Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

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Plain of the Herbs
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Re: Reflections on Relegation

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:39 pm

I doubt that very much. But thanks for the kind words anyway.
LooseCannon wrote:Hear, hear.
You’ve put into words what we all feel.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

Plain of the Herbs
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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:41 pm

Shur, everyone knows the root cause of the deterioration. I am certain that going down is not the solution, for reasons I outlined last night. Those, and the ‘guard of honour’ mentality when Offaly hurl those lower ranked teams, that drives me cracked.
jimbob17 wrote:Wouldnt agree with that POTH. We are not up to the level. We got good beating by all teams. We never threatened to win a game. The mcdonagh teams are our level. In fact i wouldnt be sure we would beat westmeath antrim or carlow. We will struggle to get back into Leinster. Who are we to look down on them teams. Theyll lick their lips next year to see us coming.

The current squad is direct product of inadequate underage system. We've done nothing in 20 years and are living in the past. A plan to improve things is not being implemented! Going down is a wake up call we so badly need. Its a pity it didn't happen years ago!

Lets see if the county board change their tune. We have been a laughing stock, most of it our own making. Tradition will get you so far but if you dont put in the work, tradition dies! We have let that happen, led by years of inadequacy at county board level. Nobody else is to blame but ourselves!

If the clubs are naive enough to continue to have inadequate people represent them at board level, the malaise will continue and no more than Laois, we could struggle to stay in the Joe McDonagh Cup!
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:45 pm

Maybe playing teams of that level has kept Offaly afloat, rather than sinking a decade ago. Anyway, it’s only an issue now then the cut-off for Leinster was reduced to five. Exclusion from Leinster wasn’t an issue until 18 months ago or so, when the current system was first mooted.

To compare inter-county to club is not a like for like comparison. Far from it. The commitment required by an inter-county hurler far exceeds that of a club hurler – it is unlikely relegation from Senior to Intermediate will mean the future commitment of everyone over 28 cannot be presumed. A relegated club are not going to have to cut spending because sponsorship income cannon be guaranteed. And a relegated club team aren’t going to lose home games and the promotional opportunites that brings – they’ll be at neutral venues and there’s nothing to stop an Intermediate club hosting, say, Kilcormac v Rynaghs, if their facilities are adequate.
allstar2010 wrote:On current form Offaly have no right to be competing with the top 4 in Leinster because they can’t compete with them. An average beaten of over 15pts per game tells that story. Comparing Kilkenny of 2014 with Kilkenny of 2018 is a bit of a joke! Playing teams of a higher standard has done nothing for us in the last 15years so why should we keep doing it? We’re now down to our own level competing against teams we might beat rather than playing teams that if we lose by under10 pts it’s deemed a success.

If we compare it to club teams, it’s like leaving say Lusmagh in the senior A championship because they are a great little club have won a championship back in the day and some think they deserve to be playing top teams even though they have no hope of beating them. What’s the point?

I hope the current management stay and keep everyone on board and they look on it as an opportunity to win a championship. They still have Galway, Waterford and Dublin in the league.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:49 pm

No, it doesn’t suggest Westmeath and Carlow have lads who aren’t committing. Maybe there are, I don’t know, but it’s different for those coming up, who are coming from the opposite direction to Offaly. And I notice you didn’t include Laois there. Given the commitment required, I wouldn’t be as quick to dismiss someone who couldn’t commit as a non trier. There may be a reason such as paternity leave, or a lad building a house, or a career.

Unless those results came in the third or fourth successive week, then comparisons with 2018 are meaningless. Don't take it from me, rather take it from Jackie Tyrrell in today’s Irish Times where he wrote “From talking to a few players on different teams, the week-after-week-after-week schedule is a killer. Game Sunday. Recovery Monday. Meeting Monday night. Training Wednesday. Training/team meeting Friday night. Game Saturday or Sunday. Go again Monday. And again the following Monday . . . Players knew this would be a big challenge, but some of them have been surprised by how big it has turned out to be. You’re having to look forward to the next game even though you’re not ready to look forward because you haven’t fully processed the one just gone . . . That’s why the bye week is a major advantage for any team going into a game. After the Galway game Kilkenny did a recovery session on the Monday and then didn’t train again until Thursday. They were able to get away from it all, let it wash off them, not force it.”

