offaly team versus westmeath

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

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Bord na Mona man » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:52 pm

Righto, the prevailing wisdom will be that Westmeath are in the driving seat. The majority of pundits would tip them based on being able to name one Offaly player and 4 or 5 Westies. Pay no heed to them.

"Home advantage" they say. Maybe if there was a big distance to travel, a big crowd and a hostile atmosphere it would be a notable factor. The crowd from each county will be even enough. It'll be a smaller crowd too and a Saturday afternoon will see the atmosphere non existent.

"Offaly blew their chance on Sunday". If we were 2 divisions below them and caught them by surprise, then such a view would hold more water.

"Offaly bottled it at the end". Look at the fear on Heslin when panicked and kicked 2 scorable frees backwards to Offaly players. It wasn't Offaly who bottled anything.

"Westmeath will never be as bad again" maybe not, but when have they been any great shakes? We've played them 3 times in just over a year and most of their hyped players have looked ordinary.
User avatar
Bord na Mona man
All Star
 
Posts: 3452
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:34 am

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby NewEra » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:14 pm

Best of luck to all today! Praying we get the job done and extend our summer
NewEra
Senior
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:50 pm

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Buttons » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:52 pm

Result didnt go our way but heads up for next week against Cavan.

I am only going to go through the positives from the game, the main one was obviously Cunninghams long range kicking, i think it was 4 points and all super scores. Secondly i think Conor McNamee at midfield had a good game for a young lad. Thirdly unlike other years we seem to have a bit of a squad with lads coming off the bench with a lot of experience (Panda, Anton, Joey). We have a relatively young team and i think a Leinster final in a few years could/ should be the goal.

This is the fourth time they played Westmeath and like the other 3 with 10-15 minutes left the game was even enough but we couldnt get over the line. The first WH goal was nearly identical to their league goal last year but we dug deep showing composure to get it back to 2 points.

To play to the level and speed that both teams showed with that heat shows the commitment that each player has shown, i for one seriously felt the heat in the second half never mind making having to make a 50m+ run.
Buttons
All Star
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:34 pm

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Lone Shark » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:31 pm

There's no question but that the scoreline was incredibly harsh. When we fired three points in a row after the goal to cut the gap from six points down to three, I would have said that any result was possible. Westmeath were still the slight favourites, but not by a long shot. It was there for the taking.

However a rash tackle from Cian Donohoe - I'll praise his performance over the two games, but it's hard to forgive a wild lunge at a Westmeath man offering no threat inside his own 45 like that - left them a man down, and in that heat, that was a huge handicap to carry. Too much. Even the mental blow alone, that overwhelming sense of "we've just shot ourselves in the foot here" was massive from where I was sitting, and I've no doubt the players felt the same.

Then you concede goals chasing the game, and suddenly all anyone can see is headlines talking about Westmeath's biggest win over Offaly 99 years - and that's incredibly harsh. I was in OCP in 2008 when Pat Roe picked about 12 backs in a team that was designed to contain Westmeath, and lo and behold just two players scored on the day. That was humiliating, because we waved the white flag before we ever started - it's still the most demoralising defeat I've ever witnessed, even though the final margin was a relatively moderate six points. This was nothing of the sort.

That said, there's no question but that picking ourselves up to play a really good Cavan team next Sunday evening will be incredibly difficult, and while I hope we put up a good showing, I'd be worried. There's no getting away from the fact that we've now played two full games and we haven't even created one goal chance - never mind scored a goal. The energy and effervescence that we showed against Laois, with Carroll and O'Connor running the show from midfield, is all gone. I know Carroll's injury has been huge, but the ability to take on and beat a man seems to be completely lacking.

I think the lack of goals, and the slight lack of energy, hasn't been helped by one thing - and I take no joy in saying this at all. Niall McNamee is clearly not fit enough to play intercounty football right now.

