have your say
Lost boys driven away in despair
I've just read your excellent article about how the GAA is suffering because of the current emigration problem [Hold the Back Page, Nov 28]. I'm from Moate in Co Westmeath and I've been in Sydney, Australia since 2004.
I was walking the dog around Kirribilli (North Sydney) last Friday evening and I met two young Irish lads on my journey. They were wearing their GAA jerseys. I stopped to say hello. They had been in Australia for around ten days and were terribly homesick and very angry with the behaviour of the Irish government. They said they loved Ireland and they never wanted to leave but that the government drove them out. They didn't want to be anywhere else but in Ireland and close to their friends and family.
We were standing on the harbour foreshore; the harbour, the bridge and the opera house were in the background and it was a lovely 20 degrees and the sun was setting -- ie, it was a nice spot to be in on a lovely evening. These boys didn't care about the beauty spot that we were in, they wanted to be in Ireland.
They said that they had never been so upset in their lives and that they didn't know what the future held for them. When could they go back to Ireland and get a job, were they going to have to settle down in Australia to avoid the Irish dole queue, when would they see their parents again, their dream of living in their own parish was evaporating. It's not that Ireland is just losing its GAA players but Ireland is deeply upsetting these young people too.
Southern game has passed us out
I read Jim Glennon's article in the Sunday Independent [Nov 28] and couldn't agree more. While we in this hemisphere do not measure up to the other half physically, that I believe can and is being addressed. Where we fall flat on our collective faces (Six Nations) is addressing the subject of physics.
In our game at this moment in time, we do not devote enough attention to passing out of the tackle. The southerners have it off to a tee. They do not carry the ball too close to the body, it is carried about three/four inches away from the mainframe. This gives them the nanosecond they need to effectively deliver the ball from contact or just prior to contact with the devastating effect it has for the receiver running at pace. Rush defences are put under immense pressure to negate this and are invariably breached.
So is the answer to our problems to combine incisive running lines with slick and quick passing of the ball when it is held just that little bit more away from the clutch or underarm system which is our default position and which we seem to revert to from mini rugby upwards? We correctly run with the ball in two hands anticipating the pass but at the very last moment or just before the tackle situation, we seem to pull it back into the body and try to deliver it to the receiver. This sometimes works but when defenders are in your face, then vital forward momentum is lost.
Rugby Union has gained a hell of a lot from the League coaches that are now proliferating the code, especially the defensive allignments now used, and League is fantastic at passing out of the tackle, but when it fails, the game stops. Not so in Union -- the game continues in the form of either a ruck or, exceptionally, a maul. We need to give ourselves the advantage that the southern hemisphere sides have in their ability to pass the ball out of contact that bit quicker and, as a result, put defences on the back foot.