A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SHC

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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby first_touch » Sun May 28, 2017 10:48 pm

Very exciting game in which Offaly showed great character to pull it out of the fire. Dismal first half performance where we were dominated around the middle third. We lacked physical presence in midfield but the introduction of Paddy Murphy at half-time made a huge difference and was instrumental in turning the game Offaly's way. I could not understand how he was left out in the first place. Joe Bergin also made a big impact, putting Westmeath defenders on the back foot, and should start the next day.

What I was most impressed about was that when the pressure was one some of our key players stood up and showed leadership. Men like Dermot Shortt, Ben Conneely and Sean Ryan. Emmet Nolan displayed his class with a superb individual goal. And Shane Dooley showed his poacher's instincts with vital goals and a great clinching point at the end.

This win will bring the team on and hopefully we can put up a performance against Galway to give hope for the future.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Bord na Mona man » Mon May 29, 2017 11:20 am

A few random thoughts.

Offaly set up at the start like they were picked by a 'flat cap, top boot' wearing Offaly coach with everyone under instruction to stand back and wait for the breaks and not to be worried about catching.
For most of the early exchanges Offaly were horsed out too often and won precious little aerial duals.
This was my biggest concern at half time. 5 points wasn't a big lead to chase, but the aggression needed to be upped.

The wind - Obviously a factor for shooting but also where the puckouts were dropping.
In the first half Dempsey could only get it to between the Westmeath midfield and half back line who devoured everything. 2nd half when it carried further it was falling to players who were making more mistakes. The Westmeath error count became massive when they had to solo and pass a bit before delivering. Westmeath hit too many wides wind assisted and Offaly had a better 15 on the field by the time it was our turn to use the breeze.

The subs - Paddy Murphy made the biggest immediate impact. Got the team driving forward. Early in the in second half he got the ball and drove a couple of Westmeath players out of his way and I think won a free. It set the tone.
Joe Bergin was the right man to have on when a couple of long range points were going to be needed.
Liam Langton too. With Westmeath foostering a lot of ball in defence, you needed someone quick to make the chases and keep the pressure on.

On the other hand Westmeath made the schoolboy error of waiting until they fell behind before making a tactical sub. Would Brendan Murtagh have caused more trouble if introduced earlier?

The criticism of Shane Dooley above is bizarre, he took his scores well and in general play he took up some very decent support positions.

The character shown - With Offaly having drawn level a couple of times, but falling behind again, you worried it was going to be a day where they freeze when the time came to push ahead. Then being 5 points ahead and going back to level, the momentum should have with Westmeath. Cool head shown by Dempsey to spot the spare Offaly player whose marker was down cramped. Most keepers would have blasted the puckout if they sensed their team was panicking.

The umpires - Two bad calls, but at least both teams got a wide called as a point to cancel out. It’s hard to forgive bad umpiring. Worse is that both mistakes were made by the back post umpire who has the easier read.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby manfromdelmonte » Mon May 29, 2017 6:38 pm

Westmeath lost that game on the line - they had no cover for their corner back getting injured, too slow to make changes, persisting with a dodgy keeper
Fair play to the Offaly lads who grabbed the game and got the job done
only the best...
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Mon May 29, 2017 8:43 pm

Random thoughts -

That win was hugely significant. It keeps Offaly in the top five in Leinster. Moreso in the event the proposed ‘round robin’ in both Munster and Leinster gets adapted in time for 2018’s championship season. Offaly don’t want to find themselves outside that group. And provision for the four teams below that top five hasn’t been given any consideration at all yet. Will the winner qualify for the ‘super ten’? Or will the ‘second level’ teams compete for MacCarthy at all? No one has thought of that.

Again, Offaly came to play a league match on championship day. This time, they got away with it. But in that first half, Offaly played at league pace, allowed the opposition to dictate play and allowed them to dominate possession. Offaly half-back line played too far up the field and Westmeathwere able to find space on an exceptionally tight pitch. Shouldn’t happen. Only Westmeath dropping several balls into James Dempsey, and hitting wides from scoreable positions (unforgivable, given they were on their own home ground) allowed Offaly still be in touching distance at the change of ends. But beaten in the air, beaten in the scrums. On the odd occasion did make a run, it was at the wrong angle, didn’t have a support runner coming at the correct angle and the chance was lost. Offaly’s first half was such a disappointment.

