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Sunday takeaways

OurGame looks at some of the big talking points in the GAA from the action on Sunday

OurGame looks at some of the big talking points in the GAA from the action on Sunday.

Kingdom rout Farney Army
We often hear how footballers have become programmed to just handpass the ball, and play robotically.

Paudie Clifford’s brilliant patience as he ran through to find the net against Monaghan was precisely the opposite, as he kept his head up and changed his mind several times before finishing.

Like a quarterback doing a ‘read option’ play, which involves doing a throw or handing to a running back depending on what the QB sees, the beauty of it was Clifford’s ability to think on the fly.

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A pass was on, but the defenders kept back off, and the Kerry man recognised this a couple of times before smartly clipping the ball home. 

The Farney were soundly beaten and, as journalist Cahair O’Kane pointed out on Twitter after the game, it is the first time they have failed to pick up points in their opening two league games since being promoted to Division 1.

Vinny Corey is introducing some fresh faces and it’s all making for a bumpy ride just now.

Colm O’Rourke is having a smoother run with Meath after backing up the points in Cork with a four-goal haul against Clare.

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Davy Burke has won two from two since taking over Roscommon, with impressive youngster Ben O’Carroll coming on to score 0-2 before Richard Hughes kicked the winner against Galway. SS

Club allegiances put to the side in county battles
Inter-county action may be back in full swing but club loyalties were left divided on a crazy weekend of GAA action.

‘The Battle of Ballingarry’ may have gone the way of Tipperary hurling boss Liam Cahill against Laois counterpart Willie Maher, but there were others to rival that clash.

Tony McEntee and Oisín McConville donned the colours of Crossmaglen Rangers and Armagh together for years but all friendships were put aside as they clashed on the sideline.

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McEntee’s Sligo made the long trip to Aughrim to face McConville’s Wicklow in Division 4 of the NFL with the home visitors prevailing to give McEntee bragging rights over his club-mate.

There was also a unique clash between two Kilkenny clubmen inside the white lines on Saturday night with Lisdowney natives Liam Dunphy and Conor O’Carroll facing off in Division 2B of the NHL for their adopted counties of Tyrone and London.

Dunphy left the happier, however, as Tyrone edged out the Exiles by two points on an emotional night as the Red Hand played their first competitive game since the shock passing of star player Damian Casey last summer. MV

Sloppy goals cost Fitzgerald a winning return.
Did a lacklustre warm-up from Dublin cost them all two points in a tightly-contested game at Fraher Field in Dungarvan?

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Micheál Donoghue’s side completed a striking drill, a one-v-one activity, and a mini possession game — all done at a slow pace compared with Waterford’s. The latter were going full tilt and demanding the ball in a possession game and a running off-the-shoulder shooting drill.

The difference in the warm-up was soon in evidence as the Déise led by 1-5 to no score after 16 minutes.

From a Waterford perspective, sloppy goals would have frustrated boss Davy Fitzgerald. Dublin’s first was a mistake by Conor Prunty, whose misguided ‘Brick’ flick went wayward, allowing Cian O’Sullivan to take full advantage.

The St Brigid’s man’s luck was definitely in ten minutes later: Conor Gleeson slipped, giving the forward all the space in the world for the Dubs’ second goal.

Later on, a high ball was somehow caught by Cian Bolan over Jack Fagan’s head, leaving the Meath man no option but to drag him down before receiving his second yellow card of the day. Up stepped Dónal Burke, who slotted it home.

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From a tactics perspective, the Waterford forward line stood compact between the ‘45 and ‘21 for the first 15 minutes.

After that, Fitzgerald resorted to something similar to his Wexford days. Michael Kiely or Stephen Bennett were left isolated as the Waterford forward inside the 45-yard line, with the half-forward line Bennett, Tom Barron, Reuben O’Halloran and Kevin O’Mahony.

Jamie Barron was back to his best as he roamed as a third-man midfielder while Fagan played the sweeper role.

Bennett was sent off for an off-the-ball incident during the game’s closing stages. Given his side had gone down to 13 men, Fitzgerald will be the happier of the two managers leaving with a point. DOF 

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County bosses need to realise they are the problem here
Colm O’Rourke was frustrated at losing Shane Walsh to injury after just 13 minutes against Clare and being without Mathew Costello after the forward was injured playing with DCU in midweek.  

“We were also forced to take off Darragh Campion and Cathal Hickey who also played Sigerson during the week,” he said after the game. 

“It is absolutely ridiculous that Mathew Costello comes back from playing in Cork and less than 48 hours later he is put out in a very important game for his college. The timing of the Sigerson is all wrong, we have six players tied up in it and we had to take off five of them today.”

Perhaps county managers could look at allowing these players to line out for their colleges, and then give game-time to their other panellists — many of which have approximately 40 players.

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Either that or the GAA must make January a college-only month, and run off those competitions in that timeframe. SS

By Shane Stapleton, Michael Verney and Darragh O’Flynn

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