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Letting O'Grady go a tactical disaster
The article 'Unfinished Revolution' in last week's edition regaring Donal O'Grady's departure from Limerick hurling rightly also highlighted questions on his tactical ability. However, the correspondent wrongly identified that the positioning of Brian Geary at 6 had backfired. Geary (in his 12th championship year and the longest-serving centre-back of the present era) had more than justified his position on the team with sterling displays against Waterford (man-of-the-match candidate), Wexford and Antrim.
What was regrettable in the Dublin game was that O'Grady elected to bring a forward back to protect the No 6 position after Geary had departed the scene and after three goals had been conceded by a suspect full-back line.
Limerick followers bemoaned the fact that Geary was absent from the play in the tight second half when their side was crying out for some leadership, that his replacement and team-mates failed to show, and continued to hurl aimlessly with a high wide total. The decision by O'Grady to continue to place Seamus Hickey at No 3 in this game was a tactical error that surprised most Limerick followers after his suspect displays in the earlier rounds.
While O'Grady's year will have been seen as successful in some quarters, the reality is that after the 2010 debacle it was not that difficult to organise and motivate this bunch of players, who showed they are well capable of competing at the highest level.
The biggest tactical error of all was made by the county board in agreeing a one-year contract that now leaves them to start all over again to try and regain their proper status in hurling.
'Win at all costs' will ruin the game
It is a shame that I'm not 'a win is a win' type as I could rejoice at another Kerry-Dublin final, and, doubtless time being the great healer that it is, in time I'd forget what I saw in the semi-final.
But what ever happened to the beliefs I was reared with, 'It matters little if you win or lose, what matters more was how you played the game?'
Okay, across the water we can blame money for it, but we can't do it here; we were supposed to be above that. Let them watch that match again and tell me, is this where we want GAA to go, win at all costs?
Devines show real competitive streak
From The Stands last week featured the Devine brothers who played against each other in last Sunday's Longford football final.
Bizarrely, there was another family of Devines in competition against each other in last Saturday's Meath intermediate football semi-final.
Jody Devine, All-Ireland winner with Meath, was coaching Gael Colmcille against his home club Ballinlough. His brother Kevin was playing for Ballinlough and his father, Mick, was in the Ballinlough dugout as a selector.
Boo boys have a long, loud history
I enjoyed Eamonn Sweeney's article [Sept 11] but I assure you, booing by irish soccer supporters goes back a long way.
I recall great servants like Dave Langan and Paddy Mulligan getting similar treatment when they were older. Of course, John Giles was also treated very badly when he tried to eliminate our old hell-for-leather approach. I go back to the '60s and can recall games when we pressed forward for 20 minutes and then inevitably got caught on the break. The press invariably gave us a moral victory. By the way, one E Dunphy was on some of those teams.
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Irish heroes of old still a cut above
HOw refreshing to read a letter on the so-called 'Golden Generation' of Irish rugby players by correspondent GR Baxter from Sandymount.
Like him, I watched internationals at Lansdowne Road in the 1960s and 1970s. That was a golden generation alright (Mike Gibson, Willie John McBride, Syd Millar, Ray McLoughlin, Johnny Moloney, Tom Kiernan, Tom Grace, Fergus Slattery, etc). The 1972 team is the best Irish team ever to set foot on a rugby pitch (victories in Paris and Twickenham, and the Scots and Welsh too frightened to come and play us). They not only 'gave it a lash'; they 'got their retaliation in first'. That has always been the Ballymena way.
The Springboks will still testify to the success of these old-fashioned methods.
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