Paddy Murphy’s influence on the game was crucial. That, and the breeze, which meant Paddy Maloney’s puckout couldn’t reach beyond half way. Joseph Bergin had a massive influence on the game’s key moments – I didn’t realise his role in the third and fourth goals until I saw them on TV last night. Stephen Quirke added a bit too, as did Liam Langton. Expect three changes to the front eight the next day.

Ben Conneely showed shades of Rory Hanniffy with his poise. Good in the air, comfortable in possession, confident. Dermot Shortt had arguably his best game in a tricoloured jersey to date. Seán Ryan – again – competed ferociously. Seems to hurl well in Mullingar.

While Oisín Kelly is a goal threat, his ability to ‘drive’ at a defence from a deeper position makes him a more likely candidate for right half-forward. Emmet Nolan probably has more to offer from an outfield position too. That being the case, a full-forward line of Quirke, Dooley and Bergin has potential. And forwards are going to alternate several times in the course of a game anyway.

On Shane, I didn't see much wrong with his work rate while he was operating at centre half-forward. Tracked back well. His opportunism for the winning goal was superb. He made up alot of ground on the goalkeeper too, who I don't think saw him. Maloney ignored an option to slip a pass too.

Great to see Offaly showing the heart, determination and courage to pull a game out of the fire like that. Something that they an Offaly team hasn't done since, oh, 2010 against Galway in Croke Park? Only Dempsey, Dooley and Bergin survive now. In such situations, chaps have to become leaders. And they did.

Seán Cleere handled he game well. His umpires didn’t. That Westmeath ‘point’ looked with from the terrace. Minutes later, an Offaly point looked wide. And it’s never a good sign when an umpire has to move over to ‘cover’ for his colleague, as happened about eight times in the second half at the end Offaly were attacking.

Programmes - why do Mullingar only sell programmes outside the stiles, only sending one seller around the terrace shortly before throw-in as an afterthought? That happened last year too, and I am told the same thing happened for their two home round robin games. How many more programmes would they sell if they sold them where people expect to be able to buy them - inside the gate?

No harm at all that Galway coasted their quarter-final. The lat st thing Offaly wanted was Galway to get a fright from Dublin, resulting in them being 'wired' the next day.

Atonement.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Mon May 29, 2017 8:46 pm

On Sunday morning, the fixtures section of the Leinster Council’s site fixed the venue of Offaly v Dublin/Galway for Portlaoise. Now, in 2011 Offaly and Dublin tossed for venue, Dublin won and the match was fixed for Parnell Park. Dublin then won the league and with the increased interest Liffeyside, the venue was moved to Croke Park.

I don’t recall a line from that time that Dublin had lost their home venue. (And if they did, why wasn’t the match played elsewhere?) And the Dublin v Wexford quarter-final in Croke Park last year was Dublin’s turn in the ‘home and away’ arrangement between the two. But from the nature of the fixture on the website, I get the impression the next time Offaly face Dublin in the Leinster championship, it won’t be in Tullamore and instead will be at a neutral venue. Have Offaly been screwed over venue again?
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby SearingDrive » Mon May 29, 2017 10:02 pm

Plain of the Herbs wrote:Random thoughts -

That win was hugely significant. It keeps Offaly in the top five in Leinster. Moreso in the event the proposed ‘round robin’ in both Munster and Leinster gets adapted in time for 2018’s championship season. Offaly don’t want to find themselves outside that group. And provision for the four teams below that top five hasn’t been given any consideration at all yet. Will the winner qualify for the ‘super ten’? Or will the ‘second level’ teams compete for MacCarthy at all? No one has thought of that. I have the same query re the 2018 hurling championship, why just 5 teams in Leinster?

Again, Offaly came to play a league match on championship day. This time, they got away with it. But in that first half, Offaly played at league pace, allowed the opposition to dictate play and allowed them to dominate possession. Offaly half-back line played too far up the field and Westmeathwere able to find space on an exceptionally tight pitch. Shouldn’t happen. Only Westmeath dropping several balls into James Dempsey, and hitting wides from scoreable positions (unforgivable, given they were on their own home ground) allowed Offaly still be in touching distance at the change of ends. But beaten in the air, beaten in the scrums. On the odd occasion did make a run, it was at the wrong angle, didn’t have a support runner coming at the correct angle and the chance was lost. Offaly’s first half was such a disappointment.

Paddy Murphy’s influence on the game was crucial. That, and the breeze, which meant Paddy Maloney’s puckout couldn’t reach beyond half way. Joseph Bergin had a massive influence on the game’s key moments – I didn’t realise his role in the third and fourth goals until I saw them on TV last night. Stephen Quirke added a bit too, as did Liam Langton. Expect three changes to the front eight the next day.