Twist it another way, suppose the championship retained 2016’s knockout format with a back door. (It didn’t, but I’m only supposin’.) Offaly play Galway in Leinster’s first round, Galway lead 2-9 to 1-7 at half-time and eventually win 5-18 to 2-15. Three weeks later, Offaly go to Kilkenny for a subsequent qualifier. The hosts lead 1-16 to 1-13 with ten minutes to go, and eventually win 2-19 to 1-13. In that case, Offaly would wish the next six months away, waiting for next year. But now, that’s not going to happen.
Bord na Mona man wrote:If Offaly get a reprieve in Leinster, then fine. But we are on shaky ground. I’d say we’re giving the Joe McDonagh counties great motivational fodder while we're at it.

The argument that less players will commit if we’re a demoted. That same logic suggests there are quality players in Westmeath and Carlow who won’t commit due to the level they’re operating at.
Which then makes Offaly even worse for struggling against these sides who are implicitly shorn of talent, while we have closer to our full pick.

Also, maybe the commitment thing will shake out a few stragglers. For the past 20 championships, Offaly have picked up a double digit beatings in 15 of those campaigns (See below).
Just my own personal opinion, but the players who give up trying the earliest in these games are usually the players who are the quickest to spit the dummy and drop off panels.
This applies to football also. I think mentality in the county hasn't been great. With the Crunchie Board, rightly in many cases, being the first point of blame, some questionable attitudes from certain players has escaped examination.

Personally I'd rather build the foundations on the players who roll up their sleeves and drag us back out of the Joe McDonagh, than the ones who pick and choose when to commit.

Offaly's biggest defeat each championship since 1998.
Year - Margin- Opponent
1999 10 Kilkenny
2000 13 Kilkenny
2001 12 Kilkenny
2002 13 Tipperary
2003 5 Tipperary
2004 9 Clare
2005 31 Kilkenny
2006 10 Limerick
2007 19 Cork
2008 18 Kilkenny
2009 13 Cork
2010 6 Tipperary
2011 4 Dublin
2012 14 Galway
2013 4 Waterford
2014 26 Kilkenny
2015 20 Clare
2016 14 Westmeath
2017 24 Waterford
2018 24 Wexford
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

Plain of the Herbs
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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:50 pm

Okay, touché. It’s a liberal interpretation of ‘top hurling county’ on my part.
True Red wrote:Genuine question POTH - do you think Offaly are entitled to be labelled as a Top Hurling county?
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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by Plain of the Herbs » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:53 pm

I refer you to Jackie Tyrrell’s comments of the three (or four) successive matches in today’s Irish Times. And I ask, did Offaly deserve to be relegated a fortnight ago? Or a month ago?

The thing is, and I think I made this point yesterday, Offaly’s hurling and decision making isn’t going to improve hurling at the lower level. Rather, I believe it’s going to deteriorate. I could live with the relegation if it came last year, when Offaly hurling looked like it had no future. But there were clear signs of improvement up to two weeks ago.
timber wrote:Offaly hurlers deserve to be relegated. two atrocious displays against Wexford and in particular Dublin. I know 4 weeks in a row is very tough but there should not be that big a gap between the teams.

Offaly hurling needs to harden up for one thing. Both physically and mentally. Club games are too soft. And I don't mean fouling or silly dirty belts. From what I can see Offaly players find the pace and aggression in county games very hard to handle. Current Offaly players are far too slow on the ball and in decision making. That all comes from bad habits of playing in club games that lack real championship intensity and are played at a far slower pace.

I hope Kevin stays on and all the players stay on board. They can go sulk like some of our footballers do or they can go out and start shutting the likes of Loughnane up by putting in good performances. Starting with giving the Joe McDonagh cup a right good lash next year and working their way back.

Loughnane mentioned offaly and "self pity". He was talking through his arse because most of the people giving out about Offaly being relegated are from outside our County. If there is anything in our Offaly hurlers they will use that as motivation and keep the heads down, work very hard, and go out and prove to everybody that the Joe McDonagh cup is not "their level" and shove that up Loughnane and shut him up.
Pat Donegan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.

