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Westmeath Hurling

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Replying To oneoff:  "This is the thing. What is this "spectacle" that's always talked about.

Can you really say last years All Ireland was a spectacle? That it was in anyway exciting? The argument about games being higher scoring doesn't mean it's more exciting. In the modern game a huge amount of scoring comes from frees, 65s etc yet that's rarely ever mentioned.

I would arrange the likes of the Joe McDonough etc actually have more excitement than the Mccarthy Cup has."
Sure I never said every game was great.
I've followed hurling, football, soccer, religiously the last 22 years, as well as having a keen enough interest in snooker, tennis, rugby, boxing, and ufc.
If you were to ask me to make a list of the top 20 contests in terms of excitement and entertainment value on offer in that time, I'd guess hurling would probably occupy about 15 of those spots. Perhaps those contests wouldn't be as tactically sophisticated and innovative as you might like, so they're not for everyone, but sure each to their own.
As for your last point, contests in sport generally tend to become more exciting the lower down the ladder you go.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 936 - 14/05/2021 14:27:04    2341700

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Replying To Galway9801:  "Sure I never said every game was great.
I've followed hurling, football, soccer, religiously the last 22 years, as well as having a keen enough interest in snooker, tennis, rugby, boxing, and ufc.
If you were to ask me to make a list of the top 20 contests in terms of excitement and entertainment value on offer in that time, I'd guess hurling would probably occupy about 15 of those spots. Perhaps those contests wouldn't be as tactically sophisticated and innovative as you might like, so they're not for everyone, but sure each to their own.
As for your last point, contests in sport generally tend to become more exciting the lower down the ladder you go."
Just began reading thread. Just to say Croke Park promised the 2019 division 2a winners two years in division 1 but they would have to face the Munster championship plus Galway. Of course all of the 2a teams crying out for matches with the elite agreed. Westmeath duly won 2a but Croke Park now had a problem one top division with no Relegation and another with one. Guess what to hell with Westmeath we will have a playoff bottom each division loser to go down lump it or leave it. Aren't you lucky to get a game.
The solution simple, four groups of eight just like football but God forbid some of the big ten have to play Westmeath Laois Antrim Carlow Kerry and Meath all in the one season. That couldn't happen now could it. Its terrible to hear the bullsh*t from the elite saying we must promote hurling when what they mean is keep it tight in our little group don't mind them eejits screwing their football team.

jobber (Westmeath) - Posts: 960 - 15/05/2021 00:42:49    2341813

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Replying To jobber:  "Just began reading thread. Just to say Croke Park promised the 2019 division 2a winners two years in division 1 but they would have to face the Munster championship plus Galway. Of course all of the 2a teams crying out for matches with the elite agreed. Westmeath duly won 2a but Croke Park now had a problem one top division with no Relegation and another with one. Guess what to hell with Westmeath we will have a playoff bottom each division loser to go down lump it or leave it. Aren't you lucky to get a game.
The solution simple, four groups of eight just like football but God forbid some of the big ten have to play Westmeath Laois Antrim Carlow Kerry and Meath all in the one season. That couldn't happen now could it. Its terrible to hear the bullsh*t from the elite saying we must promote hurling when what they mean is keep it tight in our little group don't mind them eejits screwing their football team."
A lot of talking from both sides of the mouth. The systems in place for ever and when tweaked are biased in favour of the top counties. Up and down like you know what has done absolutely nothing to bring more counties to the top table. It is not supposed to and patronizing of counties is what occurs. Nothing more sickening either when the pundits announce there is nothing like a traditional All-Ireland when the big names are in the final. How insulting to everyone else that played or will play in a final.
Surly if even going county by county with support and a proper system there would be more parity in the next 100 years than the last.

Canuck (Waterford) - Posts: 1642 - 15/05/2021 13:38:58    2341867

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Replying To oneoff:  "Hurling is very much like Rugby in that broadcasters make things out to be better than they actually are. As you say people harpe on about those great long range scores players get. But ignore the fast they're in yards of space with no one marking them.

Re scores coming straight from a puck out to an unmarked player. If something similar happened in football no one would say a word yet it's a great bit of skill in hurling.

I do like both games but this hurling love in has gone on for far too long. Many of the skills people talk about to justify hurling being the greatest game in the world are actually no longer even part of the game."
Excellent post.

I would say the sport has evolved as all sports. Players have been consistently getting better, stronger, fitter and more knowledgeable about diets, sports science etc.

