Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

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

Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Toxicity234 » Thu May 05, 2016 1:12 pm

Sharp Eye wrote:Mickey Harte of Tyrone, who in my opinion is one of the greatest managers of all time, requests his panel to meet on minimal occasions each week. Each panel member has their own development plan. On the occasions that the players actually meet, they are closely monitored in fitness tests etc in order to ensure that they are doing the work. Requesting players from all over the country to travel to Athlone IT during the week for gym sessions is very poor use of players time. Management is not about being a dictator, but about doing what is best for the team.


I didn't lick it off the ground it was a Dublin footballer that gave me the idea. This is how they work training around the players work commitments. The players that can meet up, Do. The players that can't, do it themselves and Skype to do meeting.
My 1st job Tuesday morning was deactivated the security on a computer to let a new workmate a Waterford club football manager set up a skype account so he could do club team meeting on with his players that night as he was working late.
“Common sense is not so common.”
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby sam88885a » Thu May 05, 2016 8:22 pm

tox sound ultra modern managment .
Dont think offaly hurling could handle that , we treat our player like children , tell them to do as their told .
Any word on s ryan he took a big collision on sunday . hope he ok for saturday .. he almost too brave
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Thu May 05, 2016 10:34 pm

I want to acknowledge the post made by alltheway on page 6 of this thread.

And also the jimbob17’s post on page 7 herein.

Excellent work. Intelligent, well thought out, passionate posts without vitriol.


I detect a complete air of denial around the county. The same people who enquire “how long before they’re in the Nicky Rackard?” will follow up with “but they should beat Westmeath /Carlow / Kerry”.
That Offaly has the lowest uptake of level 1 and level 2 courses of any county in Leinster is a big problem. The low level of coaching expertise within the county is a big problem (one problem begats the other).
That most of the officers of the Board are public servants doesn’t help. All decent people who are fully committed but the reaction is to put committees and task forces in place to draft reports which ultimately don’t get acted upon.

That Alan Mulhall hasn’t been replaced is a concern.

If there was a Messiah out there, chances are he’d have stepped forward by now. Because it needs a strong figurehead rather than a committee which would only go off on tangents anyway. That is why the Diarmuid Healy / Martin Fogarty plan could have worked if it had gathered momentum. And until that figurehead steps forward, Offaly hurling is going nowhere.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby jimbob17 » Thu May 05, 2016 11:24 pm

This is well worth a few minutes to listen to. Michael Verney on Newstalk radio on the demise of Offaly hurling

http://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/Off_Th ... _to_Offaly
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Anfearban » Thu May 05, 2016 11:28 pm

Beg, borrow or steal Paudie Butler to head it up. It will take ten years.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Fri May 06, 2016 3:19 am

I just want to pick up on this.

Hurling has become a team game in recent years, as opposed to a game for individuals where yo 'bate' the ball as long and as far as you can and it was up to the next fella to win his own ball, no matter how it came to him. Item: the series of high, lobbing, dropping ball that Kevin Connolly had to deal with last Sunday.

Football involves more thinking, more guarding of possession. Hurling has gone this way in recent years and I think Tullamore, Brosna Gaels, Ballinamere and Shamrocks are better able to adapt to hurling becoming a team game.

The kind of hurling that is not being coached to the youth in Offaly's traditional hurling areas. The kind of hurling Francis Forde is promoting with St Rynagh's but they don't seem to get the hang of it. So an Offaly Senior team travels to face a Division 2A team and is completely bamboozled by an opposing forward line that moves around quite alot and is well able to pick short and medium range passes.

Those of older school persuasion bemoan the loss of spontaneity. But what Westmeath did last Sunday, or what the four dual clubs named above do IS spontaneous. And that nettle needs to be grasped and the penny needs to drop, and any other metaphor you like needs to be utilised in Offaly hurling.

Which is where outside help is needed as the expertise is not currently within the county.
timber wrote:Looking back over last 15 years or so of senior club hurling in the county, I have always been surprised at how competitive some duel clubs have been in games against the teams who only focus on the small ball. I know for a fact that some duel clubs who focus more on football might only have maybe trained once or twice in the two weeks before a championship game and still gone out and either beaten or gone very close to beating a team only focusing on hurling. That should not be possible in a game that is so skill focussed. It either proves that the duel player is very talented or the other hurling focused players are not at a good senior standard.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Fri May 06, 2016 3:34 am

One other point. 'Underage development' is not to be confused with winning Minor and U21 All-Irelands. Due to population constraints Offaly are never going to do that anyway.

