How can Austin Stacks beat Dr Crokes
Published 16/10/2013 | 05:36
KEEP Crokes wing backs on the back foot
Dr Crokes half back line of Eoin Brosnan, Fionn Fitzgerald and Shane Myers have crippled oppositions with their attacking play and forays forward. All three are comfortable soloing the ball and all three have pace, even Brosnan when he stretches those legs. Stacks have to ensure that they keep this line on the back foot as much as possible, and that means putting the ball in over their heads and forcing to turn and face for their own goal. Darragh Long and Shane Callaghan have to win the ball first time inside and then Greg Horan, Paul O'Donoghue and Mikey Collins have to be running in to take the ball off them at pace. Any ball turned over or intercepted will be snaffled up by Brosnan, Fitzgerald and Myers and carried forward, so Stacks must make the ball stick inside and they must have a high conversion rate off those chances.
Win the midfield battle
Ambrose O'Donovan and John Buckley have developed into the best midfield partnership in the county, and Buckley's high-fielding and ball carrying perfectly complements O'Donovan's robust, hard-tacking style, and is often the foundation for most of Crokes wins. Kieran Donaghy and Barry Shanahan must win at least 60 percent of the primary possession around midfield if they are to give their forwards enough ball to win the game, while also limiting the supply of ball to the Crokes forwards. Donaghy is capable of outfielding Buckley, but Darragh O'Brien's kickouts will have to be pin-perfect. On Dr Crokes kickouts the Stacks pair will have to try and split Buckley and O'Donovan, (pictured) while the half backs and half forwards need to be jumping on the breaking ball and not allow Crokes to break from midfield.
Don't concede cheap goals
To a man the Dr Crokes forwards are deadly in creating and executing goal chances. Against Legion last weekend they ran in three and could have had six. For a team noted for their methodical and patient build-up, Crokes also have the awareness to hit long ball into an isolated forward and put themselves into one-on-one situations. They rarely miss from there. The Stacks defenders cannot be left isolated inside the 21-metre line, while those further out will have to keep the pressure on the Crokes player in possession and not afford him the time and space to hit a 40-metre pass inside.