For me though the spectacle has gone way down. There is no clash of the ash, pulling on the ball in the air or on the ground. These were the moments that got the roar out of the crowd. They are almost completely gone out of the sport. We now have rucks, handpassing and players shooting/ putting ball out of play constantly.

I watch the games as my son wants to watch them. But watching Cork tonight was painful. Whether their short passing drivel works or not ,it is utterly horrible to watch.

In the game tonight there were 40 scores and 28 wides. 68 times the play stopped for that reason alone in the 77 minutes. The goalkeeper takes about 10-15 seconds to restart in each case. Didn't count frees but there was possibly 30? And line balls..each free takes 10-20 seconds to take..and this game wasn't even that high scoring but still approximately stoppages in 78 minutes ..not exciting

It is not to say that all games in the past were great.of course they were not. Some were poor and as mentioned the standard of player is much better these days. I think in general the game is not as good.

bennybunny (Cork) - Posts: 3862 - 15/05/2021 21:42:04    2342142

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Replying To Viking66:  "Saw some pretty dire games back in the 90s too though Fairplayalways they weren't all great games....."
That's true but at least scores were scarce and critical...the highlights now jumps from 0-01 to 0-07...then its 0-12...and so on...hurling is gone too mechanical or something...there are alot of poor games now too and the lack of crowds is really highlighting some poor standard games...teams as fit as fiddles but lacking hurling...

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 866 - 15/05/2021 23:28:02    2342188

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Replying To Canuck:  "A lot of talking from both sides of the mouth. The systems in place for ever and when tweaked are biased in favour of the top counties. Up and down like you know what has done absolutely nothing to bring more counties to the top table. It is not supposed to and patronizing of counties is what occurs. Nothing more sickening either when the pundits announce there is nothing like a traditional All-Ireland when the big names are in the final. How insulting to everyone else that played or will play in a final.
Surly if even going county by county with support and a proper system there would be more parity in the next 100 years than the last."
Agreed but the problem for Westmeath and all the other teams like us is we are hurling mad but have small populations and football as the leading game. For example over 30 football clubs here to 15 hurling. Offaly are the only ones since Laois all those years ago who have broken that ceiling. Westmeath hurling people put huge effort in and love our wonderful game and realise that our days of glory won't be many but we play the greatest game

jobber (Westmeath) - Posts: 960 - 15/05/2021 23:29:15    2342189

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "That's true but at least scores were scarce and critical...the highlights now jumps from 0-01 to 0-07...then its 0-12...and so on...hurling is gone too mechanical or something...there are alot of poor games now too and the lack of crowds is really highlighting some poor standard games...teams as fit as fiddles but lacking hurling..."
Sadly in most team sports the realization has dawned that the best way of stopping your opponents from scoring is to keep the ball away from them. Therefore teams are encouraged not to put the ball into situations where it could be turned over. So less hitting it up the pitch long. So less competing. So less high fielding, aerial striking (which seems to be getting put into the dangerous play category by refs these days) and soloing. Less contact altogether. Although the new penalty/sinbin rule might encourage more soloing. So like most team sports hurling is losing a bit of its blood and thunder and becoming more patient and tactical. At least its still streets ahead of what top level football and soccer have become!

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 3204 - 16/05/2021 09:02:46    2342225

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Replying To jobber:  "Agreed but the problem for Westmeath and all the other teams like us is we are hurling mad but have small populations and football as the leading game. For example over 30 football clubs here to 15 hurling. Offaly are the only ones since Laois all those years ago who have broken that ceiling. Westmeath hurling people put huge effort in and love our wonderful game and realise that our days of glory won't be many but we play the greatest game"
Shame Croke Park cant fund hurling initiatives and coaches in the football clubs. Encourage more of them to be dual clubs by trying bring it into the national schools in those areas.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 3204 - 16/05/2021 09:08:47    2342227