The man's talent goes without saying, and I make no claims about his own wellness or health - he might be carrying something, he might have had a bug he couldn't shake off, or he might just be feeling the lack of training over the winter and spring, but for whatever reason, he's clearly not able to survive in an intercounty environment right now. The game slows down when the ball goes through his hands, he's not able to get any separation from his markers, and the quick hands and speed of thought that were some of his best attributes are nowhere to be seen. If he drops deep, he's no use as at his best, he was never made for tackling and breaking out of defence. And up front, he's too easily marked and is only clogging up space.

Just to be clear, if Niall is fit and ready to play, he's a nailed on starter. However that's clearly not the case now and unless there is a health issue that's going to be cleared up by Sunday, there's no way we can start him. Send him on with twenty minutes to go by all means. That'll be a psychological lift, and he can expend what energy he has over a short burst rather than conserving it, but based on what we saw yesterday, I'd say Seán Doyle has to be ahead of him in the queue right now. I was surprised the Panda didn't get more playing time either across the two games, but he didn't have a good time when he was on the field so logic would suggest that he won't get a start.

There's no doubt that if we come in with the bit between our teeth, then there is a chance we could cause Cavan a lot of problems - and as it happens, if we're good enough to beat them, the draw is so lopsided this year that a trip to Croke Park in August for the bank holiday weekend isn't out of the question. That's not because I think that we're good enough to beat top tier teams, but because you'd do well to find another team as good as Cavan standing in your way between now and then.

That said, I remain fearful.
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
User avatar
Lone Shark
All Star
 
Posts: 5077
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: Back Home!

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby jimbob17 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:37 pm

There is no doubting that the team worked hard all year. It is hugely demanding on players time with little success so thanks to all players for the effort. The one frustration I have is seeing likes of Cunningham playing in defence when he clearly could offer forwards so much more - or even more at midfield. I don't like the idea of playing so many behind the ball as i feel it invites teams on. Can't fault players on this. Onto next day now which will be big ask. Will be interesting to see how that goes. If it goes Okay and we lose narrowly, Flanagan could stay on but if it becomes a - 6 or greater loss, he will find himself under pressure. Lets just hope they go out and go for broke the next day! Play without fear. Nothing to lose at this stage!
jimbob
jimbob17
All Star
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:40 am

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Lone Shark » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:11 am

jimbob17 wrote:There is no doubting that the team worked hard all year. It is hugely demanding on players time with little success so thanks to all players for the effort. The one frustration I have is seeing likes of Cunningham playing in defence when he clearly could offer forwards so much more - or even more at midfield. I don't like the idea of playing so many behind the ball as i feel it invites teams on. Can't fault players on this. Onto next day now which will be big ask. Will be interesting to see how that goes. If it goes Okay and we lose narrowly, Flanagan could stay on but if it becomes a - 6 or greater loss, he will find himself under pressure. Lets just hope they go out and go for broke the next day! Play without fear. Nothing to lose at this stage!


I wasn't a fan of the idea of Cunningham at centre back when it was first mooted, but surely by now it has to be seen as a roaring success? The man made a string of tackles, hoovered up breaks, kicked four points from play, won two scorable frees, and you think we could get more out of him? He was a force of nature in the second half yesterday, after being pretty good in the first. It also meant that Paul Sharry was having to think about his defensive duties instead of attacking. For me it was the best solo performance I've seen from any Offaly footballer in years.

Also, I wouldn't say we were being particularly defensive. We had one sweeper, and we all saw what happened in the closing minutes when the sending off forced the team to abandon that ploy. You need at least one extra man back in the modern game, going one on one close to your own goal is madness. And as for men behind the ball, if Westmeath charge forward with a number of supporting runners, of course it's going to look like we have huge numbers behind the ball - because if we didn't, they'd have men over and could work the ball through at their ease. It would be different if we were keeping six and seven men back when we had the ball ourselves, but that wasn't the case - all we're doing is tracking opposition runners, which is a basic requirement.

Inviting them on would be lining out with three or four sweepers and leaving all the Westmeath backs unmarked - but we're not doing that.

