offaly team versus westmeath

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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Bord na Mona man » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:55 pm

Let's go with the positives first.
- Offaly had to blend in a few returning players, played the latter stages of the game with 14 and then 13 and didn't lose. On top of this there was an immediate injury to Brian Darby. Eoin Carroll looked to be hampered all day before finally going off.
- The defensive performance was good in that key forwards were fairly well tied up and Offaly won a good number of tackles and turnovers. Ger Egan was the only player who stood out. Tomas 'lookit' O'Se reckons that 4 Westmeath players would get on any team. 3 of them must have been out injured today.
- Offaly's first half performance was very smart into the wind. They starved Westmeath of possession by playing keep ball for long spells and ran down the clock waiting for gaps to appear.

The negatives:
- The 2nd half with the wind behind us, yet we still set up like we were playing into a gale. Usually only one or two players ahead of the ball at most when we had possession. With no forward options to hit, invariably every attack died with the ball carrier turning backwards. At stages there was one or sometimes zero Offaly players inside the Westmeath 45. This made it easy for Westmeath to defend as they could have their first wave of defenders all the way up on the 45 and it allowed them to compress the field.
If you put 2 or 3 men up and launch it a couple of times, then Westmeath need to keep 3 or 4 defenders back. Then you've created much more space around the middle. After that it should be easier to carry the ball up to the 45 and within shooting range. Instead we only managed a couple of pressured long kicks from distance.
- Discipline - Just not good enough. Too many needless fouls and handbags. The instant Offaly reaction to Westmeath playing slipping on his arse was to lunge in and foul him. Just like last year, Westmeath much smarter in knowing what the ref was and wasn't going to blow for. In the few seconds he was on the field, Anton Sullivan summed up the best and worst of his game. He's the classic example of the cow that fills the bucket to the brim with milk and then kicks it over.

Mullingar in 6 days and it's still all to play for. Whether it's an indictment of Offaly, or a source of hope, but some of things Westmeath did were catastrophically awful. They didn't fall into Division 4 by accident. They might improve, but we have nothing to worry about! Get our own performance right this time and we'll win.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby private joker » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:11 am

I see westmeaths Twitter feed described the game as "pure rubbish" and "horrible to watch" Accurate?
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby pigeon house biffo » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:11 am

Didn't get to see the game but listened to 103 on the wireless
Niall Mc sounded like he struggled to affect the game as much as a player of his ability should have, hopefully the minutes he got stood him well for next week.
Defensively we seemed to do well against what is by Leinster standards an impressive array of players. Martyn, Sharry, Egan and Heslin is as good a quartet outside of Dublin as you are likely to find in leinster and it seemed that our lads kept them in check, though sharry did seem to grow more into it as the second half wore on. Egan was impressive throughout.
Indiscipline seems to be a hallmark of the flanagan tenure. We have been very competitive in most games under his watch, but more often than not we leave ourselves too much work to do oweing to the fact that we almost always finish games with less than a full compliment. It can never be a bad thing to play with pride but it really should have been earmarked as an area of concern before this campaign and had with finished with 15 v 15, I am confident we'd have won the game.
I thought the midfield pairing of O'Conner and Carroll looked good against Laois in the league, two mobile adept ball players, surprised that it was broken up.
I think inevitably WMeath will be favourites for the replay, though a year in Div 4 without reasonable competitiion looks to have set them back. We certainly have nothing to fear travelling to dunnes stores cusack park.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Bord na Mona man » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:54 am

pigeon house biffo wrote: We certainly have nothing to fear travelling to dunnes stores cusack park.

Nothing to fear except stray shopping trolleys.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby pigeon house biffo » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:24 am

Maybe someone who was at the game can break down what it was that Westmeath were trying to achieve with there tactics? Certainly with their personnel and the wind advantage they would have been looking at taking a 6+ point advantage into the half time break.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Lone Shark » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:02 am

As one might imagine after a drawn game against an opponent that is more or less at our own level, it's certainly reasonable to say that there was good and bad, and I'd tally with most of what Bord na Móna man said above.

