foil for the more disciplined Willie Hyland beside him. Their defence has improved with the addition of Diarmuid Conway and Brian Corby. Both lads have speed and hurl with confidence and crucially, they hurl from the front. Their speed coupled with county panelists Cleere and Broderick mean that Darren Maher and Michael McEvoy are protected and provide a very physical spine. I thought Cathal Dunne was excellent in the goal and he has improved them very quickly. He might just be the heir apparent to Enda Rowland.
Up front, they have a nice mix of finishers and work-horses. Robbie Phelan hurls very deep but gets forward to good effect. They don't bring their other half-forwards as deep but they compete physically in that half line. Inside, John Dwyer started very well but I think we saw his limitations. No other team had a forward as capable as Stephen Bergin to call on and he'll push very hard to start the final. BK have shown they can shackle Picky and Willie Dunphy before; CB need both to fire, one wonít be enough.

I've had a good feeling about BK from the start. They are a complete hurling team and their forwards, midfielders and even a couple of their defenders can interchange and pop up in different positions with ease. They are relentless and their energy levels were really good on Sunday. They can hurt you in different ways because if you drop off them, they will score from range. If you push up on them; they will fire the ball into space and have the forwards to hurt you.
I thought Stephen Dunphy was really impressive and Paddy Whelan and Stephen Finan are excellent club-defenders.
I actually think five of their forwards are of inter-county standard and (Rosenallis aside) they look a little fitter and more athletic than the rest of the teams.
RE were severely blunted without Kavanagh and McCane. They have honest workers in the likes of Dollard, Darren King and Ryan but they didnít carry the same potency. BK were able to get their match-ups right and were able to create much more threat at the other end. RE have limitations after their first 15 and though I think theyíll win an Intermediate Championship, Iím not sure they have the depth to replace a couple of ageing players.

A week and a half out, I am still inclined to back BK. I think we know how they will perform and there are more question-marks around CB. The bookies have BK favourites and I think thatís fair.

Laois / Re: The future of laois hurling
« on: September 23, 2020, 04:18:10 PM »
I stand to be corrected but I think Abbeyleix won with this crop at U12; Clough/Ballacolla at U13, Borris/Kilcotton at U14 and Rathdowney/Errill at U15.
It's been a great grade.

I think Rosenallis might well win it.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 23, 2020, 12:34:47 PM »
Rosenallis have the sticky defenders and legs to frustrate Clough Ballacolla's danger men. If they can avoid a shootout I think they will do it. Verdict Rosenallis by less than 3

If Kavanagh is out that is a colossal blow for RE. He has been flying it in last two games. Neither team impressed v the stronger teams in groups. RE lucky to draw with CB. BK very lucky to beat Camross. Lost to Rosenallis. Either team could kick start their year here with a big performance. Still think RE will sneak it however.

I'll go against you.

I have a sneaky feeling Rosenallis have one more kick in them and I agree that the Clough/Ballacolla forwards won't relish the close attention they will receive but surely CB are forewarned now. It is worth mentioning that BK didn't have to win the last day and without diluting Rosenallis' achievement, it is a different challenge to knock one of the big teams out completely.
I don't see a huge score in Rosenallis against a decent CB defence. If there is a low free count for Rosenallis, I can't see them scoring enough from play. They are excellent in defence and this time last year, BK really frustrated the CB forwards and that won the game. The return of Picky, though, has been a massive boost and I think CB will just about have enough.
CB by 5.

I've had a feeling all year that BK might be the team to beat.
The Ballinakill game aside, they haven't really hit their stride but I expect a big performance on Sunday. Their forwards can be a bit hot and cold but I think they'll be determined to right a few wrongs after a quite insipid performance against RE last year. RE have been the bench-mark over the last decade or so and won't relinquish their crown easily but as Keyser said, the loss of Kavanagh is huge. He's a class act and a threat from play and placed balls whilst also having a great attitude towards hard work. I think his loss could be telling and I'm going to back BK but it'll be very tight and I wouldn't rule out extra time or penalties!

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 22, 2020, 01:05:28 PM »
I think Kavanagh is out for the semi-final with only a small chance of being available for a final.
Hopefully will be available for the Dublin game if things heal properly and he doesn't require surgery.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 18, 2020, 02:49:08 PM »
I hadnít realised there were problems between LCB & EB before this?
I disagree with Merman on the point of the club championship not being his concern. I think it should be. The reality is different in most counties I know.

