Football Championship 2014.....

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  bocerty on Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:17 am

A different slant on the analysis of Sundays game from Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny: Spare me the Kerry ‘cuteness’ and Donegal’s triumph not a ‘tactical masterplan’
Bad finishing and bad refereeing had bigger impact than tactical calls as Martin Breheny exposes three myths from the All Ireland semi-finals

The grand old train to Black & White Street has been busy since last weekend, packed with passengers who cannot wait to get together to share in the joy of being so, so right in their analysis of the All-Ireland football semi-finals.

Since the theories always follow the results, it comes down to this: the winners were better prepared, physically and mentally; they were fitter, cuter and more ambitious.

The winning managers were smart and inventive, their losing counterparts, naïve and slow to react.

All pure guff, of course, but it's what passes for much of the modern-day punditry, which trades almost exclusively in absolutes: winners absolutely right, losers absolutely wrong. Still, once everyone is aboard the same train, who cares?

There is an alternative train, one that caters for Reality Row rather than Black & White Street. I jumped aboard and discovered that the three main items for discussion from last weekend were as follows:

1. That McGuinness didn't wipe Gavin's eye in the tactical battle of the Jims

Wondrous tales of how McGuinness had forensically analysed Dublin's game plan over recent weeks have been circulating, with Donegal's 3-14 to 0-17 win offered as proof positive that he succeeded most emphatically. And yet! Dublin missed two clear goal chances in the opening 25 minutes, which had nothing to do with Donegal's structures or tactics and everything to do with dismal finishing.

If those two efforts had been converted into goals - and there was nothing McGuinness could have done to prevent them or Gavin to score them - Dublin would have led by 2-9 to 0-4, presenting an altogether different, and probably insurmountable, challenge for Donegal.

In effect, it was bad play by highly-rated Dublin forwards, rather than tactical genius by McGuinness or sideline errors by Gavin that left Donegal only five points behind when they should have been 11 adrift.

McGuinness deserves enormous credit for Donegal's achievements over four seasons but would his tactical nous have counted for anything if Dublin had scored two first-half goals?

Last year, McGuinness had to watch helplessly as Donegal took a 16-point hammering from Mayo. Was that down to tactical errors?

Of course not. There are days when one team plays better than the opposition. Tactics and attitude are important but to elevate them to the status of sole arbiter, as now happens all the time, is ridiculous.

2. That Kerry's cuteness beat Mayo

Spare me from the 'yerra, Kerry are Kerry' line, which comes with the inference that their footballers are automatically cuter than their counterparts from elsewhere. Kerry are certainly better than their rivals much of the time, testified by 36 All-Ireland title wins, but that doesn't make them consistently cleverer.

Cuteness had nothing to do with Kerry's win over Mayo, in a contest where one score separated the sides after 160 minutes. Tight calls counted for a lot more than cunning in this particular battle and the truth is that a disproportionate amount went Kerry's way.

Lee Keegan's dismissal, which the GAA's disciplinary system conceded was wrong, in the first half of the drawn game almost certainly cost Mayo victory. In the replay, Kerry should have been down to 14 men for three-quarters of the way but escaped because of a refereeing mistake.

When Mayo went two points ahead in the first period of extra-time, they were pegged back by points from frees which should not have been awarded. Kerry cuteness? No, just very bad refereeing decisions against Mayo over both games.

3. That the Mayo squad is a beaten docket, who will never go all the way and win an All-Ireland

Really? How many counties are ahead of them? When everyone returns in January, Mayo will be still in the top four. They are virtual certainties to reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals next August, at which stage what happened last weekend will be largely irrelevant.

