Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

A forum to air your views on Offaly GAA matters and beyond.

Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby kingscounty » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:57 pm

Lone Shark wrote:
substandard wrote:https://m.soundcloud.com/midlandssport/dan-currams-some-of-the-abuse-is-a-disgrace

Agree fully with this.
People need to stand back and say from what base the current squad have come from through schools, clubs, development squads and minor/ u21 past teams. They are doing their best, sacrificing a lot and pushing themselves physically to represent their county, with the odds stacked heavily against them. Realistically, a Leinster final appearance/ win within the next few years would be the pinnacle of their capabilities given their position in the hurling food chain, but make no mistake, they want to improve on that, they are trying to improve on that, and the least they deserve is a bit of credit and support- remember they are looking after the jersey until the next young man who will give the same commitment comes along to take it over.



I'm going to deal with this first, and then come back to the match in a separate post, since they are distinct issues.

I agree with Currams here in the same way that if someone makes an impassioned speech about how those involved in a life of crime would be better served by coming back to the community and doing volunteer work, we'd all be better off. It's not really a disputed position. Similarly anyone who has any interest or involvement in the GAA knows that the sacrifices involved in playing at intercounty level are immense. As supporters, we thank those that are willing to do it and I for one certainly don't blame anyone who isn't in a position to and so walks away. Not everyone can essentially make a sport the primary focus in their lives, and that's what it takes nowadays.

However I can't agree with the idea which he hasn't stated explicitly but has still implied, which is that criticism of Offaly players is widespread and excessive, either on this forum or in general. Now maybe Dan is hearing things that I'm not, and that's entirely possible since I don't live inside Offaly any more, but on this forum or indeed in general, I haven't read much if any criticism of the players that are in the squad. In fact I think the almost universally held view is that they are blameless in this situation, and that they are doing their best.

Yes there has been criticism of the management, but by any metric, and I'd argue that BW himself would agree with this, some criticism has been earned. Ollie Baker wasn't celebrated as a modern day guru or anything like that, but since he left there was a marked decline in the county's fortunes. There were a couple of bad results where Offaly were filleted tactically (Laois 2014 being the perfect example - and I'm not attributing the blame, I'm just saying it happened) and outside of this, there were incidents of indiscipline that led to some players being cut off the panel, while many more walked away or refused to be part of it. No county has declined more than Offaly in the last twelve months in terms of our overall standing, (let's not forget that we were nine point favourites against Laois in 2014 and two point underdogs on Saturday) and it's daft to expect that supporters would not express their frustration at that.

Now nobody is questioning Brian's legacy as a player - in the eyes of the vast majority of people, yours truly included, he'll be remembered as the greatest we ever were blessed with. However his management hasn't been a success so far and it's not unfair to say this, or to question certain things that were done. Nobody has said he's not trying, nobody has said that his heart isn't in it, but just that results are very poor and either those results are a reflection of the level of ability in the county (and very few of us believe this) or they aren't, and so there has to be a reason.

Moreover, Dan Currams in the piece speaks about things that are "said about players" not just management. Now I genuinely don't agree that the Offaly hurlers (or footballers for that matter) get that much of a rough ride on here, or in any online forum. I've heard far worse on the terrace and in the stand than I've read on here. Admittedly there are posters on here that I have great time for, and there are posters that I don't really rate their opinion too highly. However as a general rule, lads crossing the line when it comes to criticism of players get pulled up on it very quickly, far more than they do in the pub of a Friday night, and that's as it should be. Certainly the only criticism I read is about their hurling, not about their personal lives - and again, that's sticking by the rules in my book.


I would also say to players in general who are logged on and reading this post, that this forum is no different to any walk of life, in that you'll have eejitry and most people can see that. Just the same as I'll sit down and read a piece by Enda McEvoy or Dónal Óg Cusack with great interest and expecting to learn something because I respect the source, and I won't even bother reading Martin Breheny because it'll be a rehash of something he wrote five years ago that made no sense then either. Only you can decide what opinions to take on board as being well thought out and considered, and if you don't perceive them as such, you're probably right so pass no remarks.

