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


Postby Truth as i see it » Thu May 07, 2015 2:15 pm

Getting back to the game for a second, even though they lost out by a point i would be very positive about this years batch, its only a few years ago when we met Kildare around this stage at minor level and they beat us by a good six or seven points so obviously the gap has closed and the standard of coaching has risen within the county given that the team gave Dublin a run for their Money this year as well, if you couple this years performances with the increased Fitness levels that will come from the younger age groups in the next few years plus the Center of Excellence that is being built out in Kilcormac, i think there's a lot to be optimistic about from an underage perspective moving forward
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Postby Lone Shark » Thu May 07, 2015 4:07 pm

I think there’s two separate strands to the discussion here, which is the game and then what happened after it. As for the latter, it wasn’t good, and certainly I’d have no tolerance whatsoever when supporters get involved. Players fighting is bad enough, and that’s never good, but once supporters take the decision to cross the white line, you’re always going to have an ugly situation.

I was in the press box and I’d be lying if I said I had a clear view of anything, though it was clear that there was a conscious effort by a group of the Kildare subs to go after Shane Tierney at the final whistle, for whatever reason. I didn't see a clear strike on him, but it was undoubtedly a step beyond goading and taunting, which would have been bad enough in its own right. Outside of that though, it’s hard to say what happened other than there were a lot of scuffles breaking out, with players and supporters fighting each other in spots - which was very hard to watch. I'd say video evidence will be needed to sort it out, so it's down to whether Leinster Council gets their hands on anything. You'd imagine that Kildare's footage will disappear now, or will be mysteriously cut off right at the final whistle, so it's a case of whether Offaly have anything and whether they'd be amenable to complying with a Leinster council request.

One thing is for sure though - with Kildare playing Laois in the next round, I'd imagine Leinster Council will make a big push for this. The Laois/Longford influence on Leinster Council is very powerful and they're not shy about using it to their own advantage, as the Offaly U21s found out when playing a "home" game in Portlaoise with Gracefield lying idle, all while Longford happily hosted Westmeath in Newtowncashel. If they can suspend two or three Kildare lads, I imagine they will.

As for the match, I would say that if the two sides met again, Offaly would have a great chance - but I'd stop short of saying we were the better team. Part of football is taking your chances, and we didn't do it. On another night we might have had three goals or more, but the point is that we didn't. We conceded a huge share of the primary possession in the first half, we failed to push on from good positions in the second half and yet again, the management showed no faith in the bench whatsoever. Just on unenforced change over the course of the hour, and I'd have had four or five guys ahead of Gavin Smyth in the queue to replace. Again, that's not saying that these players don't have plenty of potential, but anyone can have a bad night, and as I said after the Westmeath game, minors aren't known for their mental strength in times of adversity. When it's not happening for them, you have to take them off.

Maybe the management feels that they just don't have four or five subs that are good enough - but Kildare used six, and two of their chances kicked the last two points, while another secured a massive turnover on along ball that was kicked into the Offaly full forward line. The programme lists 24 players, and an extended panel list of six more. If management have no faith in these guys, why are they there?

Overall, a good showing, and while it's hard to be eliminated this side of the Leaving Cert, they've played three good games and will benefit from it. These lads have plenty of potential, it's up to them to deliver on it now by driving on and playing well at college and under-21.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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