A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

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A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:01 pm

On Saturday, I think the worst thing Laois could do would be to hurl 2014’s match against Galway all over again. Just those final, fateful minutes. Because 2014 is gone. New year; new match. Old acquaintance forgot. On Saturday Laois will face an opposition in a far better psychological state than last year. And the extra match, one-sided as it was, will do wonders for Galway.

Having said that, the Dublin that Galway demolished a fortnight ago in Tullamore was a shadow of themselves. Cathal Mannion scored two goals from the angle of the ‘D’ and the 21. There is no way a lad should be attempting goals from out there, and that he scored them is an indictment of Alan Nolan and by extension, of Ger Cunningham, who had Gary Maguire wearing the no 16. Nor should a puck-out be allowed hop on the 21 for a forward to flick to the net.

Nor is Cyril Donnellan the ball-winning dominant centre half-forward shadow of Richie Power that he was in Tullamore, nor is Íarla Tannian the swashbuckling centre half-back he appeared to be in Tullamore. That said, the Ardrahan man played a beauty of a ball into space for Joe Canning to run onto, turn his man and score the Connacht side’s fourth goal.

What was refreshing about Galway is that they played a direct brand of hurling, something they haven’t done since, oh, some year BC (before Cyril (Farrell)). And Galway are scoring goals, which is more than can be said for Laois. Yes, Laois created almost 50 scoring chances, but one goal chance (the one saved by James Dempsey at the near end) was a poor ratio.

Waterford (and indeed anyone who plays with five (or fewer) forwards) do suffer from a dearth of goals. So did Cork of Ben, Jerry and Tom Kenny. It was noticeable last night that Waterford, when on their opponents’ 45 and going forward, put the ball on the hurl and went for goal. With better support of the ball-carrier, they will likely create overlaps and open defences up. Then again, Laois are a bit different, with more aerial strength on the forwards but without Waterford’s pace.

So. How far can Laois go? That’s up to themselves, and they really are on a roll now. And Waterford can be a yardstick for them. Not dissimiliar styles, both running up big scores, both running up a big wides tally. Both blue and white. Laois are absolutely comfortable with their game plan and with themselves. Cahir Healy told a lovely story on Newstalk of the team climbing the hill around Borris in Ossory or Kilcotton and each hurler asked their version of what it means to hurl for Laois. And the ‘Laois Hurling Country’ signs around Borris in Ossory and Mountrath lend to the sense that something is stirring.

The extra defender should cut out the space which the Galway forwards will require to function. And with big-hitting goalkeepers at each end, there could be much crowding. Certainly, Eoin Reilly’s long puckouts were counter-productive in the first half against Offaly, and Laois only began to prosper when Offaly stopped crossing the Laois end line and James Dempsey was forced to repeatedly puck out for a spell.

On the subject of puckouts, a fortnight ago Laois faced a team who were clueless regarding how to utilise a spare man in defence and who were unable to correctly execute a short puckout. Laois will also face a team who will have taken time to study their opposition – Brian Whelahan was open in his admission that his focus was entirely on his own team and not on their opposition. Whatever questions there are about the Galway defence, and whatever the marking arrangements, Johnny Coen will be the floating defender – a position he performs best in. For that reason, both need to be smarter with their puckouts, and it's quite possible that more scores will originate from swift counter-attacks rather than lengthy puckouts.

Laois will keep Coen moving though, and they pass – pass – pass out of defence before finding a half-forward wide on the touchline – the source of many of their second-half scores against Offaly and the reason such a high proportion of their scores came from Hyland, Keenan and Dwyer.

I expect a high scoring game. Laois will need at least two goals if they are to win, but they just don’t create goalscoring opportunities. Galway don’t exactly shoot the lights out when it comes to goals, but they are more likely to score a few. The usual parameters for a shock result will come into play (Laois can’t go too far ahead lest they awaken the favourite and would be unable to arrest a change in trend, nor can they fall more than a few points behind which would blow their belief, and they need to finish stronger). Galway to advance, something like 3-22 to 0-24 or thereabouts.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby bracknaghboy » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:36 pm

Where are Laois really at? Is the Offaly game a true reflection? Is the poor league form and stumble through the round robin a true reflection. Are they somewhere in between? Interesting game ahead for many reasons. Big ask for Laois to be able to lift it again but would be great if they did. Laois Wexford final is what is needed!
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby manfromdelmonte » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:04 pm

