Waste(meath) of another thread!

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Waste(meath) of another thread!

Postby Silken Thomas » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:11 pm

It’s a bit haphazard and written over an ever changing situation.
As for the first introduction it’s something I wanted to do and I hope it means something to someone and I don’t mean that in a condescending manner!
I think the piece itself though has some merits. Enjoy

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A generous sprinkling of positivity, washed away by false dawns and heartbreak. Bereft of the inspirational now...
Time to Raleigh? Not, hopefully, yet, to this opposition.

A monsoon of stress. A blizzard of wishes.
A tradition semi-frozen. The hail of hope, but not will, melting among the less passionate amongst us.

The end of an Ice Age?

An ill wind blows... Not forcefully though hardly registering with the meteorologists of note.
A hurricane even, of bile and malice. A gust to some but red (maroon really) alert to others. Evacuation of the conscious.

Tranquil waters beginning to ripple.
Anticipation ebbs and flows, through the truncated spurs of every settlement. Supporters perculate, drip and drizzle through the ‘Red Sea’ of the battle place. Unable to forecast but searching for tell tale signs. Thunder looms large. A sun shower of wonderment?. In every sense.

A snow storm of raw nerves and emotion with the hope that lightning and indeed 2004 never strikes twice...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

In essence it's not going to be pretty, possibly not tolerable and for the football purist out there barely watchable. From St. Jarlaths to St. Brendans and anything else in between; avert your eyes now. Nothing to see here. All Galvin no Gooch. When neighbouring clans collide victory instead of participation is all that counts. And rightly so. Nobody likes a loser.
As far as I am concerned Offaly football has had too many close calls, close misses and close shaves for comfort or convenience. Twenty First Century= The nearly men. Individual matches and mistakes are ancient history, a waste of time and breath. Best left to J. Magee. The Offaly Football Panel owe me and my ilk nothing. Never will really. But destiny awaits. Personal redemption. A truly most satisfying kind.

We're close now as so I keep saying... Midfielders take note. I don't represent the Traffic Corp but I confidently predict a heavy volume engaged between both forty fives this Saturday evening. Expect anything up to 20 vehicles in the vicinity. With this in mind the importance of breaking ball is only accentuated. Billy Morgan defined it in the summer of 2006 as 'dyeing on breaks' the sacrifice of personal safety in pursuit of the football. Winning breaks is not exclusively about brawn or size but timing, practise, teamwork, positioning, nous and sensible aggression. However the importance of utilising this breaking ball is not overstated. The ability to dummy an opponent to make space or offload to a more mobile or isolated teammate under intense physical pressure will be in my eyes be of critical importance. A lack of concentration or sharpness will result in players of both sides being bottled up and overturning possession through dispossession or over carrying.

I’ll get patriotic now; ‘Tús maith é leath na hoibre’ is an old saying that highlights the importance of the good start. Nowhere is this given more credence than Saturday. Though easy analysis, the importance increases in this situation. If Offaly can open a lead of 3+ points at any stage in the first 25 minutes, Westmeath will be forced to stop funnelling back as much players( in an effort to obtain more scores) and thereby suffocating the space. However if at any stage a similar deficit befalls us we will run the risk of Westmeath’s watertight defence and indeed a sort of counter attack football whereby Westmeath’s very own mathematician Dolan can exploit the space with his intelligent angled runs.

Westmeath’s strengths are a bit more complicated than their marquee forwards though. The halfback line of Heavin, Ennis and Healy deserve special mention. Nationally this trio are a sideshow. I believe though this is the foundation that Westmeath have built their year. Like a lot of teams from school to club to county Westmeath love to transfer the ball quickly out of defence. Kieran Gavin, Boyle and Keane tend to break ball from opposing danger men. This ball along with any misguided deliveries and under hit shots is usually carried at pace through the hands by the former trio and the Mullingar Shamrocks man O' Donughue( who I expect to see play). This cartel will need to be broken up, literally, and Heavin will certainly have to be monitored and not allowed dictate the Westmeath attacks and even the pace of the match. In addition the forward meanderings of Ennis and Healy will also have to be tracked they tend to interchange with Harte ( who probably will not play) and Wilson.

However the importance of the twin threat of Glennon and Dolan cannot be overstated. With Harte and Smyth on safari the folly of leaving four defenders on any four given Westmeath attackers will be exposed. I would most certainly play a sweeper in front of Denis Glennon. Glennon picks ball in space and has the confidence, pace and power to glide almost gazelle like by wannabe challengers. Furthermore along with his customary couple of points is the understated ability to hold up possession, draw fouls for their very reasonable free takers and bring the previously mentioned big boot of Martin Flanagan into the equation. As evidenced by the joust of 2006 Offaly and more particularly Shane Sullivan could not cope with the athletic abilities of the Tyrellspass man. The question posed is this; If Glennon could damage Offaly when his side were being well beaten at midfield how can he be curbed when as expected Westmeath at least break even? The answer of course lies with the age old sweeper. as 'Hyper' alludes to Karl Slattery or even McManus sweeping in front of the half back line would be a very beneficial security measure.

Offalys war chest is just as see through. Thomas Deehan and Niall McNamee will position themselves close to goals acting as magnets for the rests efforts. Despite their contrasting clubs both play as one. The ability to manufacture goal chances will be crucial. The telepathy as evidenced in 2006 against our south east foes will be more than appreciated. However things will not be as easy. Frustration will have to be shackled. With Westmeath’s shutters down It will be essential that possession is used as quick as it is efficient. Too much incoming support will only entice extra bodies and bad karma. Overall though it’s a football match and we need to play to our strengths; the better footballers are on our side and in some cases on our bench. Utilise accordingly.

In the centre forward and back positions, Kelleghan and Brady will bring great strength and experience to the battle. Their ability to instigate productive football such as getting Slattery on an overlap, breaking the first tackle and above all helping our ailing midfield will be essential to our hopes. With Smith wandering, Brady like an old favourite of mine can man the centre and prevent any runners through the centre. He will be the net that hopefully snares Healy and Ennis if they escape among others Darby’s attentions. And here is a double edged sword. With Darby, Grennan and Slattery a vertical and weight disadvantage is conceded however and especially with the latter two, serious pace is offered. This must be harnessed with overlaps and clever link up play while all the while not forgetting their defensive arts.

As for a forecast?

The sky is clouded and heavy, stubborn and unruly and threatens toxic showers of humiliation but hopefully strong enough to carry the day...
Low scoring draw!
The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
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Silken Thomas
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