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Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:19 pm
by Lone Shark
Other work commitments prevented me from going to Birr on Saturday evening, though I believe the Birr/Rynaghs game was very good.

I enjoyed the hurling on Sunday, but I'd be lying if I said I came away overwhelmed by the quality of the fare on offer. Goals got Belmont through against Kinnitty, and there's no doubt that Oisín Kelly stood out like a real leader on the field of play. It wasn't just the goals he scored, but the way he went up and won a series of vital puckouts - when Belmont badly needed to retain a puckout, they went for him and he usually delivered. They'll have to do far, far better in terms of freetaking to trouble K-K in the next round, the amount of misses they had was nothing short of unforgivable, but this is new territory for them now and they can go in without fear.

There was a lot to like about Kinnitty, and certainly Aodhán Kealey looked like a man who has earned a county call up for me, but they didn't have the same goal threat at all. You'd also have to say that relative to his ability, Stephen Kinsella didn't really get into the game. I don't remember him making mistakes as such, but he was peripheral in a tie where his club needed him to do more.

I still have no idea how good or bad K-K might be, because they didn't win the second game - Shinrone lost it. I genuinely don't know what the hell is wrong with Shinrone hurling that they continue to underperform so spectacularly every time their season is on the line, but it's a huge problem. My guess is that they aren't suited by lengthy group stages - because of the way the season panned out, they were never under any real pressure during the round robin ties, so they went into this fixture, yet again, with the knowledge that they're well able to hurl, but without ever being asked to do so when it really mattered. And when they faced that exam, they failed.

A lot of it swung on one key moment in the first half - Shinrone were a goal up, and Sean Cleary ran through. He chose not to play the handpass to Ciarán Cleary, instead going himself, and he was forced wide. If they had gone six points up, it could have been interesting - as it was, you knew by half time their goose was cooked.

K-K will be favourites in the semi-final, but I'd fear for their prospects against Rynaghs in a final. When they were winning three in a row, they had strength all over the field - now they're just not firing to the same degree. Cillian Kiely was good, Conor Mahon and Dan Currams were decent, but the half back line looked middling at best, while if we take away their turkey shoot against a hapless Shamrocks side, they've now played five championship games and scored two goals. That needs to be addressed, and that will also give Belmont some hope. We can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that K-K will score more times that Belmont, but I wouldn't rule out a final score of 3-16 to 0-23, or something similar.

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:26 pm
by sam88885a
[quote="Lone Shark"]

I still have no idea how good or bad K-K might be, because they didn't win the second game - Shinrone lost it.
That insulting to KK who won the second half by 9 points and are unbeaten .

My view KK did enough ,their back in a semi final ,they have blooded a number of guys because of injuries to K Grogan E grogan B leonard G Healion and T Geraghty .
I thought it was highlighted when K Grogan got injured ,, the managment opted to play E Grogan at Full back rather than bring back P Healion.
Their looking at the bigger picture in my view.
KK are where the expected to be and like St Rynaghs always looked as if the could hit the turbo if required .KK didnt have to take off the handbrake .Belmont will pose a different treat mainly in O Kelly and C egan but i dont think belmont have hurlers to contain D Currams J Gorman C Mahon and C Kiely .
i expect St Rynagh to get over Clareen but i wouldnt put money on it either .
To me it looks like a KK rynagh final with both trying to peak for the final

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:50 pm
by sam88885a
D Currams loss for KK gives Belmont a big chance . Whats the odds of a Clareen Belmont final???

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:34 pm
by frankthetank
The double pays out at 8.75/1 with PP.

Senior hurling semi-final super Sunday

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:56 pm
by Plain of the Herbs
Both of Sunday’s semi-finals bring a clash of the traditional versus the modern. In the first semi-final, Kilcormac-Killoughey are semi-final regulars while Belmont are novices at this stage. Later we have St Rynagh’s who will play the ball through the hand, face Seir Kieran who will stand up and move it long.


