Last night had a context of some sort, we just don’t know what that context was. If Dillon, Keaney and McMorrow went on at half time we would have won it, but it seems that wasn’t the priority. Lads like O Donnell and Sutcliffe are hurling away, and they weren’t even on the panel. It sort of reminds me of the football league final we lost under Gilroy to Cork where he put on a few unseasoned lads in the second half and they didn’t really perform and we lost the game (and a few of them were never really seen again). It seems he is prepared to lose matches to see who can do it and who can’t. Or that is my assumption anyway…
You can’t take lads straight from club hurling and put them out against guys who have done inter-county conditioning for a few years. You can maybe squeeze in 1 or 2, but not 8 or 9. There is sort of a grey area here on what is fair on supporters, if winning isn’t the priority and they don’t know that - but if it works out in the long run, it is probably ok.
From the new guys on that team, he has probably found Connolly as a genuine option, maybe Smith who did ok last night. I am not sure about anyone else. McBride did well enough last night, but not as a centre half back - that was a genuinely weird placement, like a lot of others, I didn’t think he would play there in the end, but he did.
Now, I know people are going to disagree with me on this, and I also know I must be wrong because two senior county managers and an U21 manager obviously see it otherwise. But from I have seen Burke isn’t ready for this yet. He was a superb minor, and he is going to be very good. But he just doesn’t seem to have the power or the pace yet. He is fine on a loose ball, and he will catch the odd decent ball, but he will only win one in 5 he contests at half forward. Even in the U21 game last year I thought he lacked enough power / aggression to make a difference. I guess he is showing it in training games, and he shows flashes in normal games, but for me he isn’t ready yet - or maybe he just isn’t coming into it mentally ready to really go at it. Whitely wouldn’t be as good a hurler, but is much more effective.
The full forward line was a right-off last night. They took off FORB very early, which I thought was tough on him as any of the three could have went off. I don’t think any ball actually stuck in there until Dillon went on. But again, I guess the plan was to see what guys can do and what they can’t.
Promotion is gone now as an option, which is a bit disappointing from a supporters point of view. But that team was so obviously a trial type team I wouldn’t be getting too discouraged by anything yet (however, it also has to be noted that it is a very consistent trial team based on all the game played so far). Just because I don’t really understand what is going on entirely, doesn’t mean it is wrong.
I think there is maybe only a maximum of 5 on that starting team that will be on the championship starting team.