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Replying To jobber:  "Just began reading thread. Just to say Croke Park promised the 2019 division 2a winners two years in division 1 but they would have to face the Munster championship plus Galway. Of course all of the 2a teams crying out for matches with the elite agreed. Westmeath duly won 2a but Croke Park now had a problem one top division with no Relegation and another with one. Guess what to hell with Westmeath we will have a playoff bottom each division loser to go down lump it or leave it. Aren't you lucky to get a game.
The solution simple, four groups of eight just like football but God forbid some of the big ten have to play Westmeath Laois Antrim Carlow Kerry and Meath all in the one season. That couldn't happen now could it. Its terrible to hear the bullsh*t from the elite saying we must promote hurling when what they mean is keep it tight in our little group don't mind them eejits screwing their football team."
I'm afraid I can't agree with you on this one jobber. We can talk about resources or elitism all day long but the harsh reality is that we don't have the playing population or the required level to come near to competing at division one and made enough noise along with other counties to get the division expanded but ultimately should not be there. Promoting other weaker counties up to face similar thrashing just so we have someone to compete with is not going to do anything to further the game in those counties or nationally, it would actually do the opposite as it completely disheartens and sucks the life out of teams. This has the knock on effect of discouraging players to commit as they cannot see any chance of their efforts paying off. Teams should be graded on ability, and based on there being 2 sections to division 1 we are a division 2 county in hurling at the moment, which is unfortunately 3rd tier. I do not know of any other sport in the world where there is a clamour to promote sub standard teams to their elite division just to give them exposure to the top level and rightly so as it would destroy the sport in terms of integrity and as a competition. Imagine the likes of Charlton and Swindon in league One soccer looking to get promoted to the premiership just because they're proud clubs with a decent history who put in as much effort as everyone else. Or for that matter Offaly or Derry demanding a shot at division 1 football, let's have 2 division 1's in football as well!
If anything I believe the hurling league needs to be revamped into 5 divisions 1-5 and 1 team promoted/relegated accordingly as per standings. It would better serve the game than this notion of we deserve to be there because we're too good for a lower division - prove it!

CleanShoulder (Westmeath) - Posts: 135 - 16/05/2021 09:25:02    2342231

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Replying To CleanShoulder:  "I'm afraid I can't agree with you on this one jobber. We can talk about resources or elitism all day long but the harsh reality is that we don't have the playing population or the required level to come near to competing at division one and made enough noise along with other counties to get the division expanded but ultimately should not be there. Promoting other weaker counties up to face similar thrashing just so we have someone to compete with is not going to do anything to further the game in those counties or nationally, it would actually do the opposite as it completely disheartens and sucks the life out of teams. This has the knock on effect of discouraging players to commit as they cannot see any chance of their efforts paying off. Teams should be graded on ability, and based on there being 2 sections to division 1 we are a division 2 county in hurling at the moment, which is unfortunately 3rd tier. I do not know of any other sport in the world where there is a clamour to promote sub standard teams to their elite division just to give them exposure to the top level and rightly so as it would destroy the sport in terms of integrity and as a competition. Imagine the likes of Charlton and Swindon in league One soccer looking to get promoted to the premiership just because they're proud clubs with a decent history who put in as much effort as everyone else. Or for that matter Offaly or Derry demanding a shot at division 1 football, let's have 2 division 1's in football as well!
If anything I believe the hurling league needs to be revamped into 5 divisions 1-5 and 1 team promoted/relegated accordingly as per standings. It would better serve the game than this notion of we deserve to be there because we're too good for a lower division - prove it!"
What's your disagreement. We won Division 2 A and were quite entitled to go up. My argument was that as we did, the rules were changed instead of going to 1B with Dublin, Carlow, Laois, Wexford and Kilkenny they in effect gave us a double promotion promising us two years guaranteed but changed their minds and we had to play off with Carlow which we won. Our display in Waterford today was encouraging and Galways 26 points against the All Ireland champions showed us what we were up against last week.

jobber (Westmeath) - Posts: 960 - 16/05/2021 19:20:07    2342490

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Replying To jobber:  "What's your disagreement. We won Division 2 A and were quite entitled to go up. My argument was that as we did, the rules were changed instead of going to 1B with Dublin, Carlow, Laois, Wexford and Kilkenny they in effect gave us a double promotion promising us two years guaranteed but changed their minds and we had to play off with Carlow which we won. Our display in Waterford today was encouraging and Galways 26 points against the All Ireland champions showed us what we were up against last week."
The point you made that I disagree with is where you advocate for increasing the numbers in each division to 8. As it stands I would argue that 12 division 1 teams is too many let alone 16. Whilst I get your point that teams improve with playing better opposition, there would be far too many thrashings going by your model.
Very good display by our lads today.

locklanegale (Wexford) - Posts: 65 - 16/05/2021 23:21:50    2342610

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Replying To Viking66:  "Sadly in most team sports the realization has dawned that the best way of stopping your opponents from scoring is to keep the ball away from them. Therefore teams are encouraged not to put the ball into situations where it could be turned over. So less hitting it up the pitch long. So less competing. So less high fielding, aerial striking (which seems to be getting put into the dangerous play category by refs these days) and soloing. Less contact altogether. Although the new penalty/sinbin rule might encourage more soloing. So like most team sports hurling is losing a bit of its blood and thunder and becoming more patient and tactical. At least its still streets ahead of what top level football and soccer have become!"
teams engagingin obvious negative play (keep ball included) 20 metre free awarded against them..persisting after 1st and second one, team captain is informed that penalty will be given if another occurs in that half..etc...or something like that..yes, terribly hard to implement but something needs to be done..some of the keep ball and negative play is wearing me down now to be honest...who goes out set up a team to play like that is beyond me...