However I'm sure Dan would be glad to realise that I would never judge Kilcormac-Killoughey as a club by some of the contributors here that think we should have just walked into their dressing room the day of the Ballyhale game and handed them the 15 Offaly jerseys and let them at it, so neither should players judge online forums by the one or two comments that are either outrageous, daft or both. No entity can be held responsible for everyone who associates themselves, either online or in the GAA.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm an Offaly supporter first and foremost, as well as being in the happy position of being a local writer, and I wholeheartedly appreciate everything that the players and the management do for the cause. I know exactly the level of commitment required and it is truly immense, and I also know that putting in the hours doesn't always result in victories on the field either since the other teams are doing exactly the same thing. Rest assured that whether you win or lose, you have my respect for putting yourself out there and doing your utmost for the county we all love so much.

And if the day comes when I say that Player X had a bad day on Sunday afternoon and that he struggled under the high ball, or that we might have been better off making a few more substitutions earlier, or that we lost the tactical/physical/mental battle, then that doesn't mean that what I've said in the previous paragraph ceases to apply. I write for a living and I've churned out more than a few very poorly written pieces, while I also set odds and consult betting firms and I've made a few very bad calls there too. And just because people take great joy in calling me on it when the bookie gets it wrong, that doesn't mean I interpret their comments as "abuse" or "slander". It just comes with the territory, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks again, f*** the begrudgers, but don't let one or two morons lead you to believe that the vast majority of people, online or otherwise, are anything other than thankful.
I'm on here a good few year now and by far the best post I've read .
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby sam88885a » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:22 pm

Well done lone shark , thought u were very fair in your assesment of Dans comments and the right of supporters to comment on hurling matters.
I think Dan showed leadership qualities by addressing the issue and call on supporters to get behind the team .
He has shown the ability to defend his team mates and Hopefully it will create a real bond among offaly players and they will continue to play with the spirit shown on saturday night .
They best way to get support would be to back up the victory with a big performance against wexford on sunday .
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Lone Shark » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:46 pm

For those of you who missed it (and there'll be quite a few since it was the middle of the day!) this topic was discussed on Midlands Radio this morning.

https://soundcloud.com/midlandssport/kevin-egan-on-dan-currams-comments
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby sam88885a » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:06 pm

well done to J demsey and S dooley in making hurling team of the week . Both deserved
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby substandard » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:27 pm

The joys of flexible dinner times- just bet me to posting the link, Lone Shark!!
A very thorough and well thought out response, but I'm not sure if Dan was referring specifically to uibhfhaili.com with what he was saying, and either side of this discussion could come down to semantics on either side. In terms of stuff written, I've seen strings of comments where some nasty stuff was written on twitter and facebook, and I'd imagine that, with confidence at a low ebb, reading or being told comments that '(You're) shit' or that you shouldn't be there, and so on, is bound to get to players. What I like about this forum is, as you have correctly pointed out, is that the vast majority of posts are generally balanced- but in the same way that players can't afford to get too sensitive regarding criticism, neither can this forum assume that it was just people here Dan was referring to. I don't know if there are specific incidents he had in mind, or where he heard them from, but my view would be he spoke from a general backdrop of negativity that the Laois result lifted, temporarily at least. I think it no harm in the midst of these discussions that the players' perspective be brought to the forefront.
There's just one thing I'd like to query on your written response- the distinction you made between Dan referring to players as opposed to mentioning management- I'm assuming that players tend to say players as opposed to players and management, so again, i'd imagine he was speaking broadly there.
Also, coming from the perspective of coaching underage, the whole nature of verbal abuse from sidelines and stands would be a whole different discussion.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Lone Shark » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:42 pm