Funnily enough, when it comes to the indiscipline aspect, I'd be critical, but not necessarily of the two men that saw red cards. Michael Brazil had a great outing and was up and down the field to great effect, and both of his cards came from genuine attempts to tackle. Of course he could have been a little bit more measured second time out with a yellow card to his name, but he doesn't play at anything less than 100% tempo and to a certain degree, you'd hate to take that from his game.

Rúairí Allen too, though he has been guilty of rash moments in the past, wouldn't be getting any blame from me if I was the manager. Denis Glennon was already well on the way to the ground when he crashed into Rúairí's arm for the equalising free, and for me it wasn't even a foul - never mind a card.

However on the other side of things, I was very disappointed in David Hanlon, who got away with murder in the first half. He got his yellow card early and yet when there was a bit of a skirmish, he came charging in as the third man and pushed a Westmeath guy in the chest (I can't remember who). It was brainless, it was of no benefit to the team, and when the linesman started walking in, I thought he was done for. He had another questionable foul after that too and if I was on the sideline, I'd have had him taken off immediately because he clearly wasn't in control of his emotions or his actions. Likewise, Anton Sullivan is going to have to learn that if you live by the sword, you die by it. Dragging David Lynch to the ground just a minute after coming on was crazy stuff, and he fully deserved the black card - and that upheaval almost immediately, plus losing his freshness, was a blow. If I was Pat Flanagan, I'd be worried about indiscipline, but I'd be far more angry at Hanlon and Sullivan than Brazil or Allen.

Overall I was hugely impressed with the patience shown into the wind in the first half. While the dinosaurs in the crowd were roaring about "kick it in", our lads were calmly working down the clock, using possession well and biding their time until a proper opening came up. I remember one move in particular where they held the ball in Westmeath territory for nearly two minutes and constantly took the right option, before Westmeath finally pushed up and then we struck. I think Cian Donoghue took the shot at the end and miscued it, but I'd forgive that - it was a well worked move, Donoghue made the run at the right time, and it was all textbook stuff other than the finish.

But just the same as we should be applauded for not shooting or kicking long when it wasn't on in the first half, you'd have to ask why better options weren't taken in the second. Everything from 55 metres out or less was within scoring range, and aside from a couple of long range pops I recall from Cunningham, Guilfoyle and the late effort from John Moloney, we didn't try and exploit that.

Moreover, we fell far too deep. I've said before that I can understand Niall McNamee as a playmaking centre forward, though I wouldn't play him there myself - but Niall Mac as a sweeping defender, no. Even if he never touched the ball, keeping him close to the Westmeath goal would have forced them to keep two men back to cover him - and then you go for your long range shots over his head. Just like American football where you run the ball on the ground to force the defence to push men up and honour that threat before then going for the jugular with the long throw, it's the same in football - you have to have both a running threat and a deep threat (when that's an option, which it wasn't in the first half) - and even if one aspect of your game is better than the other, you need to maintain both to keep the defence honest and to stop them from completely focusing on the one area where you're strong.

On Niall generally, there is no question but that he wasn't fit to play 70 minutes, he looked as if he was conserving energy throughout the game. If that's the case, then particularly if you plan to play against the wind in the first half, you don't start him. Alternatively you start him, you tell him that he's there for 45 minutes, and then you bring in Bernard Allen, Sean Doyle, or whoever is your next man in line.

After the game Pat Flanagan talked about how there is strength in depth in the panel - well then I'd love to see him trust that a little bit more. Our first sub that wasn't forced by way of injury was in the 59th minute - that's what you'd expect from a club senior panel where you're into the junior guys by the time you get to numbers 19 and 20.


