Gallagher lucky he's got the players to exploit opposition weak links
Published 17/06/2015 | 02:30
Rory Gallagher identified a weakness in the Armagh defence on Sunday and exploited it. It was simple, calculated and brilliant management. He knew Charlie Vernon would follow Michael Murphy, leaving his full-back line vulnerable to the high ball. The plan worked perfectly.
But Gallagher has the players to do it. How many teams do we now see using Donegal's tactics despite not having the players to pull it off.
Donegal tactics are unique to Donegal. They are, and always have been, a handpassing team. Supporting the man on the ball is second nature to them. It's how they played in 1992 when the won their first All-Ireland.
They have three full-forwards in Colm McFadden, Murphy (when he plays there) and Paddy McBrearty that are big, strong and physical players that can win their own ball who happen to be deadly accurate. Players like them are in short supply.
Monaghan have them and have transformed their team in the last three years. Kildare have them in Smith and Fogarty but don't have a selfless, hard-working half-forward line. Kerry have them but play a different style, especially now that Gooch is back.
Credit must go to Mayo management for refusing to get sucked into the defensive game-plan.
Their players couldn't play it anyway. Imagine Jason Doherty or Kevin McLoughlin as full-time sweepers?
My advice to managers is to get to know your players and devise a game-plan that best suits them, not one that suits Donegal's players.
Then look at the opposition, identify their weaknesses and make some subtle changes to exploit them. Is it just me or does that sound easy?