'Underage development' means developing hurlers to improve them from club standard to inter-county standard, so they will be able to deal with hurlers who are of intercounty standard from other counties when they encounter them. 'Developing' being the word. Developing skills, but also developing character. And by skills, I don't mean ground hurling drills. Please.

Offaly development squads of the last decade haven't developed hurlers. Because 'grand hurlers' aren't going to cut it against Westmeath, Carlow and Kerry nowadays.

Offaly development squads haven't developed players adequately because the expertise isn't there within the county to do this, either on the ground or at a supervisory level. The county with the least uptake of level 1 and level 2 courses in Leinster.

Some opine that these are not properly resourced. Which I take to mean coaches should be remunerated for their efforts. But is there any point in paying underqualified coaches to carry out inadequate coaching? I think not.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Keiap » Fri May 06, 2016 11:42 am

Don't agree with your first post at all poth,Tullamore have won a county title in recent years and it wasn't done with the running hand pass game,shamrocks and brosna Gael have been nothing but wipping boys in senior hurling..Kilkenny are the best and most consistent team in the land and tipp are second over the years..they don't play this short possession game your on about..they also have individual top class hurlers that the team hurls around..
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Bord na Mona man » Fri May 06, 2016 12:26 pm

Offaly hurling bracing itself for ten more years in the wilderness
Christy O'Connor
'We're not where we are by mistake and nothing is going to change massively until we start doing better at underage,' warns Hanniffy

How bad was Offaly's 14-point defeat to Westmeath last weekend? Bad. It was the county's biggest Championship defeat to Leinster opposition, other than Kilkenny, since losing to Laois by 16 points in 1962.

It was Westmeath's first win against Offaly in 40 years, but how much of a shock was the result? Was it even a shock? Offaly hurling has become immune to shocks and dog days because the county have become indelibly linked with them.

The team's skid off the road and into a Westmeath wall was a metaphor for how much the county have veered off track. The signposts have been everywhere. The misery has been relentless.

In 2014, Offaly just survived relegation to Division 2A when winning a promotion/relegation play-off against Kerry.

Last summer, they lost to Laois in the Championship for the first time in 43 years. In the last five years, Laois have beaten Offaly three times at minor level.

Much of Westmeath's confidence last week stemmed from the same source: many of their young players had regularly beaten Offaly at minor and U-21 level.

Underage results have portrayed a county in deep crisis. Offaly's recent championship wins at minor level against Laois and Westmeath at least bucked a trend that has been ongoing for years.

The minors have reached a first Leinster semi-final since 2010. Their last final appearance in that grade was in 2003. They haven't beaten Kilkenny, Dublin or Wexford at minor since 2005.

Consistent poor harvests at underage have added to the famine and drought at senior level. "We're not where we are by mistake," says former player Rory Hanniffy.

Killing

"Nothing is going to change massively until we start doing better at underage. We're not suddenly going to start winning. The killing thing about that is you're looking at the bones of ten years until that happens."

A generation has been lost in the wilderness years. After Kilkenny hammered them by 31 points in the 2005 Championship, nobody was in doubt about the hard road that lay ahead but successive administrations in Offaly didn't do enough to make that journey any easier. The beatings and the hardship just continued.

Apathy was everywhere. Morale was on the floor. The scale of Offaly's resources had always tempered patience but something had to be done to try to arrest the slide.

In 2014, a hurling forum was held in Birr. Coaching clinics were organised. A committee was formed to try and address the chronic failure.

Programmes for the development of underage hurling were drawn up the problems were so deeply ingrained that Offaly had to try and dig them out by the roots.

After the 26-point hiding from Kilkenny in 2014, Brian Whelehan accepted that huge changes were required. Offaly adopted a far more professional approach last year but the summer was still a write-off.

When Offaly went looking for a new manager afterwards, Hanniffy was part of the committee that appointed Eamonn Kelly.

He is a highly professional, organised, driven character but the committee also wanted to create the logistical and structural apparatus around Kelly to give the squad every chance of success.

There had been a good tie-in with Athlone IT but testing procedures went to a new level under Kelly. Areas of strength and conditioning, GPS tracking, nutrition and diet increased player accountability.

A database is being gradually built up to create an ongoing player profile assessment for future managers and coaches to work off.