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Re: Reflections on Relegation

Post by GreatDayForTheParish » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:22 pm

Plain of the Herbs wrote:And so, it came to pass, and Offaly slipped out of Leinster hurling. The end of an era, the first time since 1921 that Offaly won’t contest the Leister Senior championship, the time befoe that was 1895, before the County Board’s foundation.

There has been much debate since Sunday. Now, there are some (I’m thinking Klare, Galway, Tipperary) who are guided by spite. And they have to live with the weight of that. I am surprised by several reasonable people who think relegation will be good for Offaly – more about that anon. And there are others who produce statistics merely to prove an argument, despite the sandy foundations to those same statistics.

Truth to tell, I could accept Offaly’s relegation had it happened twelve months ago. But much has changed in the interim. Kevin Martin stopped the rot, got Offaly competitive again, got hurlers who has opted out to put their lives on hold and to commit to Offaly’s cause.

Taking last Sunday individually, Offaly were over-ran for the first 20 minutes but steadied up after that and played some decent hurling. The penalty decision was incorrect, everybody knows that, thought there is no guarantee it would have been converted. Still, there was a single score between the sides at that point – leave aside the final margin for a minute -so it was a critical decision, though not unexpected. The Dublin goal was, naturally, a hammer blow from which a tired team relying on heart was not going to recover.

The improvements this year might not have borne out shock results against superior teams, but that’s not how the year should be measured. Rather, measure the Kilkenny performance against the same opposition in 2014. Measure the Galway performance against the same opposition a year ago. Measure the NHL quarter-final against Kilkenny with the 2016 quarter-final against the same opposition. Measure the NHL performance against Leix against that of the previous year.

The regret must be that Kevin Martin didn’t come in three years sooner, for so much ground was lost in the interim. He brought organisation and the players responded.

Relegation is a disaster for Offaly on so many fronts. Mainly, the next step is to speed up the pace at which Offaly play their hurling. The ball needs to stick, and they need to hurl faster on instinct. Whether Damian Fox is the man to coach this, or there is a better alternative, is something that should be looked at. Anyway, that quickening is not going to happen at a lower level – of all the hypotheses that have been thrown about in the last week, that one is a fact.

So many have claimed that Offaly won’t commit if they keep getting beaten at the high level. They’ve got it backways. Hurlers are competitive sports people who strive to be the best that they can be. That cannot happen hurling at a lower level. And anyway, they committed this year, didn’t they. Johnny Dooley was quoted in a paper on Saturday, doubting several of the squad will commit next year. Well, he’s got his ear to the ground, has a nephew on the Offaly team, has a son who is a Senior club hurler. That’s enough for me.

Matches in the lower division Joe McDonagh Cup (how did Joe McDonagh come to be more highly rated than Christy Ring?) will be given the graveyard slot, 3pm on a Saturday, when no one knows they are on. And no amount of ‘morketing’, tweeting, glossy posters or other promotion is going to change that. Remember the round robin match against Carlow with hardly anyone there? There will be no more crowds of 8,000 to see the All-Ireland champions visit Tullamore. No possibilities for promotion. And with the abolition of Leinster semi-finals, there are no opportunities to have a Galway v Kilkenny or Galway v Dublin game in Tullamore.

Those who think the lower division is a place for rehabilitating lost hurling souls need only look across the Kinnitty mountains towards Laois. They are the ones who had the model underage structure while Offaly’s floundered, they reached the odd Leinster U21 and minor final when Offaly couldn’t. Relegation has driven them to new depths.

There may well be spending cuts too – there will have to be if income is reduced – I imagine there will be less sponsorship income, both on a macro and micro level. Which leads to diminished standard of team preparation.

Some claim the new round robin structure has been the greatest thing to happen hurling, pointing to the Munster series currently in progress. But take a closer look - Munster, known for dunting and boring, and pulling timber, and spilling blood, has been reduced to resemble a playground. Hurlers in acres of space, hardly a tackle thrown in, hardly a shoulder driven into a chest. Don’t be fooled – because a match ends 1-32 to 2-29 or whatever, is not an indication of good quality hurling. One of the greatest matches of all time was 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time.