substandard wrote:The joys of flexible dinner times- just bet me to posting the link, Lone Shark!!
A very thorough and well thought out response, but I'm not sure if Dan was referring specifically to uibhfhaili.com with what he was saying, and either side of this discussion could come down to semantics on either side. In terms of stuff written, I've seen strings of comments where some nasty stuff was written on twitter and facebook, and I'd imagine that, with confidence at a low ebb, reading or being told comments that '(You're) shit' or that you shouldn't be there, and so on, is bound to get to players. What I like about this forum is, as you have correctly pointed out, is that the vast majority of posts are generally balanced- but in the same way that players can't afford to get too sensitive regarding criticism, neither can this forum assume that it was just people here Dan was referring to. I don't know if there are specific incidents he had in mind, or where he heard them from, but my view would be he spoke from a general backdrop of negativity that the Laois result lifted, temporarily at least. I think it no harm in the midst of these discussions that the players' perspective be brought to the forefront.
There's just one thing I'd like to query on your written response- the distinction you made between Dan referring to players as opposed to mentioning management- I'm assuming that players tend to say players as opposed to players and management, so again, i'd imagine he was speaking broadly there.
Also, coming from the perspective of coaching underage, the whole nature of verbal abuse from sidelines and stands would be a whole different discussion.


One tricky aspect when it came to addressing this is that Dan was speaking while coming out of the white heat of match battle so he obviously hadn't had time to really think about what he wanted to say, and we're also working off a 45 second clip which doesn't really give much scope for analysis of the nuances within his views, or if there are particular channels where he feels there are problems. I was hoping that he or another player would be on air to calmly go through the real issues that are bugging the squad, since in the case of the hurlers in particular, I know that this is a real bugbear with them. One player called me up at the start of the year to talk about it and we had a decent conversation, but ultimately it was hard to come up with any plan of action since there's nothing you can do about one off comments that are clearly uninformed, and he also agreed that there's nothing that goes on here that wouldn't go on in a pub or anywhere else.

So ultimately, I was arguing blind to a certain extent because I don't know if his issue is this forum or twitter/facebook/hoganstand wherever, but I could only defend this arena, and similarly, he referred to abuse of players, so I had to take that at face value, even though he may have wished to clarify it differently if he had time and the opportunity.

With regard to underage, there's an unwritten rule in print that until players are over 18, you don't criticise them, even with regard to what happened on the field. Of course there are times you have to mention the negative (players that commit a foul for a crucial penalty, players sent off etc) but you do your best not to, and in truth, if more people applied that rule on the sideline and in the terraces as well, we'd be far better off.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Bord na Mona man » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:50 pm

Dan Currams is right to want people to get behind the players who have committed to the county. Personally I find the debates about who isn't on the panel to be counterproductive and unfair to the players on it.

Aside from that I don't see how any of this could be seen as slanderous. Unhelpful - yes, but slanderous - no.
I never feels its wise to ask a sportsman to make a statement moments after he has come off a field after emptying the tank. They're out of breath and emotions are high. In Currams's case, he mentioned that he hadn't even seen the comments, so it's possible to guess that the whole thing has grown legs with each person who recounts it.

However, Offaly are right to try and turn it into negative feeling from the public into a motivational tool. This is a yarn that Richie Sadlier told about his old manager Mark McGhee:

"Mark McGhee would often tell us before games that our opponents had spent the week saying disparaging things about us in their local press. They were very confident, he said, dismissive of our abilities, and already focusing on other more important games than this one.

What he failed to appreciate was that we had all seen his contribution on a television programme about motivating players where he revealed he would often make up stories like that to try to rile us. It pretty much cancelled out any impact from what he said to us after that."


We'd all be happy for Brian Whelahan to burst into the dressing room and tell his players they'd been called all sorts of names on forums if it helped Offaly get better results! :mrgreen:
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby kingscounty » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:19 pm

We were very used to winning Leinsters and All Irelands in the whole of the 90s and we never had an outlet like this to discuss the good times . We never won anything as a county in a long time and when this happens there is always going to be people looking for answers as to whats going right and wrong and the blame game starts from the players , manager , county board and the supporters . Best of luck to the lads against Wexford if they give the same effort and a bit more from last Saturday night we can get over the line .
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby SearingDrive » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:12 pm

I hope the good form continues on Sunday v Wexford, we should all get behind Brian Whelehan and the players for that game, a win will go a long way towards easing relegation worries.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Kevin » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:24 pm

SearingDrive wrote:I hope the good form continues on Sunday v Wexford, we should all get behind Brian Whelehan and the players for that game, a win will go a long way towards easing relegation worries.


