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Messages - Mourne Rover

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Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: May 20, 2019, 11:21:04 PM »
Lotto has clearly forgotten about our last Ulster championship match 12 months ago when Donegal beat us by 13 points without breaking sweat even through we had an extra man for almost an entire hour. This time round, we came up with a strategy to negate Armagh's perceived superiority at midfield until Mooney got himself sent off. We then regrouped, had to cope with the black card for our keeper and then finished very strongly to come from five behind and get a draw. We could have won it in extra time and lost out by a point in the end. We had six players starting in the championship for the first time with a further four debuts from the bench.

When most supporters think we have made significant progress since last year's debacle, Lotto thinks we are celebrating failure. In Lotto's world, you can somehow push up on the opposition and keep kicking the ball in long, even if you are a man down. Lotto's tactical insight is summed up as `let the players play FFS'. Lotto did not notice the way we rotated our full forwards and pulled Armagh defenders out of possession, resulting in three goals, and obviously missed the sense of purpose which was present across the squad.

There were plenty of handling mistakes and errors of judgment along the way, we have a long way to go and much will depend on the draw for the qualfiiers. However, we have a spirit about us, the younger players are only going to improve and we are begining to look like we might become a team again. It's a start.

GAA Discussion / Re: Down v Armagh (Park Esler 16:00) 19/05/2019
« on: May 20, 2019, 12:03:48 PM »
LCohen refers to the possibility of the O'Neill/Guinness incident appearing on YouTube but it was shown in full during the television coverage last night. There is no doubt that O'Neill's open hand caught Guinness on the side of the face. The level of contact was obviously less than in the Mooney episode but by the letter of the law both were potential red cards. Mooney walked before the break and O'Neill stayed on in extra time to hit what turned out to be the winning point and collect the man of the match award. Both sides could point to other questionable decisions but, in a game of tight margins, the absence of Mooney and the presence of O'Neill were probably crucial.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: May 19, 2019, 10:11:15 PM »
Losing at home to Armagh in the championship for the first time in over sixty years is never going to be a good day but the way we rallied when the game seemed gone, and then probably should have gone on to win it in extra time, was hugely impressive and indicated that we may have a team again within a year or two.

While a couple of individual errors of judgment cost us dearly, Tally did a brilliant job tactically and kept his head when McGeeney was all over the place in the closing stages. We can also feel pretty hard done by as it was very hard to see how a head high tackle from Mooney was a red while a hand straight into the face from O'Neill was only a yellow as he went on to be man of the match. Havern may have handled on the ground in the very last play but he was almost certainly fouled first and, with Armagh panicking, anything could have happened from a long free into the square

The most impressive aspect for us was the way the younger players stepped up to the mark, through Daniel Guinness, Francis and Havern from the start and James Guinness, Quinn and McCabe coming off the bench. They all made mistakes under pressure along the way but they look like the best group of emerging talent we have had for a decade.

Throw in excellent displays from both O'Hagans, McAleenan, McKernan, O'Hare and Harrison and we might yet have a run in the qualfiers with the right draw.

Tally's set up meant Armagh did not have any real midfield advantage before Mooney's dismissal and he came up with a decent plan for 14 men as well. Burns had a fine game with some excellent kick-outs until he got over confident and went on one run too many resulting in his black card.

Wells tried hard at full back but struggled throughout and we have very few alternatives there after the injuries to Donnelly and McArdle. A call to McGovern may be unlikely but is still worth considering.

However, there is every prospect that this squad is going to improve both this summer and in the coming season. Tally proved his capabilitiies today and, with the players buying into his approach, some heartening progress is definitely on the cards.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: May 17, 2019, 11:57:32 PM »
Team named as Burns; O'Hagan, Wells, Collins; McAleenan, McKernan, Daniel Guinness; Mooney, Poland; Francis, Jerome Johnston, Maginn; Havern, O'Hare, Harrison.

We will certainly not start in this formation, and like Armagh there could still be changes. McArdle and Flynn are definitely losses and we have pace rather than size across the field. The Armagh side looks as though it as a distinct physical advantage but we will be hoping that our manager reads it better along the way.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: May 15, 2019, 11:34:15 PM »
Nanderson does not say which of the Guinness brothers he is suggesting. Both are well in contention, as are Poland, Havern, Harrison and a couple of others, so there will be a few tight selection calls along the way. Tally is more than capable of shaking up the team that finished the league.

General discussion / Re: The Super(ish) Leeds United Thread
« on: May 15, 2019, 11:11:08 PM »
A tough night for Leeds, so condolences to Rufus and the rest of the faithful, but we have been there before and will be there again. If Leeds had gone in at the break at 1-0, and then followed Bielsa's normal instructions, we should have closed it out fairly comfortably. Instead, we had a catastrophic goalkeeping error almost on the whistle and were then caught cold in the first minute of the second half. Derby did play well when they were given the chance, but, if Berardi had avoided a foolish red card, we still looked like finishing as the stronger side. Starting him ahead of Jansson was probably a rare selection error from Bielsa  but hopefully he will stay for another season. Plan A needs to be avoiding the play-offs, as history tells us that the weight of expectation tends to crush all but the toughest characters in the squad. While Dallas was outstanding tonight, we did not quite have enough quality elsewhere when we badly needed it.

