Leinster SFC Final 2016, Dublin v Westmeath, Croke Park, Sun July 17th @ 4pm


McCaffrey is gone, thats done, we cant be talking as if he is out injured and might be back. McCarthy is rumors so lets wait and see. TO be honest, Small is getting better, as I said earlier in this thread I would have had him as MOTM against WM. He’s no Jack, but he’s a seriously good half back


I don’t dispute Small is very good. But he hasn’t been around the block yet. Even Jack got a few rough days in 2013 and 2014 when the stakes went up against the better teams which is part of the learning curve for a young player. I am surprised Gavin sees Con as a better option as Costello up front. Con hasn’t been around the block either and to be honest hasn’t done a whole lot either since he has come on in the championship. He has huge potential but I think it’s too soon. I assume Gavin will use EOG when the stakes go up on the 6th off the bench

We don’t know what Mc Carthy’s situation is yet.


I actually think a half back line of McCarthy/Cian/Small is better defensively than the one with Jack. If a defenders primary responsibility is to defend then its not a negative imo. I don’t think Jack won PoTY for his defensive capabilities. He is however the best transitional player is the country and that’s an obvious weakness to the attacking demension of the side. No team has what he could bring.

I wouldn’t factor Jack into this tbh, we have superb cover in Small, its all about McCarthy for which we have no like for like replacement.


If all counties were firing on all cylinders, we should win, but it would not be a sure thing. If it was a league situation we would be as near certainty as you could get, but in a championship it only needs an injury, a sending off, or an opposition plan that works (like 2014) to derail the best team.

In some post somewhere it says we are only 50/50 to win the AI - for me even it was 40/60 they are great percentages for a knock out competition with a load of teams still left. I would be relatively happy with 50/50 with one other team left. The best teams wins it the most amount of times, but to narrow it down to specific years isn’t possible I don’t think.


Thought Jack was defensively very very good last year. And when attacking has the pace and stamina more than others to track back


Sorry to be repetitive but how can we be on all cylinders when three major cylinders are gone?


All ‘available’ cylinders!


It was a hypothetical, I said ‘if’. With three guys gone we are far from all cylinders…


As with the previous two absences, if McCarthy is unavailable it might spur the rest on even more.

Basically if we are to win it again we’ll have to do it via the most difficult route without some of our best players. Interesting times ahead, the phoney war is certainly over.


I think we may have gotten a glimpse of Gavin’s thinking for the latter stages of the Championship for a short period of the second half against Westmeath. Whether we play 1, 2 or 3 more games its safe to say that the teams we play will line up just as defensive as Westmeath did, they will however be better at breaking at speed.

I don’t think we will win an All-Ireland by simply playing our conventional best team. We have seen down the years that brilliant players from the full forward line have can add to a team by moving to midfield. I’m thinking Johnny Doyle from Kildare, Bryan Sheehan from Kerry and Richie Hogan from Kilkenny. Connolly playing midfield could add a whole new potency to our attack through his distribution, ability to do one-two’s off either foot and his general running game. Midfield may give Connolly more room to perform, his 2014 performance against Castebar Mitchells is etched in my memory.

Also, i think Paddy Andrews and Paul Mannion are too good to start on the bench. With Jack McCaffrey gone, i think Kilkenny could be a brilliant half back. Defensively he is very strong and good in the tackle, he would also offer a Jack type threat by running from deep.

Philly Cooper Byrne
Kilkenny Cian Small/McCarthy(if fit)
Connolly Fenton
Flynn Andrews McMamamon
Rock Mannion Brogan

Subs: MDMA, Batick, Brady, Con, Costello, O’Gara, Brady, Fitz, Daly


Connolly to midfield might be viable but I would prefer a player that allows Fenton to play rather than reduces him to the holding role. Needs must however. And it’s a middle 8 at this stage too in anyway.