In fairness, we scored fifteen points, on a day when five of our starting six forwards scored 0-2 between them, despite having plenty of chances. I wouldn't call that being too defensive. I'd say the accusation was fair in the second half in Tullamore when we didn't commit enough men to the attack and so wasted opportunities to push home our advantage, but not yesterday,
Kevin Egan. Signed out of respect for players and all involved with Offaly.
User avatar
Lone Shark
All Star
 
Posts: 5077
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: Back Home!

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby pigeon house biffo » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:54 pm

On the cunningham point, he is probably our most potent attacking threat at present and so by that logic keeping him as close to goal as possible whilst still having him involved in general play has to be a priority. I would like to see him at centre forward moving forward. We are going to be under the gun against a Div 1 Cavan so we should let the lads just go at it hammer and thongs like they did against Kildare last year in Newbridge where we were really in the thick of it up until the usual discipline issues reared there heads. Nally from Ferbane and Sean Doyle should see at least 1 half of action, they have both looked promising this year when they have featured. A mention also to O'Connor who must be carrying some sort of knock to only get 10 minutes at the end of the game yesterday and who by all accounts showed well. The breaking up of his partnership with Carroll was unavoidable but I thought he'd have been a shoe in for a started given his performance in our biggest game of the year against Laois in the league. Is there a fitness issue here? I've seen him line out for the rynaghs hurlers recently so not sure how valid those claims would be? Did anyone at the game see any causes for optimism moving forward? The goals were a killer and going down to 14 in that weather was never going to bode well.

I see the Offaly Express resident mouthpiece has spoken up following the weekends games. Whilst I would be remiss to give him to much credit for what comes across as sensationalist tabloid journalism he does raise the question on motivation to play for either code in the county. I would look at the Rynaghs hurlers as a case in point. Perhaps it is arrogant to suggest it, but as the current county champions would it be fair to expect more than two representatives from the club on the county team? Both players have performed admirably with Ben Conneely in particular showing well in both u21 and senior games for the county. Rynaghs were comfortably superior than Birr last year and only a goalkeeping error on behalf of the rynaghs defence opened the door for Birr to come back into it somewhat. Kevin Ryan deserves 2/3 years at least, a carousel of managers coming and going is not wanted by the players as alluded to by Shane Dooley in an interview with Colm Parkinson earlier this year. Look at the Galway footballers 13 months ago, there is a new imputus about the place off the back of recent victories over Mayo, and this won't come about by tearing up the script ever 12/18 months. In any case, who would be realistically available that would improve on the current set up?

To come back more to the football side of things and the Pat Flanagan issue, by all regards he seems to have little issue in firing up lads before a game and he seems to be highly thought off from within the setup. Is there a difference between getting current panel players fired up before a game and looking like an attractive prospect to come and play under for a league and championship term? I'm not aware of too many noticeable absentees from the football setup that could come in and drastically change our fortunes. I therefore think that we probably are where we should be in reality; we were never in a position to take on WMeath head to head as they have too many game changers in comparision to ourselves. Should we be happy about exiting the leinster championship? No, but reality needs to factored in. We are probably one of if not the smallest county that aspires to compete at a reasonable level in both codes, which I think needs to be factored in also.
pigeon house biffo
Junior B
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:49 am

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby llkj » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:51 pm

pigeon house biffo wrote: We are probably one of if not the smallest county that aspires to compete at a reasonable level in both codes, which I think needs to be factored in also.


The only county that is smaller than us, and legitimately promotes and competes in both codes, is Carlow. Their population is 22,000 less than us, with just 56,000 people. Offaly has 78,000 people which is just less than Laois and Westmeath (84 and 88). It is interesting that these counties are at a similar level to us in both codes and have a lot of other similarities too - geographic location, both in Leinster, tradition of the sports being played, etc...

In my mind, here are the counties that promote both codes to more than just a 'lipservice' level, listed by order of their population. I know that these are not 100%, as you could argue that counties like Armagh should make the list, while others should not (such as Down or Wicklow).