They need a fresh injection of talent (who doesn't?) but their squad is still a long way ahead of most others. The notion that their spirit will be broken by bad experiences over the last few seasons is pure rubbish, however fashionable it may be.
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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Gaa_lover on Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:49 pm

Martin Breheny had money on Mayo v Dublin final by the looks of it. The what ifs.. Is there a game that Dublin don't create and miss a number of goals maybe Monaghan are wondering what if those goals in as many minutes wasn't scored against them in quarter final. The real what if is Jim mcguinness didn't take over in 2010 where would they be now.

As for Mayo I see Mr Breheny didn't mention that same ref helped them reach the semi final in the first place and also gave them a late free to win this game out of nothing actually the a Kerry player was fouled in the build up but hennelly kicked it short. If Kerry (yes another what if) had their shooting boots on (10 scores from 30 shots) they would have won in normal time pulling up.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Boxtyeater on Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:56 pm

Just a quick observation in that I feel that Eamon Fitzmaurice may have erred in excluding Declan O'Sullivan and Sheehan from the start, as their foot-passing and guile would have steadied the ship early on.
Pointless calling on them and also Darran O'Sullivan, to accomplish a rescue mission, as by then Donegal will have the Donaghy threat well sorted.
This is a weak Kerry 15, bereft of battle-hardened warriors and reliant on an already poor backline. Doubtless O'Mahony and O'Sé are doughty and crafty, but the legs are hardly what they were.

Donegal in a canter.....

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Gaa_lover on Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:34 pm

Poor final in what has been a poor year for football ( could count on one hand the amount of good games). Very little between the sides it was going to take something special or a bad error to separate the sides unfortunately the latter happened and would have to feel sorry for Durcan who was probably going to win All-star before todays display. Well done to kerry though to win in transition without cooper etc is a fine achievement but surely the overall quality has to improve next year?

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  bocerty on Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:46 pm

Boxtyeater wrote:Just a quick observation in that I feel that Eamon Fitzmaurice may have erred in excluding Declan O'Sullivan and Sheehan from the start, as their foot-passing and guile would have steadied the ship early on.
Pointless calling on them and also Darran O'Sullivan, to accomplish a rescue mission, as by then Donegal will have the Donaghy threat well sorted.
This is a weak Kerry 15, bereft of battle-hardened warriors and reliant on an already poor backline. Doubtless O'Mahony and O'Sé are doughty and crafty, but the legs are hardly what they were.

Donegal in a canter.....

would have totally agreed with you Boxty before throw in - couldnt see Kerry winning if i am honest but Fitzmaurice had a game plan to fight fire with fire and it worked - the goal at the start was cuteness personified, everyone expecting Donaghy at the edge of the square but Kerry had other ideas.

The Durcan incident was unfortunate but it was only then that Donegal started to play and got themselves back in the game through McBearty - the game was still in the melting pot at that point.

A poor enough spectacle but fascinating tactical battle all the same,

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:41 am

A few obsevations on an fairly forgettable AI final:

- The game featured sides who set up with very similar formations. The both played with 2 spare men at the back, meaning that the central passage would rarely be open, and every score would be hard come by. In contrast to their semi-finals when both sides played against more ambitious opposition, this was the boxing equivalent of two counterpunchers waiting for the other to make the first move.

- Donegal are the most tactically disciplined side we've ever seen, but their commitment to their zonal defence rendered them incapable of (or unwilling to) pressure Kerry in the last 10 minutes. There was one spell in the dying stages when Kerry kept the ball for a couple of minutes, simply passing the ball across the midfield area, with Donegal reluctant to come out and pressure them.

- I predicted a Kerry victory in the Tipster competition with some confidence. They were improving all year and were very organised. They had a better midfield than anything that Donegal had faced to this point, and their manager was more astute than the one they faced in the semi. They are also a filthy shower, and always have been, and were never going to let Murphy or Lacey get into the game.

- On the other hand, despite their great win over the Dubs, I don't think that Donegal are the same side that they were 2 years ago. I'm happy to accept victory in the Ryan vs Mark debate of a couple of months ago, while McFadden is a shadow of his 2012 best. Donegal were also shy of depth - McBrearty and Toye should really both be starters, while their bench had been exhausted before Brick Molloy got his customary 2 minutes.