Players have all the gear they want. Conor Gleeson is a highly regarded coach.

"It's undoubtedly the most professional set-up that we have had," says Hanniffy. "That's what makes last week's result all the more disappointing for Eamonn."

Trying to develop a new culture is another way of arresting the apathy which has too often infected the county like a virus.

There were times when player indiscipline and poor attitude contaminated their chances of moving forward. The same licence that exists in other counties for culling players over indiscipline wasn't always as freely available in Offaly due to playing resources but the environment for greater self-control has been created now.

Not everyone signed up to the squad this year because they couldn't match the commitment Kelly was looking for. Trying to create a new ethos and way of thinking is often an arduous process.

Progress is not always easily identifiable. Results go wrong. Casualties are everywhere. A handful of players departed the panel during the week.

To move forward, though, the proper culture always has to be the baseline standard.

"In my time, we were never going to win an All-Ireland but you still wanted to hit your potential," says Hanniffy.

"We never really felt like we were. We did have good players but we never felt we got what we should have got out of ourselves. That is nearly more frustrating that coming close and not winning.

"We probably weren't as professional as we should have been. We tried hard but we never seemed to be operating on the same level. We were always playing counties that appeared to be operating at a different grade to us."

Offaly's resources will always be thin but trying to operate on a more level playing field in a preparatory context has been the Faithful County's new starting point.

When €1m funding assistance was pledged for Antrim, Carlow, Laois and Westmeath at GAA Congress in 2014, Offaly were later added to that list.

A new committee was set up by the Leinster Council to supervise that spending - ¤40,000 per annum - in the four Leinster counties involved.

Former GAA president Nickey Brennan and current Kilkenny coach Michael Dempsey are part of that committee.

Most of the investment made is in sports science, with ¤10,000 allocated for minors and U-21s.

Creating a new culture in a small county though, is often a generation game.

Ned O'Connor and his minor management have invested huge work into this year's squad but they were recently beaten by Kilkenny by 18 points.

"Offaly have a long way to climb but the first thing they have to do is to ensure that the development work takes place in clubs, and that there is a passion in clubs," says Brennan. "You cannot create good underage players unless you have good club players."

Crisis

The county board have a lot to answer for in allowing the current situation to reach the crisis point it has.

A generation has effectively been lost but everyone has to take responsibility in trying to forge a way forward, to ensure the next generation will try and lift Offaly hurling out of the abyss.

Battles have to be fought now on every front.

"For a long time, we didn't move with the times," says Hanniffy. "From a small base, we're probably not winning the battle in terms of keeping enough young lads playing.

"The county structures are vital but we have to ask ourselves too if we have been putting in enough professional structures in place at club levels to ensure players can play at that level with the county.

"We have to work extra hard because we have so few clubs. The schools have to be another huge focus because we have definitely fallen away there.

"That's where the first lines of a successful underage structure will become visible. It won't be easy but we just have to keep going."

For years, Offaly's house has been decaying, and falling down around them. The roof caved in last weekend but Offaly have to keep trying to quarry something from the rubble, to stay rebuilding, at every level.

Brick by brick. Beam by beam. Step by step.

Indo Sport

http://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic- ... 89906.html
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Rodgie » Fri May 06, 2016 1:09 pm

I believe it is down to the type of hurling being coached at underage level POTH, but I wouldn't advocate what Forde is coaching Rynagh's although he is a good coach. His type of game has been counter acted in the past by KK under Owens and Coolderry under Kelly. I think both K/K AND C/D have better systems in place at senior level when you see them play. Their type of play compliments the type of players they have in their ranks, which is what needs to addressed at inter county level. If indeed we are to play a particular brand of hurling then this needs to firstly suit our psychology. A forum of the best coaches from Offaly's clubs needs to take place to agree what type of hurling we want to play, what type of hurling will give us the best chance of success in the next 5 years and how this will then be coached, firstly at club and school level and then at inter county level from U14 to Senior. We seem to be going in the right direction in terms of S & C and preparation given the link with AIT but the problem at the moment is no one really knows what is the best type of game Offaly should be playing. Mimicking types of play like Clare and Waterford's Sweeper system's or Limerick, kilkenny and Galway's physical approach will not be successful unless our players are taught it from underage and are as I said suits our mindset. We need the best coaches either internal or external to formulate a plan and then lets come up with our own and hopefully successful way of playing the game. There are good men coaching in our senior clubs right now such as Fogarty, Kirwan, Kelly, Forde, Errity surely they can help. On a positive note I think the U21s will have a good campaign as we have good players at this level and I believe they have good work put in over a sustained period.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Bord na Mona man » Fri May 06, 2016 1:42 pm

Do we have to settle on a particular type of hurling though?
I think if we gave the players all of the skills they would be adaptable to any system as they get older.
If a fella has the skills to play a short game, these will still have their uses if the tactics are to go direct.