Fairplayalways (Offaly) - Posts: 866 - 17/05/2021 10:01:22    2342670

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Replying To Fairplayalways:  "teams engagingin obvious negative play (keep ball included) 20 metre free awarded against them..persisting after 1st and second one, team captain is informed that penalty will be given if another occurs in that half..etc...or something like that..yes, terribly hard to implement but something needs to be done..some of the keep ball and negative play is wearing me down now to be honest...who goes out set up a team to play like that is beyond me..."
In mid 1990s the trialled a rule in national league where you could catch the ball once and after that you had to strike or solo and strike but no catching the ball again to go for a jog...

I don't understand what people talk about a 'tackle' in hurling ? Apart from a shoulder charge, you contest for the ball by hooking, blocking, flicking the ball away from your opponent- something that Kilkenny were traditionally the masters at. This is real skill given the speed and danger (if mistimed) involved. These skills cannot be executed if the ball is being handled to death (ie Cork style) or stuck in players hands while they go for a jog with the ball.

Unable to execute the skills of disposing the opponent players are left to resort to fouling as they 'tackle ' in other ways. Of all the skills in hurling the hand pass is not something that excites the crowd or particularly difficult to execute compared to hooking say. The game could do with less of it.

bennybunny (Cork) - Posts: 3862 - 17/05/2021 12:23:56    2342734

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Replying To bennybunny:  "In mid 1990s the trialled a rule in national league where you could catch the ball once and after that you had to strike or solo and strike but no catching the ball again to go for a jog...

I don't understand what people talk about a 'tackle' in hurling ? Apart from a shoulder charge, you contest for the ball by hooking, blocking, flicking the ball away from your opponent- something that Kilkenny were traditionally the masters at. This is real skill given the speed and danger (if mistimed) involved. These skills cannot be executed if the ball is being handled to death (ie Cork style) or stuck in players hands while they go for a jog with the ball.

Unable to execute the skills of disposing the opponent players are left to resort to fouling as they 'tackle ' in other ways. Of all the skills in hurling the hand pass is not something that excites the crowd or particularly difficult to execute compared to hooking say. The game could do with less of it."
Well said!

ZUL10 (Clare) - Posts: 646 - 17/05/2021 12:44:18    2342748

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Replying To locklanegale:  "The point you made that I disagree with is where you advocate for increasing the numbers in each division to 8. As it stands I would argue that 12 division 1 teams is too many let alone 16. Whilst I get your point that teams improve with playing better opposition, there would be far too many thrashings going by your model.
Very good display by our lads today."
No sorry I must have explained myself badly I do mean four divisions but 1,2,3 and 4 as in football.

jobber (Westmeath) - Posts: 960 - 17/05/2021 14:51:20    2342800

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Replying To bennybunny:  "In mid 1990s the trialled a rule in national league where you could catch the ball once and after that you had to strike or solo and strike but no catching the ball again to go for a jog...

I don't understand what people talk about a 'tackle' in hurling ? Apart from a shoulder charge, you contest for the ball by hooking, blocking, flicking the ball away from your opponent- something that Kilkenny were traditionally the masters at. This is real skill given the speed and danger (if mistimed) involved. These skills cannot be executed if the ball is being handled to death (ie Cork style) or stuck in players hands while they go for a jog with the ball.

Unable to execute the skills of disposing the opponent players are left to resort to fouling as they 'tackle ' in other ways. Of all the skills in hurling the hand pass is not something that excites the crowd or particularly difficult to execute compared to hooking say. The game could do with less of it."
That is not how you tackle in the modern game though. And most players are masters at charging and getting away with it. The swarm tackle is also huge now, if anything they are more important than hooking or blocking now.
Flicking the ball away is now an occupational hazard for a hurler because a free is blown against you unless you get the ball. Some players like the Clare corner back yesterday are loose in their attempts, some others like Matthew O'Hanlon get unfairly punished for trying it.
No easy answers.