- Kerry are Kerry. They did this in 1997 and again in 2000, both times coming with seemingly poor or young sides, and both times beating fancied opposition. Their ability to produce strong, technically sound players is a credit to their county, and their manager deserves enormous credit for organising them. By contrast, this leaves me even more annoyed when Tyrone fans tell me that we shouldn't expect to be challenging anymore after all our recent retirements - Kerry are challenging and winning, and they haven't had the underage success that we had.

- Fair player to Kieran Donaghy. He was always a big game player, but I must admit to thinking him washed up some time ago. He looked better than he has for years this summer, and Kerry wouldn't have won without him. The last 3 games will have gone a long way to adding to his legacy as a Kerry great.

- Dublin must be kicking themselves. By a long, long way, they were the best team in the country all year and, in my opinion, would have beaten Donegal on most days other than the one on which they played. They'll be back again in 2015 as the team to beat, but Kerry too can push on and improve. Donegal, with or without Jimmy, may find it more difficult to get back to the summit again.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  bocerty on Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:42 pm

TC like you I did wonder why Jimmy didn't throw caution to the wind with 10 or so minutes left, after the 2nd goal they raised their game got within a point and then almost retreated again into their defensive set up. Was there no plan B here, it seems they were intent on sticking to the rigid formation they set out with.

Kerry seemed to have planned for their big names having a limited influence on the game Jimmy on the other hand didn't.

Another point I totally agree with is how Kerry can keep churning out victories and All Ireland's while in transition, make no mistake this is far from a good Kerry team but they are All Ireland champions, they won the minors for the first time since Fitzmaurice himself was a minor and they have the Hogan Cup too. They are doing something right down there, begs the question why we can't do the same in Tyrone.

Jack O'Connor coaching the minors is a master stroke young guys learning at an early age what it takes to be a winner from someone who has been there done it and got the t-shirt in Tyrone we have gimps looking after our underage teams who haven't a bucks notion

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  Thomas Clarke on Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:38 pm

Their whole set-up is to be envied. That regional championship that they have has long been a stroke of genius. Lads from junior and intermediate sides form regional teams to play against the senior clubs, thus giving the boys from lesser teams the chance to play meaningful competitive games at a high level. By contrast, a fella in junior/intermediate football in Tyrone is expected to shine in a trial match in October, playing against better players than he's been used to going up against all year. Regional sides help improve junior and intermediate footballers by allowing them to compete equally against senior players.

They also seem to pay particular attention to catching and kicking a long ball. We have plenty of nice short kickers, but few who can hit the ball 50 yards. We've less again who can catch it, though in part that is due to them all being too small.

Development squads with no overall accountability are a disaster. A coach in charge of the U14s will have no interest in the long term project that is the big, clumsy athlete. They know that it will be 5-6 years before he is good enough to shine, and they are in the business of 'winning now'. The coach of the U16s wants to coach the minors, and he wants to coach the U21s. They are all only interested in picking players who can contribute immediately, and those are typically the fast, skilful (small) player. Those lads shine as underage players, but it takes a different sort to win at senior. In Tyrone we have a lot of people who think that we have nothing to learn. Kerry have shown that we are fooling ourselves.

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Re: Football Championship 2014.....

Post  bald eagle on Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:36 am

I'd agree with your last post TC, i think that every county can learn from the Regional Championship set up they have. I think it's a brilliant thing that gives players from "weaker" clubs the chance to test their skills against the bigger clubs. They tried it even in Warwickshire one year where 3 clubs joined to be a "region" and on the whole it was well received. It ultimately fell apart as a few clubs from one "region" did not support it, which led to one club from the Warks Junior league playing under the "regional" name an getting a pasting.

As for the All Ireland "football" final, Jesus it was awful altogether!

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