The Kilkenny lads are great a combining both, a couple of quick short passes (stick or hand) to get them out of trouble and move it to fella in space who can deliver a telling longer ball.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Bord na Mona man » Fri May 06, 2016 1:45 pm

You reap what you sow, and we haven't sown anything' - Former Offaly hurler on county's demise
Senior woes just tip of iceberg, says former Offaly player Michael Verney

Michael Verney

While the nature of Offaly's defeat to Westmeath last Sunday raised national eyebrows, the result certainly didn't surprise anyone following the fortunes of the Faithful County's underage hurlers since the turn of the Millennium.

Everything seemed rosy in the garden as we clung to the remnants of the golden era, which resulted in four senior All-Ireland crowns from 1981 to 1998, to claim Leinster minor/U-21 titles in 2000 while contesting the All-Ireland senior decider.

But the picture has changed drastically since then. It seems the Y2K problem wasn't confined to computers alone, with the subsequent results and lack of development highlighting ineptitude within the county.

Offaly sides haven't got a sniff of a provincial final at any level since their U-21 appearance in 2008 (senior 2004, minor '03) and the likes of Laois and Westmeath, both traditionally inferior, have leapfrogged us.

You reap what you sow and we haven't sown anything. The Championship loss to Laois 12 months ago and the recent reversal to Westmeath are only the tip of the iceberg, with the slide showing no sign of abating without drastic change.

When I hurled with Offaly, players often joked about our "third-world preparation" - chasing travel expenses, winter training gear arriving in April, gym memberships cut off the week after Championship exit and no boot vouchers were everyday issues. Comparisons with other counties were laughable.

Calls to GPA chief Dessie Farrell were often mooted but we just got on with things. Perhaps if we'd taken a stand it might have helped the development of the next generation but the silver lining was always spouted that "we still have better hurlers" and "we're more natural hurlers".

The coat was always hung on this sweeping statement and for a while it rang true, but you can only tread water for so long before you eventually fall under. We relied on tradition but nothing was done to address the fact that we were slowly losing sight of the peloton. While Dublin were 'Unleashing the Blue Wave', we papered over cracks.

Many will point to financial restraints but it doesn't cost anything to be organised, to plan for your future and operate with vision rather than on a day-to-basis. While the next generation watched the Simpsons, someone needed to "please think of the children" rather than get blinded with short-sightedness at the competitiveness of senior sides.

We punched above our weight with exceptional groups of players but talent doesn't just spring from the ground, it must be fostered and nurtured. Dublin and Kilkenny aren't dominating by accident. They plan for the long-term, they constantly adapt, they constantly improve and they always strive for excellence.

They don't pay lip service and believe everything is in order, exemplified by the Cats launching a county-wide investigation when their minors surprisingly fell to the Faithful in a Leinster semi-final 16 years ago.

Their future is not ensured by ticking boxes, it's through hard work and vision.

Coolderry, Kilcormac/Killoughey and Birr have all performed well on the national club stage in recent years but with a wealth a quality club players has come a dearth of county players.

County development squads don't do what they say on the tin, often meeting sporadically and with no clear step up from club standard. And therein lies the inability to turn club players into county material. Meanwhile, St Brendan's CS and Banagher College, the former lifeblood of Offaly hurling, have failed to land a blow in recent years.

Eamonn Kelly took the Faithful reins in September and is shipping criticism from many quarters in the wake of last weekend but the Tipperary native wasn't privy to the development of the current squad before taking charge. Blame doesn't lie at his feet for the work of others.

We are living in the past, living on successes quickly receding.

The so-called 'Offaly pride' is becoming mythical and while hurling has moved on, we have refused to do likewise. It was always said that "Offaly teams are never beaten" but we will continue to regularly hit rock bottom until we change.

With 13 weeks from the first round of Offaly SHC to the next this year, club players are starved of opportunities to progress.

