Monday 26 August 2019

'You hear old men going mad' - Laois won't abandon their sweeper keeper

Graham Brody makes a foray upfield during Laois’s defeat against Westmeath in the Division 3 final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Graham Brody makes a foray upfield during Laois’s defeat against Westmeath in the Division 3 final. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

John Morley

One of the biggest grudge matches that took place at the weekend was between the Laois and Westmeath footballers.

Westmeath failed to pick up from their brilliant league final win over John Sugrue's team as Laois held out for a tense two-point victory.

In that league final, Westmeath were given a lifeline by the Laois goalkeeper Graham Brody. Brody came out like a true 'sweeper keeper' but unfortunately lost possession at the 45-yard line. Westmeath worked the ball in for a winning Ger Egan goal.

Despite that, Brody and Laois are still persisting with the extra man keeper as Brody made outfield forays much to the delight of the Irish Independent's chief GAA writer Martin Breheny, who applauded Brody on The Throw-In podcast, in association with Bord Gáis Energy.

"(Brody) was at it again yesterday, and I'm glad to see they haven't said, right, you stay where you are and he was looking for action all the time," said Breheny.

"With that wind it was tricky enough doing some of the short passing but in fairness to him we saw him goin out into the other half on occasion. So fair play, its nice to see that, its a bit of creativity and its good to see that they haven't ditched it just because they've conceded one goal off of it," said Breheny.

Irish Independent GAA reporter Michael Verney agreed with Breheny but noted that sections of the crowd were very put out by Brody's unorthodox goalkeeping.

"It's mostly old men, just going mad... Its the same when there's a blanket defence playing against you and someone gets the ball in midfield and they're all saying 'Leave it in' and theres so many bodies in there theres no point leaving it in," said Verney.

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"Particularly when you're trying to close out a game, the goalkeeper becomes really really important because he's the only free man, so when you're trying to hold possession for a minute or two he's the key man and in fairness Brody was always making himself available."

Breheny praised the fearlessness to which Brody played his role and said that Westmeath would have benefitted from 'having a go' like Brody and Laois did.

"There are times when the old fashioned 'have a go' is the way to go about it. Certainly in the second half Westmeath would have been better off to have a go from out the field a bit more, they didn't really have a pop at it at all," said Breheny.

Laois will now play Meath in a Leinster semi-final and Verney believes Sugrue's side can put it up to the Royals, highlighting their consistency as a big asset going into the clash with the 2010 Leinster champions.

"I would give (Laois) a chance. Its not a fifty-fifty game, its probably sixty forty in Meath's favour but I wouldn't be surprised if Laois upset them," said Verney.

"John Sugrue has done a lot of work, Loais have kind of solidified and are consistent now. I know in the league final they would have been disappointed, but in general, they are very consistent now, which you couldn't have said before."

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