Moving both Kilkenny and Connolly opens up the notion of the unforeseen consequences. A good manager tries to take the opposition out of its comfort zone. In the scenario above where two of our best forwards are tasked with defending you are positively inviting the opposition to insist they do. As good as the team and management are you have to factor in the opposition. We didn’t against Donegal, and they used the weight of our confidence, judo-style, against us.


That change could actually make us better. If CK goes to half back line you can start Paddy at 13 and move Kevin to half forward line where he has more room to do damage running at massed defences as the past and last Sunday prove.


You do realise against good teams Ciaran will have to mark somebody.


Exactly. CKK could not play wing back against Mayo or Kerry.

Clearly not many people noticed Connellan dominate Small in the first half of the Leinstet final!

By the time Mayo get to the quarter finals, they’ll be just as formidable as the team that pushed us so close last year. Diarmuid OConnor is a serious operator and finally fully fit. Kerry will be stronger than last year with JOD and Geaney fully fit. Tyrone look formidable and will be very hard to beat. And we’re weaker than last year. Sam’s a long way from in the bag


Really ? I think Kerry have failed to address any of the questions we have asked of them in any meaningful way . A year on and little sign of progress . O Donoghue has has less involvement this year than last and now the gooch is carrying an injury.

Can’t see where the surge from Mayo is coming from . To say emphatically that they will be as formidable this year is based on Nothing they have produced on the pitch .

Small was not cleaned out . How many points did Westmeath get from play in the first half?

And finally I’d disagree on Ciaran Kilkenny . He could be deployed in that roll against Kerry ( blanket defence employed against Tipp ) and Donegal ( our most likely opponents ) that said I don’t think he will be but it’s an option nonethess

I do agree that Sam is far from in the bag but let’s not
Scourge ourselves with negativity that specifies about our weaknesses and generalises in terms of our prospective opponents potential strengths


I think Lougher was talking about all the kickouts Connellan helped Westmeath win until he went off. You judge a defenders contribution by what his man does not what he scores. So if your direct opponent enables 6 assists for points - can you really turn around and say “My man didn’t score”?
I don’t think Connellan had 6 assists or anything like it but what a man scores is not always the best barometer of how a player performs. I thought Small did well but he’s untested in higher company at this level. No cause for concern yet as Fenton wasn’t tested at this stage last year. However I’d be holding back on the "best half back line in the country " analogy at this juncture.


On paper we are weaker, however to say as a team we are weaker is pure speculation. We’ve won every league and championship game. No team has come within 10 points of us in a championship match this year so it’s impossible to tell.

We may well be a poorer team but we’ll only know that if we get turned over. There’s a lot of what ifs but the only evidence that is in front of us is that we’re in a better place than any other team.

I know a lot of people on here say some posters have blind optimism and are drinking koolaid. It’s not blind optimism, it’s just seeing what’s in front of our eyes. We’re 12 out of 12 in league and championship. We’ve already 2 of the 3 trophies in the bag. There’s plenty to be optimistic about.

That’s not to say we won’t lose to Donegal, Kerry, Mayo or anyone for that matter, anyone can lose any match. Nobody thinks we’re invincible. However it’s just as, perhaps more likely that we could batter the likes of Mayo Donegal Kerry by 10 plus points. In fact we’ve beaten Kerry in their biggest game so far this year by 11 points, without the two lads who’ve been planning without anyway all year.


Good post Yoda


Good post Yoda.

Agree Ciaran will probably not be moved to half back line but the option is available. If opposition go blanket Ciaran may be able to attack more.

Most likely Eric would start at 5 if James does not make it. Crucial that Ciaran and Flynn provide cover for the wing backs.

We may have gone back slightly but so have Mayo and Kerry. Tyrone remain our biggest threat on evidence so far.


Seen Eric Lowndes in a restartant over the weekend and was leaving on crutches. Obviously wasn’t staring right at him or anything to tell if it was more precautionary or serious.