Dublin - 1.3 million
Antrim - .6m
Cork - .54m
Down - .53m
Galway - .25m
Derry - .24m
Kildare- .22m
Limerick - .19m
Meath -.19m
Tipp - .16m
Wexford - .14m
Kerry - .14m
Wicklow - .14m
Clare - .11m
Waterford - .11m
Westmeath - .08
Laois - .08
Offaly - .07
Carlow - .05

At just a glance, you could argue that we will never be able to compete at an elite level again, while we try to cater to both codes. Not accounting for the counties with much larger populations than us that just focus on one code - Donegal, Tyrone, Kilkenny, Louth, it is clear that there are several counties in the dual list above that have way more scope for improvement than we do. For instance, Antrim or Down or Kildare or Limerick or Meath. If they do things right - schools, coaching, facilities, structures, etc... then they have the potential to jump way ahead of us in the pecking orders.

Is the best that we can hope for going forward that Offaly just get our own affairs in order - schools, coaching, best players playing, etc.... and not worry about results or just hope for the odd run in the championship here and there? That may well be the case, but it is certainly not easy to take, considering our successes in the recent past.
llkj
All Star
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:34 am

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby private joker » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:25 pm

I think if offaly got it's act together, it could have really successful club scene, competing and winning club level all Ireland's. At inter county level I just can't see offaly contesting a Leinster final let alone win Leinster or an all Ireland. Too much self harm by those within the county has ruled out success in the mid to long term, 10 to 15 years before offaly does anything in either code.
private joker
County player
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Bord na Mona man » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:55 pm

I'll go along with the consensus on the scoreline. If you get a man sent off early, you normally close up shop for a few minutes and then decide how you're going to set up once the instructions come through. When it happens when you're chasing a game, you still have to keep pressing and there time to re-organise.

With 5 minutes to go, Offaly were in with a decent shout. The Westmeath keeper didn't know where to kick the ball and Offaly were edging things. On the day, our forward line didn't entirely function. Yet there was some very good long range points kicked despite all this.

What Offaly needed over the two games was a good impact from 'off the shoulder' running options. Unfortunately the three best players for this; Joe O'Connor, Anton Sullivan and Niall Darby all had their involvement curtailed for different reasons.

On Saturday the key difference was that Westmeath were able to go that bit more direct with their attacks. The inside forwards like Heslin and Martin managed to stretch the Offaly defence when the got the ball in hand. If they didn't shoot themselves, they created opening for others. Offaly rarely penetrated in the same fashion.

Saturday was 25 years to the day to when Graham Taylor subbed off Gary Lineker at Euro '92 after 60 minutes. Niall McNamee being taken off early would have been a big shock a couple of years ago. While Lineker never played for England again, Niall still has plenty more to offer.

What Niall definitely needs a pre-season and league campaign building up his fitness and strength. In years gone by he could came back onto the team at 60% and still contribute. A player's speed is going to decline with age, but he can still build up his power over the winter. At the moment he gets knocked over and brushed off the ball more than he used to. If he could stay injury free and fresh into 2018, he can get back to his true level.
User avatar
Bord na Mona man
All Star
 
Posts: 3452
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:34 am

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby private joker » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:41 pm

Dublin destroying westmeath. I can only imagine what dublin would do to offaly
private joker
County player
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: offaly team versus westmeath

Postby Bord na Mona man » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:49 am

private joker wrote:Dublin destroying westmeath. I can only imagine what dublin would do to offaly

If Offaly had set up like Westmeath did, then it might well have been similar 25-35 point range. A more defensive set up and it probably would be in the 10-15 point range.
Westmeath weren't helped by playing 3 weekends in a row. Also there was a big clamour from the grassroots from within the county that they had to 'have a go' at Dublin.

Westmeath people were suggesting they'd rather lose by 15 after going on the attack, than lose by 15 playing it cagey. Unfortunately that's not how it works.
The Sunday Game fogies have a lot of people convinced that playing with adventure and abandon almost always reaps rewards and that sweepers and blanket defences are idiocy from a new breed of over analysing, android managers.
User avatar
Bord na Mona man
All Star
 
Posts: 3452
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:34 am

Previous

Return to Offaly GAA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 14 guests