Overall I'd say that Westmeath will of course be the happier team, but I'd remain confident. While the national pundits can point to lads that have made an impact on the national stage like Kieran Martin, James Dolan, Paul Sharry and John Heslin etc., it's also true to say that there were a handful of starters on their side yesterday that are ordinary enough club players. I've seen enough club football in Westmeath to know that while lads like Mark McCallon, Alan Stone, Kelvin Reilly and Noel Mulligan are steady, decent players that would be an asset to any club, intercounty is a stretch for them and I couldn't see any of them getting onto this current Offaly team. Until yesterday I was wondering if maybe they were showing more at county training and had stepped up relatively late in their careers, but there was no evidence of that.

Offaly put themselves in a winning position yesterday and they can do so again - and with a bit more composure, they're capable of holding on to it this time around.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Bord na Mona man » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:58 am

Lone Shark wrote:Overall I was hugely impressed with the patience shown into the wind in the first half. While the dinosaurs in the crowd were roaring about "kick it in", our lads were calmly working down the clock, using possession well and biding their time until a proper opening came up.

Aye, imagine what the half time deficit could have been if Offaly started kicking speculative balls into the wind. Westmeath converted a decent percentage of the few chances they created. Giving them a dozen more turnovers would have had the scoreboard looking very different. Unfortunately most of the dinosaurs weren't any the wiser by the end of the game, given how the 2nd half was played.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby substandard » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:27 pm

Up to halftime, I thought it was looking good for Offaly. Offaly didn't waste too many speculative opportunities in the first half: there was 3 attempts from Westmeath that hung up in the breeze. There was a couple of occasions in the first half where I'd have liked to see a Brazil/ Donohue overlap pushing further ahead, they seemed to make a lot of inroads down that channel. Killian Daly was causing an amount of problems bombing up the field unchecked: bar Ger Egan, he was the biggest attacking threat Westmeath offered. The game was crying out for more direct football, and not just the lehidinn variety. I think Niall Mc was too isolated in the second half, and regardless of numerical set up, should never have to be playing as a sweeper. While the Offaly defensive set up was good and working well, I'd like to have seen Peter Cunningham released into the forward line, especially after Anton's black card: would have had a dangerous runner well able to shoot as an outlet. Defensively sound bar a few sloppy frees given away, which can happen any team. Transition into attack and breaking at speed needs to be worked on. You'd worry that, with both teams playing so conservatively yesterday, that they might be even more cautious the next day!!!
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Plain of the Herbs » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:32 pm

Absolutely spot on, unfortunately, although I’m not sure of the appropriateness of a county board’s twitter account proclaiming that opinion.
private joker wrote:I see westmeaths Twitter feed described the game as "pure rubbish" and "horrible to watch" Accurate?

I don’t generally comment on football, leaving that to those who watch more of it, but that was muck yesterday. There were 8k there yesterday, but I’d expect the only ones looking forward to a replay are those who couldn’t go yesterday.

The longer it went on, the worse it got. I get that this isn’t hurling and that a football team isn’t going to hoof the ball from distance and that there is a premium placed on possession, but not to use the territory you are afforded by the wind is shocking. Not to have a scoring attempt from outside the D (that I can recall) in 35 minutes is a poor reflection. To play the ball backwards from your own 65 all the way back to the 21 through four pairs of hands is brutal. To get turned over in front of their own goal following that move is no less than you deserve. To try to defend a one point lead late in the match by passing backways to a man on the back foot and under pressure made no sense. Now, the alternative is that they attacked at will, peppered the opposition goal, hitting 15 wides and being lucky to hold on for a draw. I’d still be complaining but at least one could say they had a cut at it. What went on was brutal.

I was a soccer nut during my teenage years. I hardly watch a soccer match on television now. I lost interest because I got fed up watching teams stroke the ball around their own half with no notion of venturing upfield, and of watching an opposition happy to let them do so. If football continues like that, people are going to lose interest.