Sunday brings the greatest day (so far) in Belmont’s hurling story, contesting their first Senior semi-final. It’s been quite a ‘rags to riches’ journey for the Brosnasiders who only emerged from Junior ranks in 1978. That journey took several twists and turns before the side’s second coming when they won the Intermediate title in 2004. That David Kenny is the sole survivor (though Joe Kenny was on the bench then) from that September 2004 evening in Banagher says much about the journey Belmont have travelled. Several changes to their hurling attire in the interim too, and now the traditional ‘Glen Rovers’ hoops have rightly been restored.

For much of that Senior journey since 2005, a lack of physical stature impeded progress. Described as ‘Snow White and the Belmont hurlers’ in certain media. That disadvantage is now a thing of the past and Kieran McManus, Leon Fox, Damien Egan and Joe Maher have added stature and ball winning ability. Now, Colin Egan is no longer Barry Egan’s sole, and obvious, puckout target.

Of course, targets begin and end with Oisín Kelly, an attacker who doesn’t take points when goals are a possibility. It’s a great tool to have in the box, and a goal threat that no other club in the county possess. Kelly has scored 6-20 in the championship so far, to follow the 7-31 he scored last year, and will likely alternate position several times with Colin Egan over the course of the hour. Joe Maher, though not a stylish stickman by any means, impressed with his strong running and will need to take on the opposition defence before laying off a pass. The Nallys, Mark Egan and David Cox offer Belmont a good blend of pace. Possibly Belmont’s greatest challenge on Sunday will be getting the ball into their full-forward.

Kilcormac-Killoughey approach this semi-final under something of a cloud, and they must be thinking they have grievously offended some higher being, given the spate of injuries, particularly in defence. That run began twelve months ago when Ger Healion sustained his cruciate injury. And their ijury woes continue to this day.

The one aspect Kilcormac-Killoughey’s 2017 iteration do retain is their physique and physicality. And while they were never going to lose to Shinrone the last day, there was hardly a K-K man on the Bord na Móna Park pitch who was smaller than his Shinrone opponent. Jordan Quinn is an imposing figure and was always going to claim a place in their defence at some stage. If there is a concern, it is that the defensive teamwork they carried since 2012 has been lost. And that blend, that combination, is something that is so difficult to assemble.

For instance, the Ger Healion / Peter Healion combination in the centre of the defence, where neither strayed fa from the other, of from the square, which they protected so well. And while Shinrone lacked the spirit and determination to build a winning total, they did create several goalscoring chances. Given the opportunities, Oisín Kelly, or Colin Egan, or David Cox will not be as profligate. Shaun Lowry struggled for pace too, and while Damien Kilmartin played in such a deep lying midfield role in 2012 - 14, there is a considerable difference between doing that and hurling as an orthodox centre half-back.

Other hand, the Kilcormac-Killoughey attack does retain the personnel of the three in a row era. James Gorman enjoyed one of his greatest days in the quarter-final, physically dominating Derek Morkan and fetching several clearances and firing over a healthy 0-4 to bring his total to 0-14 this year. Conor Mahon will overpower Mark Egan and this is a position Belmont might need to address (and electing to change a centre half-back at this late stage would be a setback).

Another concern is that Kilcormac-Killoughey have been hurling for only a few minutes at a time. Item: in the quarter-final, they really only increased the pace and intensity for about five minutes after half-time. It was enough then, but to reach the final they will need to hurl better and faster for much longer than five minutes. Cillian Kiely deserves mention too, he has led well from midfield this year, and in modern hurling, a scoring threat from distance is a necessary arrow in the quiver. And I wonder would they be tempted to start Ger Healion in a bid to upset the Belmont defence and create a goal threat.


The modern and the traditional will cross paths in the second semi-final. St Rynagh’s the post-modern, working the ball through the hand up through the lines. And with a formation devised from the south east, and which divides opinion like nothing else in west Offaly. When they were good against Birr (and that usually involved them being in possession, and laying off the passes to support runners) they were very very good. And when they were bad, they were over ran, like when Birr dominated possession during those second and third quarters.