Agree.

This is a group of very well matched teams. Nobody is safe. Depending on results in the last few games will make for anxious times. Hopefully another good effort will get us some points.

That said, Wexford has been coming on over the last few years and will be tough to beat. Looking forward to listening in on 103.
Kevin Clancey. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Lone Shark » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:53 pm

And, a bit later than I planned, time to discuss what really matters - the hurling.

First and foremost, that was excellent. A few people above have made the point that this was about Offaly "spooking" Laois, but I actually don't think that's a fair synopsis as it implies that Laois underperformed, when the complete opposite was the case. Laois put in an excellent performance, they scored some magnificent points and yet we were able to match them score for score and ultimately edge the game on account of Shane Dooley's close range freetaking as opposed to that of Zane Keenan. It was definitely the best performance an Offaly team has produced during Brian Whelahan's tenure and it fully merited the two points and all the praise that followed.

At the risk of appearing a little bit lazy, I'm going to go with a pros and cons approach, since there are plenty of the former and a few of the latter.

(1) This was an eye-opening performance from Colin Egan for me. I've always had immense time for him and he'd be one of the first names on my teamsheet every time, but that would invariably be in the half forward line. However over the course of the last few years he has done two things - he has sharpened up his strike to the point that he very rarely gets hooked or blocked any more, and that used to be commonplace, while he also has turned into a very good two sided hurler having been quite the opposite in his youth. He's done all this while retaining the power and aerial ability, and while he will have much tougher tests than Willie Hyland over the next while - Hyland is a nice hurler and a good scorer but he's not as imposing as some of the other centre forwards out there - he's certainly shown enough improvement here to suggest that he could fill what has been a very problematic spot since the absence through injury of his club colleague. At a time when it's almost the done thing to put your best hurler at centre back regardless of his ideal position, Colin makes sense as a six in that he's probably the best player we have that isn't an out and out scoring forward.

(2) Out of the relative newbies, most can be extremely happy with how they performed. I will say that I thought the management could have gone to the subs bench a bit earlier as a few of them seemed to tire, while I don't think it's an insult to any modern intercounty player to say that a fresh man coming off the bench should be an improvement after 50 or 55 minutes of play, if it's the case that there wasn't a lot in between them originally. Nonetheless Paddy Murphy took his two points and set up a couple more, Shane Kinsella scored well and has to take huge credit for the fact that Matthew Whelan (an excellent player in his own right) was way off the pace, and Dermot Shortt was quietly effective and in control when marking his own man at the edge of the square. He ended up as the free man on a couple of occasions, whether by accident or design I'm not sure, but he didn't look as comfortable in that role. However as a pure marking full back, he did his job and did it well. The two lads on the corners either side of him had good moments and not so good (Stephen Egan's poor position and his decision to jump for the second penalty was very poor, otherwise he had a good outing) but overall you'd have to be delighted with the standard of the less established players.

(3) Breaks, breaks, breaks. Our boys devoured them, for the first three quarters of the tie at any rate, and it was utterly pivotal. Seamus Plunkett after the game highlighted how Laois couldn't play their own game because they didn't have the ball, and our lads' attitude was central to this. I will sound a note of caution here that this isn't worth jack schyte if this attitude isn't replicated every time, but taking Saturday night in isolation I thought players like Seán Ryan, Paddy Murphy, Pat Camon and of course Colin were fantastic.