Lusmagh hurlers won the Junior B football last year. I watched them win their semi-final and final, and they played some attractive football. They didn’t kick the ball away, but the emphasis was on attacking football. I’m not saying it was better football, (it was junior B football in a weaker county after all), but I’d happily watch it again and again. After yesterday’s debacle, there is no way I am going to watch the replay. I appreciate the lads train hard, prepare diligently and give a huge personal commitment and I apologise to anyone who is offended by this, but there is zero entertainment value in watching a team concede 45 metres of territory by passing the ball backwards.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby allstar2010 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:39 pm

That was just awful! First half against wind you could see method to them holding onto possession, winding down the clock and being patient. But the second half was unforgivable, if a lad can't kick a ball over the bar from 30yards with wind at his back he may forget about it! What a ridiculous black card to get for a player that looked like he might have changed the game and got involved in scoring a point or two. On the upside they have a chance to redeem themselves, hopefully they take the shackles off next sat and just go for it like they did against Laois in last league game.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby brownie » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:53 pm

absolutely clueless last sunday. is that the players fault or are they playing to the system that the management set up ? if the management are in charge and allowed these tactics playing with the wind, we are in serious trouble. if the players ignored the manager and did their own thing playing with the wind , then we are in serious trouble. I wasn't in Armagh for the trouncing but I can see how it came about. our players look like they get no coaching on how to play defensive or how to beat the defensive blanket. Tyrone and Donegal will set up defensive next sunday but their players are drilled properly in training to compete against and how to play with defensive tactics. the players need guidance from the line but im afraid they don't get it .
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby kingscounty » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:24 pm

We are still in the Leinster Championship roll on Saturday , nothing to be afraid of . We can all analysis the game to death but let's just roll with it and hopefully we can come out the right side ! Best of luck lads
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby NewEra » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:29 pm

John Connellan has left the Westmeath panel according to Pat Nolan in the Mirror.

Hopefully we have Darby and Carroll fit.
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby jimbob17 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:07 am

brownie wrote:absolutely clueless last sunday. is that the players fault or are they playing to the system that the management set up ? if the management are in charge and allowed these tactics playing with the wind, we are in serious trouble. if the players ignored the manager and did their own thing playing with the wind , then we are in serious trouble. I wasn't in Armagh for the trouncing but I can see how it came about. our players look like they get no coaching on how to play defensive or how to beat the defensive blanket. Tyrone and Donegal will set up defensive next sunday but their players are drilled properly in training to compete against and how to play with defensive tactics. the players need guidance from the line but im afraid they don't get it .


I too have been watching this team with interest over past while. I really think we threw it away the last day. While the wind does not win or lose a game, given where we were at half time, I felt we should have been able to win. The reasons why we didnt? who knows. Maybe they are being coached and players are not able to execute plan or maybe we just dont have the players.

I'd be slow to use any of above excuses. For some reason, the manager want to play two in central defensive position - a sweeper if that's what you want to call it. What I don't get is that they never seem to push on, even against average teams, and Westmeath are pretty average! We have quality ball players on bench last day because we only made room for 5 forwards and invited them on to us when we should have been looking to give them a filleting. If it was against a Dublin, Kerry or any div 1 team I'd say fair enough but Westmeath are division 4!

Bernard Allen would have made the Westmeath team and he should start for me. Cunningham is an absolute class footballer, probably our best forward and he is posted 80 yards from goal. I just dont get it. He should be up centre forward where he is giving us something going forward. Any lad can plug a gap if that is what you want but for God's sake please let it not be our best forward.

Discipline over the years for some reason has never been addressed. Anton is a good footballer but its just unbelievable that he is still as petulant and still getting picked or brought on. For me he is a liability until that indiscipline changes. It isn't just him either and while the lads sent off will be disappointed, they arent the primary ones that get in bother for needless cards etc.

Here is hoping we just go out and get at them the next time. Show a bit of balls and play to win!
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Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby SearingDrive » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:46 am

It's back to TEG Cusack Park on Saturday at 2pm. I think the odds favour Westmeath now, hope I am proved wrong. Can we hope for a more attacking display on Saturday.

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