GAA Discussion / Re: 2019 Season Ticket
« on: May 13, 2019, 03:20:44 PM »
Has anyone got their Season Ticket email about arrangements for Newry on Sunday ?

General discussion / Re: The Super(ish) Leeds United Thread
« on: May 12, 2019, 11:53:44 PM »
According to the BBC stats, Derby had no shots on target at any stage. The big positive was that Leeds were back to our form from the first half of the season, with a high press, high intensity game which Derby could not handle. As Rufus says, the only concern is that we probably should have had a second goal. Derby are still capable of scoring at Elland Road, so the tie is certainly not over, but there is more than a hint of fate about the possibility of meeting Villa in the final.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: May 06, 2019, 09:44:47 PM »
Donegal apparently won by two.  There will be plenty of suggestions about the team for Armagh, and Ed Hardy is entitled to his ideas. However, Maginn is still a likely starter with Havern and Mallon there or thereabouts. If McArdle and Flynn are fit, they are in the same category. The biggest question is whether O'Hagan, probably our best player, is asked to mark Clarke in the corner or kept at his natural position at wing half. Midfield is a problem no matter what we do so packing the sector may be our best option.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: April 23, 2019, 09:54:22 PM »
There was obviously no programme and plenty of changes made in the course of a low key friendly. Down largely went man to man defensively, with Wells and Collins fairly comfortable in the full back line, McKernan placed as an orthodox centre half and Francis overlapping beside him. The midfield was Flynn and Mallon, who were reasonable without noticeably improving on the league partnerships. Maginn looked the part at centre forward, and scored an early goal, with Guinness and McGrady showing up well alongside him. Havern won every ball at full forward with Devlin and McCabe providing support. There was no sign of either O'Hagan or O'Hare, while Harrison is injured, and Mooney came off the bench. Davidson was another sub who saw plenty of the ball but may still be short on fitness. The game was divided into three periods, and Down were three up going into the third one.

General discussion / Re: The Super(ish) Leeds United Thread
« on: April 23, 2019, 06:53:08 PM »
Bielsa is a coaching genius who has improved almost every player at  Leeds beyond recognition. He clearly believes in keeping a tight squad in which every member knows his role in a high pressing style, and the result is the club's best season in the last 15 years. The frustration is that a relatively small additional investment could have secured automatic promotion, although he was genuinely unlucky that the deal agreed with Swansea for Daniel James collapsed right on the January deadline leaving no time to find an alternative. While dropping into the play-offs will be mentally tough, Leeds look certain to finish third and then have the advantage of the second leg at home against Derby, Bristol City or Middlesbrough, leaving the tougher pairing of WBA and Aston Villa on the other side of the draw. A place in the final would be massive, although only the best form from the first half of the season would be good enough for the ultimate prize.

General discussion / Re: The Super(ish) Leeds United Thread
« on: April 13, 2019, 10:37:05 PM »
A massive win for Leeds today means that ten points from the last four games will take us up. Sheffield United definitely have the easier run in, but they have lost momentum and picked up key injuries as well as the suspension of Egan. However, strange things can happen when the pressure is really on and it will probably go to the last game. While Leeds are not short on quality, winning a match by a comfortable margin has not often been possible. The closing stages of our remaining fixtures are not going to be good for the nerves.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: April 06, 2019, 02:07:22 PM »
The website seems to have had technical problems for some time but it is pretty poor that the service has actually got worse for the start of our all county leagues.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: March 24, 2019, 06:27:02 PM »
Donnelly is not the finished product as a county midfielder but he has improved steadily in recent seasons and we are clearly going to need him in the championship. He has missed the entire league through injury but it was hard to understand why he was fit enough for the bench today but not used in the final quarter.

While Tally deserves full credit for putting together a run of five consecutive wins, realistically the only opposition we dominated was a limited Offaly. Three of the games were won in injury time, and today could have been a fourth, but you cannot go on hoping to snatch results at the death. Our squad lacks depth and there are probably at least half a dozen positions up for grabs against Armagh.

Another factor is our form in Newry, where we have lost more matches than we have won over the last four or five seasons. Promotion today would have given us  a big lift but instead our confidence going into the championship may be fragile.

Down / Re: Down Club Hurling & Football
« on: March 24, 2019, 05:41:00 PM »
Today's first half was our most disappointing performance for a very long time, and, although we improved in the final quarter, the damage had been done and we managed to miss out on a promotion which was practically in our grasp.

We were uncertain from the start, with experienced figures like McKernan and Mooney making a series of unforced errors. Mooney did get a fine point which arguably should have been a goal but neither he nor Flynn are really midfielders and the opposition pairing took us apart. Our kick-out strategy was baffling, putting the ball constantly in an area which we could not gain possession, but the keeper could only have been acting on instructions.

The spine of the team was a huge problem, with Wells and Flanagan both exposed at the back before getting taken off and Poland not making an impact at centre forward.

Darren O'Hagan was our best player as usual, and nearly pulled us over the line singlehandedly, while a little more composure from our forwards in the closing stages could easily have got us the draw.

Very few of our substitutions worked and it was surprising not to see Maginn used at any stage on a day when we were crying out for a cool head on the ball.

Next year's D3 appears significantly tougher, with Cork, Tipperary and Derry all in the picture, so we could be regretting today's result for a very long time

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