StoreysTash (Wexford) - Posts: 1377 - 17/05/2021 16:31:45    2342857

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Replying To StoreysTash:  "That is not how you tackle in the modern game though. And most players are masters at charging and getting away with it. The swarm tackle is also huge now, if anything they are more important than hooking or blocking now.
Flicking the ball away is now an occupational hazard for a hurler because a free is blown against you unless you get the ball. Some players like the Clare corner back yesterday are loose in their attempts, some others like Matthew O'Hanlon get unfairly punished for trying it.
No easy answers."
I agree. At some point though there's a disconnect as at underage level (and on GAA coaching manuals) you coach the skills of hooking and blocking and how to dispossesse your opponent. And then you are right, at some point this supplanted by swarm tackling.

One possible reason for increase in swarm tackling is ball in hand is too prevalent . Hard to hook, block, dispossess a Cork hurler who is just looking to keep hand passing until someone is in acre of space. I don't think anyone wants to see too much handpassing in hurling. Of all the 'skills ' of the game, it is not one that arouses much excitement.

bennybunny (Cork) - Posts: 3862 - 18/05/2021 10:39:26    2343012

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Replying To bennybunny:  "I agree. At some point though there's a disconnect as at underage level (and on GAA coaching manuals) you coach the skills of hooking and blocking and how to dispossesse your opponent. And then you are right, at some point this supplanted by swarm tackling.

One possible reason for increase in swarm tackling is ball in hand is too prevalent . Hard to hook, block, dispossess a Cork hurler who is just looking to keep hand passing until someone is in acre of space. I don't think anyone wants to see too much handpassing in hurling. Of all the 'skills ' of the game, it is not one that arouses much excitement."
Agreed. But it's a way of keeping possession. And all team sports from American Football to soccer are focussing on that the last few years. You are less likely to concede scores when you keep the ball. Dublin have made it a real strength of theirs at Football the last few years. Hurling does have the real advantage of how far the sliotar can travel quickly if a lad up the pitch can find space and another can hit the ball into that space. So swarming is relatively harder than it is in football.

Viking66 (Wexford) - Posts: 3204 - 18/05/2021 13:42:41    2343083

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Replying To Viking66:  "Agreed. But it's a way of keeping possession. And all team sports from American Football to soccer are focussing on that the last few years. You are less likely to concede scores when you keep the ball. Dublin have made it a real strength of theirs at Football the last few years. Hurling does have the real advantage of how far the sliotar can travel quickly if a lad up the pitch can find space and another can hit the ball into that space. So swarming is relatively harder than it is in football."
True. It is way of keeping possession. However, those tasked with the health of the sport have to decide what is good for the game. If that doesn't align with the tactics of Donal O'Grady then that is tough on him.

If the current style of Cork and their ilk is deemed as attractive then so be it. Leave it be.

However, if we want to see a more combative game where lads keep their hands on their hurleys to demonstrate the skills of the game rather than on the sliothar or their opponent (ie modern 'tackling') then regulation is needed. There is no skill to swarm tackling and little skill in handpassing. Athleticism and fitness for sure but not real skill. If Donal O'Grady and others still wants to keep possession then he they must think of a new way of doing it.

bennybunny (Cork) - Posts: 3862 - 18/05/2021 14:40:47    2343107

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Replying To bennybunny:  "True. It is way of keeping possession. However, those tasked with the health of the sport have to decide what is good for the game. If that doesn't align with the tactics of Donal O'Grady then that is tough on him.

If the current style of Cork and their ilk is deemed as attractive then so be it. Leave it be.

However, if we want to see a more combative game where lads keep their hands on their hurleys to demonstrate the skills of the game rather than on the sliothar or their opponent (ie modern 'tackling') then regulation is needed. There is no skill to swarm tackling and little skill in handpassing. Athleticism and fitness for sure but not real skill. If Donal O'Grady and others still wants to keep possession then he they must think of a new way of doing it."
Why this obsession with Donal O Grady? I know he is part of the management team but surely coach Kingston can wield his authority in this position no? Obviously he wants these tactics implemented also as if he did not he would not agree it or if he did he would have no authority at all within the camp.

So I think blaming former coach O Grady for this is unfair. Coach Kingston must take accountability and he won't get away with it now.

the creeler (Cavan) - Posts: 512 - 18/05/2021 15:07:27    2343116

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