All the plans and tactics and strategies are dependent on how the opposition react. And maybe Fintan O’Connor had presumed that Birr would keep their shape and retain two corner backs staying at home marking no one in particular, leaving the Shannonsiders with a two man advantage outfield. As it happened, Birr followed their men. It left space in the two corners, space St Rynagh’s never exploited, despite their having pace to chase a ball into space. And I wonder was Birr’s formation the reason Rynagh’s reverted to a more orthodox formation in the second half. Tactical innovation is one thing; it requires thinking on your feet too.

All that said, the composure St Rynagh’s showed when staring down the barrel of Birr’s shotgun a fortnight ago was admirable. “Real character is still being brave with the ball, trying to pick the right passes instead of just moving it on.” Darragh Ó Sé wrote those words in The Irish Times this week when writing about Mayo’s attitude in the dying minutes of their drawn semi-final against Kerry: He could have written it for St Rynagh’s. Remember the two lads playing ‘ping pong’ down near the tunnel as they waited to pick the right pass at the right angle at the right time? Oul lads growling “drive it” but in the heel of the hunt they did the right thing and picked the right pass which led to a crucial score.

Of course, St Rynagh’s have the players to play that kind of game, and have played it for some years. Look at Conor Hernon – always hurls with his head up, always seems to have time on the ball and always picks the right pass. And all are comfortable when attempting scores from distance – even those in the full-back line.

Seir Kieran in general, and Paul Murphy in particular, will have observed how Birr dealt with the movement and the formations. That being the case, it is likely they will mark man for man. They would prefer to hurl the semi-final in tighter surrounds that Bord na Móna Park, however. Brian Mulrooney at full-back coped very well with Joe Brady during the second half a fortnight ago. I’d say about eight balls were delivered from long range during the final quarter that day, which accrued in just (I’m estimating) one goal and one point. Mulrooney, an experienced campaigner at his stage, disrupted Brady, hardly allowed the big full-forward gain possession. Now, Mulrooney will face a different challenge on Sunday, but he is confident enough to take on Stephen Quirke’s challenge.

The Clareen mens’ concern is the usual one. That they are not consistent enough, that men they are depending on can drift out of games. That said, Adrian Hynes was in fine form against Coolderry and hurled consistently. And Joseph Bergin carried a goal threat, will convert 9 frees out of 10, will win ball in the air and will likely move outfield for a period in each half. Seir Kieran will not reach the Final without the younger Bergin in irresistible form.

Another concern is the lack of fluency during the Seir Kieran v Coolderry quarter-final. The match was played at a low intensity, only rising above group match pace as the finishing line approached. The standard of tackling left much to be desired, with illegal tackles being too frequent and there rarely being two passes strung together.

Recent semi-finals have unfortunately tended to be drab affairs. With the clash of the traditional versus the modern in both semi-finals (though in different senses of the word) we hope for two memorable semi-finals.

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:16 am
by kaiserchief
Excellent insight and overview Pat.

If I was a betting man I would go for a KK and St Rynaghs final.

My heart is shouting for Belmont though.

Lets hope Fletcher gets them over the line!! Hon Belmont!!

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:51 pm
by SearingDrive
Heart says Belmont v Seir Kieran's Final, but head says KK v Rynagh's. Probably a total eclipse of the heart!

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:17 pm
by Plain of the Herbs
I appreciate your kind comments, K. Thank you. If the heads are right, Belmont carry every chance.
kaiserchief wrote:Excellent insight and overview Pat.

If I was a betting man I would go for a KK and St Rynaghs final.

My heart is shouting for Belmont though.

Lets hope Fletcher gets them over the line!! Hon Belmont!!

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:29 pm
by kingscounty
Poor enough fair today in both games but in fairness the weather was atrocious for hurling. Very little between the four teams KK and Rynaghs just held out in the end. Don't know the attendance but seemed to be a good crowd for both games

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:01 pm
by frankthetank
Serious disrespect shown to the four teams today by playing the two intermediate semi finals yesterday in OCP. Pitch was nowhere near where it should have been for senior semi finals.

