Basic skills suffer as 'purists' take control
IF what we endured at Pearse Park yesterday is typical of what we can expect in 2008 then God help Gaelic football. Apart from a handful of exciting scores and the threat of a tight finish, this was diabolical football.
Some Longford and Westmeath people will be offended at that but let them watch the video for themselves. For long periods the match was played in near silence; in fact I could hear people talking in the stand on the other side of the ground at times.
The problem is typical of modern Gaelic football. In between the two 45m lines there were usually about 16 players close together. Both sides had so-called third midfielders and further extra players crowded into the same area all the time. When a high ball was directed to midfield, only from kickouts of course, the ball was inevitably broken down and a melee ensued as five or six players tried grabbing for the ball -- or each other at times to prevent others getting the ball. This, my friends, is gaelic football as the modern-day 'purists' are telling the players to play. These are the men with the football brains, the excellent coaches and all the other 'experts' who crowd dressing rooms nowadays.