You wouldn't see it in Kilkenny or Tipperary, and the failing standards Offaly are setting highlight where they wish to go.

Many think things are low now, but contrary to what Sinatra said, the worst is yet to come.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic- ... 89889.html
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby timber » Fri May 06, 2016 2:09 pm

Plain of the Herbs wrote:I just want to pick up on this.

Hurling has become a team game in recent years, as opposed to a game for individuals where yo 'bate' the ball as long and as far as you can and it was up to the next fella to win his own ball, no matter how it came to him. Item: the series of high, lobbing, dropping ball that Kevin Connolly had to deal with last Sunday.

Football involves more thinking, more guarding of possession. Hurling has gone this way in recent years and I think Tullamore, Brosna Gaels, Ballinamere and Shamrocks are better able to adapt to hurling becoming a team game.

The kind of hurling that is not being coached to the youth in Offaly's traditional hurling areas. The kind of hurling Francis Forde is promoting with St Rynagh's but they don't seem to get the hang of it. So an Offaly Senior team travels to face a Division 2A team and is completely bamboozled by an opposing forward line that moves around quite alot and is well able to pick short and medium range passes.

Those of older school persuasion bemoan the loss of spontaneity. But what Westmeath did last Sunday, or what the four dual clubs named above do IS spontaneous. And that nettle needs to be grasped and the penny needs to drop, and any other metaphor you like needs to be utilised in Offaly hurling.

Which is where outside help is needed as the expertise is not currently within the county.
timber wrote:Looking back over last 15 years or so of senior club hurling in the county, I have always been surprised at how competitive some duel clubs have been in games against the teams who only focus on the small ball. I know for a fact that some duel clubs who focus more on football might only have maybe trained once or twice in the two weeks before a championship game and still gone out and either beaten or gone very close to beating a team only focusing on hurling. That should not be possible in a game that is so skill focussed. It either proves that the duel player is very talented or the other hurling focused players are not at a good senior standard.


No matter what style of game is being played, I cannot understand how a team that have very little preparation is able to go out and beat or get close to beating a team a like Clareen, Kinnitty or Shinrone for instance who are fully focused on preparing for that game. Is that the problem? that the championship is so poor overall. Lifting the hurl maybe twice in the two weeks before that championship match and in general those sessions would of had no intensity and more times than not only 14 or 15 in attendance. A team like that should have been hammered by any hurling team with that preparation.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby keyboardwarrior » Fri May 06, 2016 2:57 pm

Rodgie wrote:I believe it is down to the type of hurling being coached at underage level POTH, but I wouldn't advocate what Forde is coaching Rynagh's although he is a good coach. His type of game has been counter acted in the past by KK under Owens and Coolderry under Kelly. I think both K/K AND C/D have better systems in place at senior level when you see them play. Their type of play compliments the type of players they have in their ranks, which is what needs to addressed at inter county level. If indeed we are to play a particular brand of hurling then this needs to firstly suit our psychology. A forum of the best coaches from Offaly's clubs needs to take place to agree what type of hurling we want to play, what type of hurling will give us the best chance of success in the next 5 years and how this will then be coached, firstly at club and school level and then at inter county level from U14 to Senior. We seem to be going in the right direction in terms of S & C and preparation given the link with AIT but the problem at the moment is no one really knows what is the best type of game Offaly should be playing. Mimicking types of play like Clare and Waterford's Sweeper system's or Limerick, kilkenny and Galway's physical approach will not be successful unless our players are taught it from underage and are as I said suits our mindset. We need the best coaches either internal or external to formulate a plan and then lets come up with our own and hopefully successful way of playing the game. There are good men coaching in our senior clubs right now such as Fogarty, Kirwan, Kelly, Forde, Errity surely they can help. On a positive note I think the U21s will have a good campaign as we have good players at this level and I believe they have good work put in over a sustained period.


Thats a good summary. Thats what NPC and Super Rugby coaches do in NZ. A midset of sharing philosophies and new thinking for the greater good. That seems to be all but gone in OY.
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Re: Offaly v Westmeath, Mullingar, Sunday 1st May

Postby Exiled in Connacht » Fri May 06, 2016 3:18 pm

Rodgie earlier mentioned the under 21s in a positive way.

The draw looks a bit lobsided here. We play Kildare in Newbridge on 22/05 with the winners to play Carlow or Laois in the semis.

Other side of draw is KK v Westmeath and Dublin v Wexford.
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