Galway will murder them

I was at Laois v Westmeath and Laois were terrible until the last 15 minutes when Westmeath stopped playing.
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby kingscounty » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:33 pm

Best of luck to Laois , they need to forget the Offaly result as they beat a poorly prepared and organised team . Laois are found of shooting from distance and can take some great scores but I would like to see them go for goal a bit more as they will need 2-3 goals along with 18-20 points if they are to challenge this Galway outfit. The Laois full back is small in height and if Canning or Glynn are full forward it will be hard to contain either under the high ball. Galway had 8 yellow cards the last day which shows the level of pysicality they brought the second day against Dublin. I'd love to see a Laois win but after the last day out its hard to see anything other than a Galway win , by 6-7 points.
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Phoenix » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:36 pm

Best of luck to Laois!
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby allstar2010 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:57 pm

Could have sworn this was uibhfhaili.com forum :D
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby townman » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:44 pm

manfromdelmonte wrote:Galway will murder them

I was at Laois v Westmeath and Laois were terrible until the last 15 minutes when Westmeath stopped playing.



have to agree they did after all lose to Antrim, beat Carlow by 2 westmeath 3 points, a poor offaly side and let it be knowing a very poor offaly team with no fight in them were 4 points up on laois at one stage. the two games will bring Galway on they are due a good year after 2012, if they get a good start it could get messed for laois
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Exiled in Connacht » Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:59 pm

Hope Laois put it up to Galway (even for our sake !).

You just never know with Galway. As we all know on countless occasions since 1988 Galway have flattered to deceive.

Could be a Laois v Wexford Leinster final.

I think I need to change my meds !!
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby biffinbanner » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:39 pm

slaughter of the innocents sadly for us...
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby allstar2010 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:37 pm

No surprise really, Laois are a poor side. Very easy to look good and score 0-29 when no pressure is applied to lads taking shots from 50+ metres outs.
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Bord na Mona man » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:49 pm

Begs the question of how different could a rematch against Leix pan out if Offaly put a different tactical system in place and maybe different personnel around the middle of the park?

Obviously Leix were never going the same space for free shots they enjoyed against us, but their implosion today was quite severe.
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Slieve Bloom Man » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:38 am

Yeah not a great day for hurling, Leinster hurling, Laois hurling or indeed Offaly hurling as it shows how far off the pace we really are at the moment. Over the years I'm constantly trying to defend Leinster hurling against Munster hurling but being realistic there is a big difference in the two provinces. That said - over the last 10 years Kilkenny were miles ahead most of them too. The 5 counties in the Munster championship are competitive. If Kerry were in Munster they would be getting hammered - yet they'll probably be reasonably competitive in Leinster's round robin next year. Realistically Leinster has only 3 competitive teams at present - Kilkenny, Galway (an inconsitent Connacht team) and Dublin(another inconsistent team.) Now maybe and hopefully Wexford will prove me wrong against Kilkenny (altho I'm no Liam Dunne fan either to say the least.) I think Wexford could be a good bit off the mark tomorrow.

For Laois v Galway, it was an interesting first 17 minutes. Galway with the breeze only lead by 3 pts to 2pts and they were playing into Laois hands with their style of play. Next thing a poxy goal and the game changes. Galway go on a scoring spree and Laois heads drop. Would this have happened without that goal? Probably but not saying that with certainty. When a goal like that goes in obviously Gal go from being frustrated to everyone getting a lift with a shot of adrenaline. Laois on the other hand - drop heads especially conceding such a soft goal and start to question themselves. All that said - Galway's touch and interplay was miles ahead of Laois from then to the end of the match. Physically Gal were also much stronger in the tackle. It really was very one sided.

Laois have improved over the last 3 years - in fact for this evening they would have been better off had they not played Galway the last 2 years. Even after progress made Laois are still a long way off the top table. It must be difficult for players to give so much time and still have no chance of winning trophies. They need their minor team to win tomorrow.

