The first half of this game was a bit of a tactical nightmare. We seemed to have no full forward line at all. Danny was moved out to the half forwards early, and even before that he seemed to be the puck out target. There was so much room in the full forward line that there was one time Skehil lost the ball in the sun, it landed at his feet, he had time to figure out what happened and pick it up and clear it. 5 or 6 balls went into a non existent full forward line for easy clearances. Galway are really good, awesome at times, but we were making them look better.
Paul Ryan has a lot to contribute, but he can’t be a primary ball winner in the full forward line on his own. He is neither fast enough or strong enough. Treacy played out the field all the time. McGibb made a difference when he went in to the full forward line, but not enough of one.
Winters and Dillon changed everything, more Winters though then Dillon probably. But both were more physical and gave the backs a harder time. Treacy showed a bit of class from time to time. Boland was also able to show a bit of class and got a good score. Sutcliffe is absolutely fabulous. He gets dogs abuse from the defenders but keeps tearing into them. He is probably the best tackler on the team as well as his ball winning.
Every young player has a game where they discover they are above averagely good at this standard, and i think yesterday was Rian McBrides, that was the day we have been waiting for since he was a minor, he was one of the best on the field from both teams. Cian came on and did ok too.
Not everyone was good, and some were good for patches and made mistakes other times. Galway were generally crisper and more methodical then we were. There was one passage of play where one of our guys (not sure who) was going on a great solo run down the middle and he had a Dublin player off to his left who was on for a certain score, but he gave the ball to his right because it is just an easier skill to execute at high speed. You can’t have that at this standard - there is a range of skills that players have to have and need to be able to execute 9 times out of 10.
But this team was based on who was available, and also to give guys a chance who hadn’t had it all year. So it was a selection that came with caveats.
For next year, we will bring into the team (the team from the Kilkenny game for instance) probably Dillon, Boland and possibly Winters. Burke will be back and thereabouts also. There will be one or two promotions from the u21s also. Maybe Conroy could fit into the half back line allowing Moran to midfield which may be a good position for him. If Conroy did come into the half backs we would have a gigantic half back line!
But I think we will possibly have three new forwards who will improve what we have. It’s a small thing too, but I think if we had put Nolan on long distance frees earlier, we would still be in the championship…