And why is Leinster cut of at five counties, merely because Munster is? There are more counties than that in Leinster. And that’s without taking in the cuckoos from across the Shannon. Antrim remain in line for promotion – that’ll be great crack if that happens.

Has anyone else noticed the Christy Ring Cup winners are not automatically promoted? Instead they must play-off with the team who finish second from the bottom of the Joe McDonagh Cup.

And there are those patting Offaly on the head, telling us Offaly will get five matches in the group next year, and won’t it be great. They are that ignorant of the various grades they do not know the Joe McDonagh Cup competition is to be reduced to five counties next year. And the carrot of advancing to an All-Ireland quarter-final is a poisoned one. Firstly, the two Joe McDonagh teams will not advance to an All-Ireland quarter-final, rather they advance to an eighth-final. Again, patting someone on the head, calling it a preliminary quarter-final. I work with figures, a half of a quarter is an eighth, not a preliminary quarter.

It is bullshit, and rather than going good for hurling, it is going to reduce even further the number of top counties. Bad, on so many levels.

The intention and thoughts are honourable but I would disagreee with this almost in its entirety.
Offaly deserve to be relegated. It has been coming since 2005 and THAT loss to Kilkenny. Each of those 13 years bringing a new ‘low’. Are we not all fed up of the ritual hammerings?

Our last result of any note was against Limerick in 2008 - a whole 10 years ago. I do not accept on any level that this year was appreciabley better. There is no objective evidence to support any claim of improvement. The results and performances of 2018 were same old same old of the last 13 years - sporadic fits of competitiveness within some games before an inevitable significant loss. Speaking of old, a front eight containing some combination of Currams, Dooley, Colin Egan, Conor Mahon, Joe Bergin does not inspire hope for the future. Instead it speaks more about the ambition, imagination and capability of Kevin Martin, or lack therof. This is not a young team. We know there has been no underage success.

The county and the county board clearly need fire because the last 13 years obviously hasn’t been enough.
Sometimes you have to burn the house down to rebuild it. Time will tell if anybody has the interest to do just that.
Last edited by GreatDayForTheParish on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by private joker » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:40 pm

The reality is you cannot expect mgt to work with players who are just simply not there. It is up to clubs, county board, volunteers to produce enough inter county standard players for mgt to work with. This has not happened in a long , long time. Last decent under 21 team from Offaly was 2008.

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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by biffinbanner » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:50 pm

dublin lost by 2pts 2pts and 1pt to kk wex and galway .we conceded 62(or was it 65?) points more than we scored. time for realism. joe mcdonagh is our level until we prove otherwise.

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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by first_touch » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:12 pm

Lads, I don't think anyone is arguing that Joe McDonagh is not our level. The question is will it do any good for Offaly hurling or will it sink it even further. I'm in agreement with POTH that it will be damaging to hurling in Offaly.

But remaining in the Leinster championship, while the current format is maintained, would do no good for Offaly, and teams of our level, either. Thus, seeking to make a special exception for Offaly to remain in the Liam McCarthy is missing the point.

If the GAA really wanted to improve the standard of hurling in let's call them 'second tier' counties it would scrap the Joe McDonagh and bring three more teams into a Rest of Ireland' championship (which is effectively what the Leinster championship was for the last few years). Have two groups of four, seeded (or maybe not seeded - now that would really be revolutionary!!). Play three games in a round robin over a four-week period, so there is a two-week break between rounds two and three. The top teams from each group play a 'Leinster' Final, the winner goes straight to an All-Ireland semi-final, the loser to the quarter finals. The second team from each group go forward to play-offs for the quarter finals with the third and fourth placed teams in Munster.

I know this proposal has its flaws but it would be inclusive rather than elitist, it would give teams like Offaly at least three games with teams playing - on the basis of current form - at a higher or similar level to themselves, it would avoid the punishing schedule of playing four games within 21 or 28 days, it would not confer an unfair advantage on teams with bigger squads, and it would prevent a situation where you have teams of the calibre of both Tipperary and Waterford gone out of the championship on the second Sunday of June.

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Re: Offaly Senior Hurlers Championship Thread

Post by LooseCannon » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:46 pm

"The greatest one in a row in history."

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