Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby Lone Shark » Sun May 17, 2015 8:39 am

At 0-12 to 0-5 up, if you'd given me 20/1 about a Longford win I wouldn't have taken it. Our lads were playing great football, using the ball with purpose and pace, and their style of link play was rendering the wind redundant. They looked fitter and stronger than Longford, and there must have been an element of "here we go again" in the Longford camp after the league final. Then two scrubbishy soft frees broke Longford's 24 minute drought, and the tie changed utterly as Offaly reverted to holding on to a lead, rather than trying to push on and win the game.

There's no question but that they didn't get any luck, as Paul McConway's injury was crucial (for all the talk of Brian Kavanagh's influence, McConway was doing quite well on him, even when surrounded by loads of space) while Niall Smith's black card was also incredibly harsh. I've been a critic of Smith in the past but this year he's been exemplary, putting in great tackles, covering ground and adding some excellent scrapping for breaks to the fielding ability that he always had. Conor McNamee didn't really put a foot wrong when he came in, yet in the second half when the kickouts were hanging in the air and we were struggling to get the ball past midfield, it's hard not to wonder how different things might have been if Smith was there to stand under one of Alan Mulhall's restarts.

Maybe I'm wrong, but my view of the black card was that he went in trying to put a tackle in on a Longford player coming out with the ball from the 13m line, and another Longford defender ran across his path trying to cause "interference". It could have been a free in for third man tackle just as easy, but because Smith was far stronger than the guy he ran into, he put him down and it looked like an off the ball foul.

In contrast, Michael Quinn's hit on Anton Sullivan was far more deliberate, and yet he got a yellow card and went on to have a massive influence on the game in the closing stages.

That said, such excuses don't wash when you go back to the basic facts, which are that we led by seven and conceded eleven points while scoring just one in the last 25 minutes, and that one was a free which was one of many that were brought in on the day.

One final point - I've heard from several different sources now about how part of the problem was a lack of respect for Longford, looking ahead to the Dubs, getting carried away with the league final, all that sort of thing. I'm not a psychologist so I can't say anything definitive on this, except that in this, Pat Flanagan was nothing if not consistent. All year long he has spoken about the gargantuan task that was restoring belief to this group of players, whose confidence was on the floor. That worked throughout the league, so he can hardly be criticised for now following the same approach in the championship.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby Bord na Mona man » Sun May 17, 2015 8:46 am

Just to keep some perspective on it. Offaly had a decent league campaign with the high point being an impressive win over Wicklow in Aughrim (a hard place to get out of ™). In some of the others game they squeaked through a little - the Carlow and Leitrim ones. The Div 4 final where Offaly cut loose after Longford dropped the intensity may have lead to excessive expectations. Most teams in the country can play decent football when they're let. I noted at the time that Longford allowed us to play, so this isn't retrospective analysis.

The real pity is that Offaly didn't hold onto a winnable lead in the 2nd half. This happened in the Leitrim game too though, where Offaly gave them a few handy scores to allow them build up the momentum for a comeback. Once you've got them chasing you, it's hard to lift the tempo again. It's a painful lesson, but Offaly might be all the better for it. As most people noted beforehand, Longford are no mugs and what they had over us was 5 or 6 years experience in taking scalps in the championship. Offaly are only starting down the road of rebuilding and redemption and hopefully the qualifiers offer us a chance to atone for yesterday.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby Bord na Mona man » Sun May 17, 2015 10:38 am

Lone Shark wrote:One final point - I've heard from several different sources now about how part of the problem was a lack of respect for Longford, looking ahead to the Dubs, getting carried away with the league final, all that sort of thing. I'm not a psychologist so I can't say anything definitive on this, except that in this, Pat Flanagan was nothing if not consistent. All year long he has spoken about the gargantuan task that was restoring belief to this group of players, whose confidence was on the floor. That worked throughout the league, so he can hardly be criticised for now following the same approach in the championship.


Flanagan took a risk in some ways, because no matter how you phrase it, people will hear it the way they want to. The wags, trolls and fishwives will have you believe that Flanagan did the equivalent of cancelling 2 training sessions in order to make his point and the county spent the last 3 weeks trying to crowbar Dublin out of Croke Park. He made a quip, as he has done before and it got a bit of coverage and debate. Jack Sheedy said as much, but maybe with his Dublin background kept it low key not to alienate himself on home ground.

