Faithful Future wrote: ↑
Mon May 23, 2022 11:12 am
A couple of thoughts following this weekends game and our campaign overall:
Thank you to the team for their efforts this year, it is a massive commitment from players to put in the hours of effort that they do for our jersey.
There was a real sense of frustration on the terrace on Saturday. Carlow came ready for war, as any team should in a knock-out championship match. They were ravenous, tearing into us off the ball to upset us, fighting and usually winning ruck ball and running at us. Offaly were found wanting when it came to desire.
All inter-county players need to be comfortable striking the ball. On a couple of occasions, defenders broke forward throughout the campaign and didn't want to shoot - I know we're not a Limerick, Cork etc. but these guys have been playing the game for 15-20 years now and should have a shot from 65m in their locker regardless of the number on their back - a tangible work on for the winter months.
Ben Conneely has to be 6 and leading our defence - I understand he was put in the full back line to shore up the defence but we need him holding the heart of the defence and leading from here. He's a fantastic hurler and a brings a real sense of calm to our defence.
Management/County Board can't be calling for more attendance at games when the players put in a performance like they did on Saturday. Pulling out of tackles, half hearted attempts to tackle - I am not here to slate anyone, but I was disgusted by the heart of the players on Saturday.
We really need to focus on our Phase 2 of short puck-out strategy. Full back line didn't seem comfortable on the ball and forwards didn't really appear to be sure what was going to happen next. Forwards have to be creating space/running into the pocket once the ball is live here.
Our sideline strategy also looked to be lacking. Nally scored a lovely one, but apart from this, we seemed to be hitting in hope and lacking any clarity. Retention of the ball is critical and we need to have options when we win a sideline ball (similar to Waterford/Clare).
Our S&C has definitely come on to the level that it needs to be, although we do have a small team that was sometimes bullied on Saturday. If mid-table Joe McDonagh Cup teams are bullying us.....
It was noticeable how Carlow were tearing into our guys off the ball Saturday. I hate to say it, but we probably have a reputation of being 'soft' now. I would say that we had zero bite at the weekend - I would prefer lads on the panel with a bit of bite as opposed to those with high levels of S&C. Carlows S&C looked to be behind ours but they were the ones coming out with the 50|50 balls.
I think we scored 3/4 points from play on Saturday which is simply not good enough, even at this level.
4th place is probably a fair reflection of where we are at - Antrim are ahead of us, and when the chips were down both Carlow & Kerry were able to rise to the occasion.
I do hope the current management stays in place, but we do need to unearth more ball winners and players with a bit more tenacity. Oisin K will be a great addition, but we definitely need more. We have a lot to work on for next year - Laois coming down won't make things any easier but we have to be building on this year and pushing for a place in the final next year as a minimum.