Where does leave Offaly? Not in a good place to say the least - we were worse than Laois by a good bit the last day. They seem to have better underage players coming through. We seem to be really in free fall. I was frustrated under Joe Dooley's and Ollie Baker's regimes but at least we were reasonably competitive against the bigger counties during those years. Now we are canon fodder for them. I do believe we could be more competitive with a better management team but we definitely need a better underage structure for any hope for the future. I feel sorry for Brian Whelahan and hate to see him tarnish his name but that's what he is doing. It was a crazy appointment - like Emmet McDonnell applying for the minor job and being handed the senior one. I really hope Brian does the right thing and steps down after the qualifiers but my fear is that he won't.

As an Offaly supporter - what do I hope for in the qualifiers? A tough draw away to Clare and end the nightmare quickly or the hope that Offaly do well and pull off a big once off performance. I will go for the latter but would Whelahan look to keep the job on the back of one decent championship performance??
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:06 am

There was much more to that than the scoreline.

It’s refreshing to see Galway playing direct hurling, but they made a hames of things for the first 15 minutes playing balls into Leix’s spare defenders. But Leix couldn’t match Galway’s physicality and couldn’t break any of Galway’s tackles. As a result they were turned over far too easily and far too frequently in the tackle, which was the source of most of Galway’s scoring chances.

The goal lifted a weight from Galway and they were a different team thereafter. And a ball should never have been allowed hop on the 5 metre line like it did; even without extra defenders. No-one took responsibility.

But partly because Leix stopped hurling. Despite having a couple of extra defenders, Galway often had options, and spare men in the attack. So, someone wasn’t doing their job. Leix stopped working and they stopped contesting their own puckout – often a player (with the puckout dropping two yards away) refused to budge, seemingly opting to leave it to someone who simply wasn’t there. And they rarely adequately supported the man in possession, which led to turnovers. That was disappointing.

Leix did play as a team in the second half, but it was too late. Though Reilly’s long puckouts never allowed his side develop the game.

Cynics will say Leix aren’t hurlers, that doing S&C is a waste of time, that playing ball is a waste of time. More will say the hype got to them.

Bunkum.

Leix hurling needed the hype of the last fortnight if it is to develop. Possibly the best thing to come out of Leix since their win over Offaly was Friday’s colours day in the schools. Some of the photographs placed online were quite phenomenal. Now Leix have 10 year olds who aspire to inclusion on the Setanta programme. Who aspire to be Laois hurlers. Three years ago Leix hurling was a toxic brand. Not any more

Currently, who aspires to be on an Offaly underage setup? To do ground hurling drills they can do with the club anyway (while their Leix equivalents do zonal defence routines the same as the Seniors do)? Where there is no plan and they don’t know what they’ll be doing next week? Where the management might decide to hijack the bus and leave them walk home?

Certain Offaly supporters who might be that way inclined have nothing to sneer about. Leix ran into a juggernaut this evening, but I get the impression that Leix’ graph continues to rise. Croke Park won’t help them, so Séamus Plunkett, Pat Critchley, Niall Rigney and Jack Nolan will have to keep at it. Good luck to them.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby fifitrixiebelle » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:28 am

townman wrote:Paudie Bulter has a chip on his shoulders going back to his time over laois, remember the night in tullamore when the game was put back as the laois crowd could get in :lol: were all gone at half time and that night Sid and Rory Hanniffy didn't hurl, it was also the year a few weeks before that laois beat offaly in Birr in the league Paudie was crowing for weeks after it, and said he would enjoy the bottle of wine that Antrim sent down to him as laois win in that league game kept Antrim up.

that hammering of laois that saturday night and the look on paudies face was one of the best wins i ever had the joy to watch, he seems to be cutting at offaly at every chance and the way we go about things, and how far we are gone behind laois, i wonder what he thought about the result in portlaoise a few weeks back :roll:


wonder what he taut bout the latest result v leix townman??? id say hes cracking his hole about it! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: A few thoughts on Galway v Laois

Postby Turenne » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:49 am

There really wasn't anymore to it than the scoreline. Laois came up against a quality, motiviated team that actually tried from the very first minute to win the game, and the result was Laois getting hurled off the pitch. Hard to ambush a team when they are expecting it, and its doubly hard to ambush a team when your hurler's skills aren't as good as theirs.

Moreover the packed defence only works when you have fast midfielders that can break effectively at pace, which Waterford, Kilkenny etc have. Laois most certainly don't have players on that level either pace or skill wise.
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