At 12 points to 5, none of this would have been deemed relevant though...

https://twitter.com/Markgoonerdub/statu ... 1552697344

https://twitter.com/Hill16Army/status/5 ... 0142204928

https://twitter.com/seangarvan/status/5 ... 6872508416

https://twitter.com/miremaura/status/599674546304737280
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby veteran2 » Sun May 17, 2015 11:01 am

League is league and championchip is another beast altogether.still i believed going offaly would win and with 15 left and 12 to 5 up the should have closed the game out. Maloney and o connor attacked well to get us into this position but in the last 15 we should have put a sweeper in front of kavanagh as he was there go to man.
we just had to box clever here and we didnt .I believe flanagan is on the right road with this team but he needs time .I havnt missed an offaly championchip match in 30 years and i will be there for the next day so i hope all involved will give it there all to the end .
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby biffinbanner » Sun May 17, 2015 12:21 pm

i think its fair to say the ref brought longford back into it with them two soft frees.though offaly should have been mature enough to react better than they did..trip to croker postponed til at least 2016 by the looks of it sadly..
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby SearingDrive » Sun May 17, 2015 12:37 pm

biffinbanner wrote:i think its fair to say the ref brought longford back into it with them two soft frees.though offaly should have been mature enough to react better than they did..trip to croker postponed til at least 2016 by the looks of it sadly..

They were stupid frees, as they brought Longford back in to the game, when they looked out of it. McConway going off let Kavanagh come into the game.
A 7 point lead should not have been surrendered.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby first_touch » Sun May 17, 2015 1:14 pm

Offaly players will be gutted after that result. It was almost as if, when seven points up, they could see Dublin on the horizon and baulked at the prospect. They were in complete control and had Longford reduced to taking a couple of hopeless long range potshots. Some terrible shot selections from Offaly forwards and the awarding of a couple of soft frees to Longford changed the momentum of the game.

Added to that we were cleaned out in midfield in the last quarter. Similar to last year in Pearse Park we failed to win any breaking ball. The ridiculous sending off of Niall Smith was a huge blow. While the referee yesterday was not the sole cause of Offaly's defeat his decisions certainly contributed. It raises the question about the terrible standard of intercounty refereeing. We saw it all through the league - baffling decisions, sending of players off for little or nothing. In my view it is beginning to reach crisis proportions.

It will take a huge effort from Pat Flanagan to lift his players. But they can take heart from their achievements in winning the Division 4 title and in recovering from a very poor start yesterday to build a seven-point lead. During that period of they game the played some very good football and took some excellent scores. Yesterday was a huge learning curve and, in that sense, Offaly could turn it to their advantage. I don't think a mauling by Dublin would do anyone any good. So the qualifiers might just offer the opportunity to put the lessons from yesterday into practice and develop the team that bit further.

One thing that concerns me, however, is that at this point in time we do not seem to possess strength in depth. This is another thing that will have to be worked on 'going forward'.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby hopper82 » Sun May 17, 2015 2:04 pm

Tough pill to swallow but fair play to Longford I wish them the very best in dublin.

A good few blaming pat for getting carried away but I don't agree he was speaking out for the greater good of the players and few could argue including the dublin support it would be good to see them out of croke park.

Regarding the game itself Longford were very very clever in closing out the game kavanagh won 3 very soft frees any contact atall and he hit the ground and the ref blew , we can have no complaints as anton was doing the same for us throughout the diffrence been kavanagh was winning the frees in scorable positionas and at pivotal moments, to be honest I taught the ref was very poor on both sides , smiths black card baffled me and everyone arround me including the longford contingent.

Whats next ? I think the whole county is hurt the players more than anyone , I hope to god they put in a bit of graf as the owe it to them selves not to throw away the work they have put in.

There is f**all expatation around and thats not a bad thing go out and play and show everyone were not that bad.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby bare biffo » Sun May 17, 2015 2:13 pm