(4) Shane Dooley scored 1-14, four excellent points from play and a goal that made all the difference. By my count he shot just one of our fifteen wides - that was a tour de force by any measure, and I was very happy to make one of the easiest man of the match decisions I've ever made on a few of my reports. Bergin didn't score as much but his sliced point from under the stand was majestic, a joy to watch. However just as admirable, perhaps even more so, was the way they and Quirke fought like dogs for every ball that went in there. I remember one instance in the second half in particular when a forced clearance was hit into the right corner and it was Dooley and Bergin against four Laois backs, and they made complete pests of themselves and only lost possession when another forward (Murphy I think) came rushing in with a rash tackle to concede a free. Last year when we played Laois in OCP our forwards were outnumbered and a huge number of the balls that were cleared were just batted straight back down the field with no fuss. This year our lads collected every good ball, won a few of the bad ones and every time seemed to at the very least slow up the clearance. If you ask me what was the single most pleasing aspect of the win, I'd probably say this was it.


There were negatives too, and they can't be forgotten either.

(1) We conceded four goal chances here, and while three good saves (Dempsey x2, Egan) and one outstanding hook (Camon) kept the net intact, we won't always be so fortunate. On the other side, Dan Currams had a chance when running towards goal in the first half and he nearly got it on the second attempt, while then there was the free, which took a touch on the way in so could very easily have been saved. We mightn't always be so lucky as to win the goal count when that's how the chances fall.

(2) I know there is naturally a reluctance to change a team that's going well, but as I've touched on above, unless there's a gulf in ability between two players, there's no way that a man who's hurled his heart out for the guts of an hour should be a better option than a fresh man for the last ten/fifteen minutes. By all means you leave on the guys who were flying, but there were three or four lads out there who looked to me as if the tank was empty on the hour mark. Not using five subs is understandable if you're a junior club team and player nineteen is forty two years of age and eighteen stone. Only using your second in the 65th minute of a closely fought intercounty game is not natural to my mind. The average nowadays would be to have three replacements made by the 55th minute.

(3) I don't know that we used the extra man as well as all that. Yeah, the sweeper picked up a few balls, but Laois still did some of their best hurling immediately after the red card. It's hard not to wonder if that scenario was really practiced as well as it should have been.



Overall however, it was a great start to the league and already I'm really looking forward to Sunday in Tullamore. I would have said last week that we would have had little or no chance against Wexford, but if we can repeat that performance (and I pray we can, I really don't want to go to OCP and get another lesson in how we need to be insulted and written off to get motivated) then we won't be far away. This could be a very enjoyable season after all. :D
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby greenairfield » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:17 pm

Just a quick one lone shark on your post...you make some great points but you would be first to find a hole in someone else's post so I have a found one in yours.
While Colin Egan had a steady game at centre back your remark of him now beem a two sided hurler couldn't be any further from the truth.It was pointed out to me last year he can actually only hit the ball of one side and I noticed this during the match saturday evening so maybe you don't pay as much attention as you let on to do.For me he's a half forward and when the ground drys up he could struggle there.I thought it was a great performance and I also think we might overturn Wexford.Best of luck Sunday.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Lone Shark » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:58 pm

Didn't realise I let on as if I was a particularly avid student of the game any more than other supporter, but nonetheless, for me it's an area of his game where he appears to have made huge improvements over the last couple of seasons. Of course I'm not watching him training or anything and I would presume and hope that there would be video analysis of things like this that would give a more accurate picture, but I picked out a couple of well directed clearances off his weak side last Saturday and it wouldn't be the first time I'd have seen that.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Offalys Future » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:09 pm

It really shows where Offaly hurling is at when a league result against Laois is lauded by so many. Including management.
Offaly hurling is in a really bad place at the moment and the result last weekend only papers over the cracks.

Until a time comes when correct structures, strategic plans and the right people implementing them are put in place at all levels Offaly hurling will continue to decline.
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Re: Leix v Offaly, NHL, Saturday February 14th 2015

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:47 pm

Yes, it does show where Offaly hurling is at, etc. I'm quite sure no-one is under any illusions about this, and there is a possibility that last Saturday night could be the highlight of the year. But in this seemingly never-ending era of no hope, any moment of positivity is to be welcomed, even for just a day or two.
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