Ben Conneely showed shades of Rory Hanniffy with his poise. Good in the air, comfortable in possession, confident. Dermot Shortt had arguably his best game in a tricoloured jersey to date. Seán Ryan – again – competed ferociously. Seems to hurl well in Mullingar.

While Oisín Kelly is a goal threat, his ability to ‘drive’ at a defence from a deeper position makes him a more likely candidate for right half-forward. Emmet Nolan probably has more to offer from an outfield position too. That being the case, a full-forward line of Quirke, Dooley and Bergin has potential. And forwards are going to alternate several times in the course of a game anyway.

On Shane, I didn't see much wrong with his work rate while he was operating at centre half-forward. Tracked back well. His opportunism for the winning goal was superb. He made up alot of ground on the goalkeeper too, who I don't think saw him. Maloney ignored an option to slip a pass too.

Great to see Offaly showing the heart, determination and courage to pull a game out of the fire like that. Something that they an Offaly team hasn't done since, oh, 2010 against Galway in Croke Park? Only Dempsey, Dooley and Bergin survive now. In such situations, chaps have to become leaders. And they did.

Seán Cleere handled he game well. His umpires didn’t. That Westmeath ‘point’ looked with from the terrace. Minutes later, an Offaly point looked wide. And it’s never a good sign when an umpire has to move over to ‘cover’ for his colleague, as happened about eight times in the second half at the end Offaly were attacking.

Programmes - why do Mullingar only sell programmes outside the stiles, only sending one seller around the terrace shortly before throw-in as an afterthought? That happened last year too, and I am told the same thing happened for their two home round robin games. How many more programmes would they sell if they sold them where people expect to be able to buy them - inside the gate?

No harm at all that Galway coasted their quarter-final. The lat st thing Offaly wanted was Galway to get a fright from Dublin, resulting in them being 'wired' the next day.

Atonement.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Lone Shark » Wed May 31, 2017 9:40 am

I didn't come away from Mullingar on Saturday night with a revised and higher opinion of where Offaly's senior hurlers stood in terms of raw ability, however that doesn't mean that the players still don't deserve a lot of credit for the character, poise and leadership that they showed in the contest. The pressure to deliver going into the fixture was immense, and the sense of deja vu as they went into the dressing room at half time must have weighed heavily on their shoulders. Despite that, there was a lot to like about the way they went about their business in the second half and while a lot has been made about the wind, and that certainly was a factor for the Westmeath puckouts, the fact remains that James Dempsey was able to hit the Offaly half forward line with his puckouts in the first half - and it didn't make the blindest bit of difference, because in terms of mindset, Offaly were in the wrong place at that time and so got devoured.

Far more relevant was the increased hunger and vigour in their general play, allied to the extra threat and direction offered by the subs. As was pointed out above, there is no doubt that a far better team finished the game than started it and while management has to stand indicted on that to a certain extent, they also deserve some of the credit for being decisive and taking action to turn it around.

The Galway game will obviously be a completely different animal entirely and it's time enough to be worrying about that, but for the moment it can be appreciated for what it was - a championship win that, as POTH has pointed out, may turn out to be a lot more significant than we would have realised at the time.

Just on a few other points:

(1) It's fair to say that by half time, the verdict on the six forwards would have been a "could do better" for Oisín Kelly, and "need to do a lot better" for the other five. That said, the idea that you would ever take Shane Dooley off for anything other than an injury is clearly ridiculous. The main is a prolific scorer and while there are aspects of his game that aren't perfect, he's the one hurler we have that would walk on to any team in Ireland. Neither should it be ignored that while he was struggling to make an impact on the game, he was struggling to make an impact on Westmeath's best defender, and arguably one of the best full backs in Ireland. Just as Shane Dooley is our standout hurler, Tommy Doyle is theirs.

(2) There's a lot to be said for a player's potential to break a game at any given time. I'll be honest and say that if I was in Kevin Ryan's shoes, Emmet Nolan wouldn't have been on the field by the time he got his goal, as he was struggling to get on the ball and coughing up possession on the few occasions when he did. However I'll admit that he seized the initiative with his goal, and that took real mettle. A player willing to take responsibility is a player you want on your team.

