Wednesday 26 October 2016

Colm Parkinson: Defensive game-plan needs a clear idea in attack

Colm Parkinson

Published 15/07/2015 | 02:30

John Heslin: Would have been a better lone attacker for Westmeath
John Heslin: Would have been a better lone attacker for Westmeath

Westmeath were right to use a defensive game-plan the Leinster final against Dublin.

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However, they got their attacking tactics all wrong. There seemed to be absolutely no understanding from the Westmeath management about what makes a defensive game-plan work. Packing the defence is the easy part.

Westmeath played Shane Dempsey as a lone attacker. He's fast but lacks the strength to hold off two defenders.

Why wasn't John Heslin or Kieran Martin, or both, played up front? Heslin is incredibly accurate and can create a score out of nothing. Martin is a good ball winner and great at using his strength to take his man on. They seemed like the perfect double act for the job.

Successful defensive teams like Monaghan and Donegal use Conor McManus and Darren Hughes and Paddy McBrearty and Colm McFadden as lone attackers.

A mix of scoring and ball winning is essential because the chances are they will be double-marked.

Westmeath got it all wrong and only scored one point - from a free - in the first 26 minutes before they changed it and moved them up front. The team performed well but management will have regrets.

Irish Independent

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