As was said, he has done a really good job, but I have disagreed (from the start) with the degree to which he has maintained his media profile while in the job.

I completely agree with you about his media profile.

A county manager should care about our senior championship, and this year of all years.
But Eddie has been unequivocal about his focus on improving our senior county team. He has been consistent in what he's demanded from his panelists and has got rid of those he felt couldn't make the various standard he demands.
Rightly or wrongly, he cares about preparing the top 30 hurlers in Laois. He cares about playing Dublin in Croke Park and he cares about protecting his own reputation and the chance to enhance it further by trying to improve on last year.

And I actually have no issue with that.
My preference for inter-county manager is generally an internal manager supplemented with the very best coaches we can attract.
I think that guarantees you the right blend of heart, enthusiasm and professionalism.

Failing that, a young ambitious and ruthless outside manager who cares primarily for his own career is a fine alternative. I expect Eddie to step away soon (I hope I'm wrong) but he is now a contender for big jobs in Kilkenny off the back of his success last year. He'll have an eye on succeeding Cody or Shefflin.
If we go outside again, I'd be looking at someone else coming in for 2/3 years determined to take a scalp, move us slightly up the ladder and create a name for himself. Journeymen will get us nowhere because they won't challenge the players or the county board.

Anyway, apologies for going off-topic.
I hope the clubs are afforded the chance to prepare properly for the semi-finals. It's been a poor championship in all honesty and we could do with a couple of decent games to close it out.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 18, 2020, 12:58:49 PM »
A championship that has been played exclusively without floodlights should be concluded the same way.
I've no huge issue with bringing the final forward a week but 5pm on the Saturday or still better, the Sunday afternoon, are far better and fairer options.

I've sympathy for Eddie Brennan though I agree completely with Keyser and Ogie that he was out of order with how I expressed his frustration. Going to the media rather than directly to the County Board isn't a good look but is quite in-keeping with what we have seen from him. He has been an excellent manager for Laois but I think these are his last few weeks as the relationship with the board was poor before this; its irreparable now.
It is unfair that other counties have extra time to prepare. It is unfortunate that Laois was put into lockdown and lost those weekends. I get Eddie's disappointment and it's not his job to care about about our club championships but I fear he's trying to fight a fight he can't win.

I think a compromise should be found to allow clubs prepare properly for the semi-finals and relegation final.
Thereafter, Eddie will have 6/8 Senior and Senior A teams fully available to him. Clubs should be allowed this full weekend to prepare and if there is a desperate need to get the county panel together, maybe a light technical/tactical session on Wednesday could probably be included.
My worry is that the communication between county and club was non-existent and this will lead to frustration and resentment. I think players will walk and I can't blame them or the clubs if compromises aren't offered. Training 3 times a week before a championship semi-final devalues a championship that is very important to those involved.

I have heard that Cha will be available. Has anyone else been invited back in?

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 14, 2020, 12:35:38 PM »
Both matches yesterday went to script; RE had far too much for Abbeyleix and though Ballinakill were better, I always felt Camross had the match under reasonable control.

RE vs BK has the makings of a cracking semi-final.
Mark Kavanagh would be a huge loss if his injury is as bad as feared.
I've fancied BK all year but I'm wavering. If Kavanagh is out; it evens it up but if he's fit I think RE might just edge it.  I can see myself changing my mind on this a lot over the next couple of weeks.
Whoever comes through this game will be really galvanised and should start the final as favourites for me.

I've been stung by Rosenallis twice but I reckon third time will be the charm...I think CB will win the semi-final albeit after a battle. I expect it to be close but CB are forewarned and if they have their homework done and their focus/attitude is right, I think they'll make the final. They have improved a lot since 2018 and seem to have injuries clearing up at the right time. They'll really fancy their chances now.

For the relegation match, Ballinakill will be likely favourites and they should have enough. Relegation Finals are horrible games to play in and anything can happen; I think Castletown will deliver a performance but I don't know where their scores will come from.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 13, 2020, 10:52:02 AM »
David Dooley.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 13, 2020, 09:39:47 AM »
Is there a reason Killian Whelan doesn't commentate on the hurling? I know he's a football man but having him commentate and supplement him with a couple of revently retired hurlers would make a world of difference.