(3) The inability to retain possession from our own puckouts is a real concern. We were beaten all ends up in the air and on the deck in the first half - and I'm not sure what you do about that. Kelly has the size to offer some sort of a threat, but far too many of our forwards simply aren't players that you'd back to prevail under a dropping ball. You'd almost wonder if there's some value in a tactic like letting Ryan and Nolan swap positions for our own restarts. While Seán is not tall, he is very good under a high ball (albeit far better facing an opposition puckout) while there could be something to be said for Nolan being the one to hover on the fringes and pounce on a break. As we saw, he'll take advantage if a gap opens up. Also, even if someone jumping against Ryan was to win the ball, there is no way they'll escape from their back line without a hell of a fight. Then they could revert back to their normal roles from general play. (admittedly, I know this would work for football - I haven't been involved with hurling teams, I'm presuming it would work here but I'm open to correction from someone who plays/coaches at a decent level)

(4) I was very surprised that Paddy Delaney didn't start, even allowing for the U21 tonight. He's a natural man marker and would have been very well suited to taking on Killian Doyle. Enda Grogan got opened up a few times and leaving aside whether or not he's worth his start over the Kinnitty man, it's not unfair to say that he hurled like a wing back while playing in the corner. Twice he got completely skinned on the turn and we were very lucky that neither instance led to a goal. I don't think I'm being un-necessarily alarmist when I say that players like Flynn or Whelan will fill their boots with goals if they get those kind of openings. Likewise, the few times that I saw Michael Cleary hurling in the league, I thought he did a solid job. Given that I suspect we could see Dermot Shortt given the job of tracking Joe Canning the next day (I certainly couldn't see anyone doing a better job on him than the Rynaghs man) then that leaves the full back berth open again.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby greenairfield » Wed May 31, 2017 10:39 pm

LS Shane Dooley would not walk on to any team in the country..are you gone mad all together?
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby jimbob17 » Wed May 31, 2017 11:14 pm

greenairfield wrote:LS Shane Dooley would not walk on to any team in the country..are you gone mad all together?


Totally agree. Reckon he has under performed for Offaly for last number of years. Not scoring much from play against the hurling counties (Limerick, Wexford, Galway etc) in the league or championship in recent years and that is the guage. 2-3 against Westmeath is an expectation for someone of his talent against such opposition. Wouldnt think he'd make any of Tipp Galway or Kilkenny teams going on form of last few seasons.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby allstar2010 » Wed May 31, 2017 11:53 pm

Give the guy a break! If any other player scored 2-3 from play we'd be lauding his performance. Yes, he can be quiet at times from open play but he's the first man I'd have on the team sheet any day and we're damn lucky to have him. His free taking is top class, so accurate although I'd question is penalty technique. We don't have any free scoring forwards so this man is our go to man end of story.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Lone Shark » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:41 am

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that he'd take the place of Seamus Callinan, Richie Hogan or Joe Canning. However I don't believe there is any county team that wouldn't accommodate him somewhere. But of course that's an opinion, there's no way of knowing.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby uibhfhaili » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:06 pm

Seniors lost a challenge by 36 pts to Tipp Monday night. Callinan and P Maher on fire by all accounts. :D
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby uibhfhaili » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:15 pm

Plain of the Herbs wrote:Random thoughts -

That win was hugely significant. It keeps Offaly in the top five in Leinster. Moreso in the event the proposed ‘round robin’ in both Munster and Leinster gets adapted in time for 2018’s championship season. Offaly don’t want to find themselves outside that group. And provision for the four teams below that top five hasn’t been given any consideration at all yet. Will the winner qualify for the ‘super ten’? Or will the ‘second level’ teams compete for MacCarthy at all? No one has thought of that.

.

Looks like Offaly keep Leinster senior championship status for now. Presumably they will be relegation / promotion between the qualifier group and the Leinster senior teams though which means Offaly relegated from the Leinster championship in '18 or involved in a do or die match to stay up.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Kevin » Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:47 pm

The way I read the proposal it looks like the last place team in the Leinster round robin gets dropped directly for the next year where as if Kerry wins the qualifiers they must then beat the last place Munster team to move up to Munster the following year.
Kevin Clancey. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: A chance for atonement - Westmeath v Offaly, Leinster SH

Postby Exiled in Connacht » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:04 pm

According to the Tipp GAA forum on boards , for what its worth we played them in a challenge game earlier this week and they beat us 8-22 to 12 :shock:
They say that in February they beat us 4-32 to 4 :shock:

Not sure if these scores are accurate and I know challenge matches can be strange with managers experimenting and so on but if true you would have to question what these games do for morale in the squad.
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