Disappointment put aside any judgement on progress compared to last year or two years ago when we also had promotion has to be suspended until the next game. For long stretches last night Offaly looked comfortably the better team. Bad luck (McConway) bad refereeing (Smyth and Sullivan) and maybe tactical failures in the last quarter conspired against us. I think one area that needs to improve to make progress is to get a greater scoring return from our wing forwards. 2 or 3 points from those positions could have made all the difference last night. But neither Eoin nor Antkn are posing any problems in this regard. Both in Pearse Pk and last night Longford took some great scores from these positions. Dublin have Connolly and Flynn excellent ball winners work their socks off but are also great score takers. Not many teams are that lucky but some scoring threat is needed.
I heard on the radio travelling home last night that Pat Flanagan has said preparatio for the 2016 leinster championship starts now. I hope that means they take the qualifiers very seriously and at least mentally win back some of the progress that was made in the league.
Keep it going.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby townman » Sun May 17, 2015 6:52 pm

i think Pat will have to take some of the blame on this one there was one if not two players should have been took off last night and weren't . Niall Mac is a wonderfull skilfull footballer but 3 or 4 times last night he just stood after he lost the ball and let his man run down the field and never ran with him, if you watch the Dublins and kerrys their top players put in a shift all over the field . to lose a 7 point lead and longford didnt score a goal it was hard to watch, wonder why Eoin Rigney didn't get the call before Ledwith ? young Jamie Evans was worth the last 15 minutes instead of putting Guilfoyle corner foward.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby Hyper » Sun May 17, 2015 7:20 pm

Townman, Ledwith did a good job on Kavanagh when introduced after Conway's dismisal in Pearse Park. Young Evans was carrying an injury - quad and is possibly out of Gracefields next game
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby Muck Savage » Sun May 17, 2015 11:01 pm

I don't comment on here very much for various reasons but decided to tonight.

I came back from the US on Friday night for the game and will head back to SF tomorrow, because I had a lot of hope for this team like everyone else. The team looked fit, interested and organized for the first time in a large number of years. That was a tough evening to play football, windy and cold with a lot of expectations. After a rocky start it was clear that Longford were trying to put their Physical advantage to the fore in the first 10 mins. The black card was very harsh and like LS said could have been a free in if Smith wasn't so much bigger than the Longford lad. It's funny that the Black card actually got Offaly to play much better and form there to HT they dominated. After they got the first few scores in the 2nd half it appeared that the took the foot off the pedal and didn't go for the kill. Not sure if this is down to where the team is in terms of development but the should have killed the game off there with a few more scores, they began to take very low percentage shots against the wind. The other alternative would have been to put 12 lads behind the ball and defend but with the way they were playing that would have been a strange move.
The longer you leave a tea hanging around the longer that purple patch that every team gets will allow them to do harm, and I guess thats what happened. Looking at the two teams Offaly have a lot more potential in the future, theres a lot more football in them. Yes the lost a 7 pt lead but I think that is down to them not having the experience of killing off a team rather than them collapsing in the last 15 mins.
I really hope they stay at it for the qualifiers and take it serious because they can go a couple or three rounds with a favorable draw and sure then they could surprise a team. They need that for the development of the squad, need more experience. One other thing I was glad to see after the game is that they look very disappointed which I haven't seen for a long time, I think this group care and for that I hope they will give it all for the qualifiers. Based on what I can see from the draw they will play one of losers Clare/Limerick, Winners Waterford/Tipp, Losers Cavan/Monaghan, these are all considered the A group for June 20th qualifiers.

Hopefully the squad take the defeat on the chin and work hard for the next day, I'm certainly planning to be back for it.
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby Hyper » Mon May 18, 2015 12:09 am

Where does one get the make up of the different groups for the qualifiers?
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby fifitrixiebelle » Mon May 18, 2015 1:00 am

ah be de jasus, biffo lads givin out about refs. a bit like a ss man givin out about himmler
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Re: Offaly vs Longford, Leinster SFC, Saturday 16/05/2015

Postby offalyman » Mon May 18, 2015 10:35 am

Unlike other years...when we got beaten.... i normally would'nt care...because i suppose i was expecting us to be bet anyway...but i was sick walking of O Connor park saturday evening, because i seen an Offaly team with loads of Potential and i seen something i them that i havent seen in a good few years in an Offaly team....it was a team that had a bit about them....we were classy looking at times....

Why did we lose so?
In the first 15-20 mins just because we had the wind..we had yto drive the ball in as high and long as we could instead of working scores.like we did for the last 15 mins of te first half..

2nd half we worked the ball so well to a point....there 45 yard line to be exact, and then numerous times we kicked it away instead of keeping it in and and working a score. Possession is key nowadays and you just recycle and recycle till you work a score.


I dont like running down players...because you can see the effort there after putting in but,Niall Mc for such a great footballer,i thought out of the whole team, he was the one that looked off the pace and he can be clueless at times.... kicking balls from the corner flag instead of trying to work a score closer to goal....like we did once when Nigel Dunne fisted a point....but we never did it again...



A very disappointed Offalyman....
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