Anyway, it's still a great service.

My apologies again to Rosenallis. I've fallen into the trap of underestimating them again.
They were excellent yesterday. They work so hard; they're so athletic but such compliments may actually detract from their technical ability. They may lack a little punch up front but they  make up for it with incredible technique in the tackle and massive composure on the ball. When BK reverted to a sweeper in the first half, John Maher was immense and his distribution just excellent. They have the option of going long and straight to O' Loughlin, Fitzpatrick or Keating but can also carry the ball through the lines so it makes them a difficult team to play against. If they go long, they're a nightmare because a few times, BK won possessuon cleanly but were turned over for scores. Their tackling is relentless but crucially, they don't concede needless fouls. It's an underappreciated skill.
And next year, they really will bring in a top-class forward who could help elevate them further. These are the real deal and I'd give them a chance the next day.

For BK, it was a poor performance from a team who couldn't get going at all. In reality, it matters little in terms of the overall plan as a semi-final against RE or CB both bring varied challenges and opportunities. I like most of their forwards individually but something wasn't right yesterday and I think they're carrying a forward who just isn't up to it. That happens with a lot of club teams but they have alternatives and I think we'll see a reshuffle for the next day.

They're still in this championship but I think they'll go in as underdogs the next day. Maybe they'll like that. I still believe there's something in them and we might see it in two weeks.

Didn't watch the first game but it went as many predicted. I thought there'd be more in Castletown but it was always going to be a struggle. CB, on paper, look to have a nice blend and they'll be very confident in a semi-final. I suspect they'll end up facing Rosenallis which would be a story in itself as their second team lost a Junior A final to Rosenallis a few years ago.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: September 12, 2020, 09:57:28 AM »
Agree with all that Ogie.

I suspect Castletown will be more competitive under internal management and might make things awkward for a Clough/Ballacolla side who can be poor if not fully engaged.
Can't see anything other than a CB win but I don't think they'll even threaten RE's score difference superiority.
CB by 10.

Rosenallis are a breath of fresh air and I was delighted for them. They are only going to get stronger with a couple of really fine prospects at juvenile grade too. They exploited a Camross team who looked slow and a long way short of their physical best. BK are anything but slow. They have pace and power in crucial areas and I just can't see them being denied a third win from three.
BK by 7. The team to beat.

RE will beat Abbeyleix. Abbeyleix might be competitive but I don't think they are anywhere near the top teams. I thought they looked a little rudderless against CB the last time and a more ruthless team would have really hammered them.
RE will know that a win will see them into a semi-final against Rosenallis and will be guarded in knowing a loss will likely see them knocked-out.
I could be mad but I reckon RE will have this one over early.
RE by 18.

I do think Camross will beat Ballinakill. Mightn't be a classic but could be the closest game of the weekend. Ballinakill have brought through a couple of decent young players but they are still too reliant on too few.
I reckon Camross will be happy enough that their annus horribilis will be over this weekend.
Camross by 5.

Laois / Re: GAA and COVID-19: Is it worth it?
« on: September 03, 2020, 07:24:57 AM »
I'm actually told the GAA has just said there'll be no schools' matches until after Christmas, at least.

Which likely means February/March at the earliest.

Sensible decision but I'd be hopeful that we might have some inter-school competition then.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: August 30, 2020, 08:14:29 PM »
I always thought you could concede once without being relegated. Twice and you were gone.
Eitherways I donít think a Senior club can entertain conceding to avoid a bad beating. If thatís the road you are going down youíd be better off conceding the relegation final too.

Absolutely. Stupid of me for mentioning it.

I think the difference between this win for Rosenallis and Abbeyleix a few years ago is that Rosenallis appear to be backing this up with some fine underage prospects. They're already a pretty young team and have arguably the best minor hurler in the county coming through for next year.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: August 30, 2020, 06:48:01 PM »
Is that a new rule?
Can't say I've ever heard it before.

Laois / Re: Laois Club SHC 2020
« on: August 30, 2020, 06:25:41 PM »
Wow. My apologies to the good people of Rosenallis. Stunning performance and a thoroughly deserved win. So well-coached and they're only getting started at this level. This could well be a watershed moment rather than a once-off.
They'll trouble RE in the semi-final too.

Castletown would be mad to play that CB game. Concede now and focus on Ballinakill. Even a win does nothing for them.

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