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:02 pm
by jimbob17
Watched today with interest. Both losing teams will be sick they didn't win.

Belmont left it behind them with numerous chances to win let alone draw. If they stay at it they will be a force in years to come. Lot of youth with big physical men and some experience too with David Kenny etc. The chances at the end were very gettable and it's a pity they didn't get at least a draw. They might have better luck with football and have great chance to win that

Would have to feel for clareen. It's a game the did very well in and left few scores out there. Joe missed two frees that were gettable especially the one at the end.

That said I felt the referee absolutely rode Clareen at the end where he gave a number of frees for what looked to be very good tackles. One team was able to pick the ball off the ground and not be penalised while the other was penalised when the ball was actually hopping. As a neutral I was appalled at some of the frees given. One out on the wing where the forward fell after excellent tackling as he was on edge of over carrying. Shocking call on too on last free given when Rynaghs player barged head first into dermot mooney (who had his feet planted standing still and arms out) before dropping to the ground! How it wasn't a free out was beyond me and anybody sitting close to me in the stand. Should have been a yellow card in fact to rynaghs lad if anything.

Did referee one part well where he booked the Rynaghs corner back as he acted the b*llox around Joe bergin penalty

As for the final, it's Rynaghs for me. Their backs won't give much away and their mobility and touch is ahead of kk for me. Thought they over did the short ball today at times but if the get the mix right they will win and with the draw as it is, the offaly winners could easily go as far as a Leinster final.

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:09 pm
by donfanny2
Belmont gave it everything and they were very unlucky to come up short. If they had that bit more composure they would have walked away with a draw at the least.

Clareen had a great first half scoring some fantastic points, but they offered very little after the break and really struggled to play into the strong breeze only scoring 2 points in the second half. Rynaghs very lucky to come away with the victory as they only started to play with 40 mins on the clock after a couple of good substitutions and some help from the referee.

I think either team won't get anywhere near a Leinster final the standard was very poor, although the conditions were awful at times.

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:28 pm
by sam88885a
Belmont gave everything but KK got their game plan right for the second half against the wind using C Kiely as a sweeper .Belmont got level and has 6 or 7 wide but KK fought like dogs and created 2 goal chance against the elements .It was a real battle ,G Healion and K Grogan did some job on O Kelly and C Egan .
J Maher could have got sent off for pulling G Healion helment off during an exchange in the first half , thankfully B Gavin only gave a yellow .It was a war and KK just did enough.
The second game was more timid and Clareen were in the driving seat ,St Rynagh workrate was superior to Clareen in the second half and they scored the last 7 points ,St Rynagh looked calm and played some love hurling but Clareen senior players just didnt put their body on the line coming down the home stretch .
KK are in their 4 final in 6 years and St Rynagh are in their 5 in 6 years .
It has the making of a cracking final

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:09 pm
by Plain of the Herbs
Sam, you usually write utter bollocks here, but you got this spot on. Because Grogan well and truly "did some job", as you put it, on Oisín Kelly minutes before half-time yesterday.
sam88885a wrote:G Healion and K Grogan did some job on O Kelly and C Egan .

Re: Offaly SHC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:16 pm
by first_touch
Very proud of Belmont they gave it everything. They just could not make enough use of possession in the second half and missed a couple of decent chances towards the end. They were unlucky too in that early in the second half, when they would have expected to build on a very good first half performance against a strong wind, a shower of driving rain came down, making conditions a lottery.

I found the continuous barracking of referee Brian Gavin by a section of the Kilcormac Killoughey supporters to be distasteful. They were even roaring at him when KK were awarded a free! They only time they went quiet was when Grogan slashed the hurl down on Oisin Kelly. They knew in their hearts he should have got the line.

I thought Rynagh's gave a very composed performance and are likely to have a big game in them in the final. Stephen Quirke gave an exhibition of freetaking. I agree totally that it was a wrong decision by the referee to give that free to Rynagh's when it should have gone the other way. It led to what turned out to be the winning score.