Welcome to the first Offaly GAA Mailbag where we answer your questions across all aspects of GAA in the Faithful County.
Tackling the questions this week is Sports Editor Damian Moran.
Hi lads. Great idea this to have a forum where Offaly GAA fans can ask questions. My question is this, does it matter where Offaly hurling games are played. You see a lot of former players giving out about games being played in O’Connor Park? - John (Daingean)
Hi John. Thanks for the encouragement. We’ll see how it goes week to week. We’re hoping to get more and more people involved as we go along.
On to your question. Having never played hurling at inter-county level, I can’t comment on how much of a factor it is playing in St Brendan’s Park compared to O’Connor Park but on the specific issue of last Saturday’s minor game I will say this. Not too many of the Offaly team will have played all that often in St Brendan’s Park given it was closed for two years and even now the work isn’t complete. When it is I would agree that certain games should be played in Birr but why should it have a monopoly. Similarly why should all the football games be played in Tullamore. Only one club in Offaly has two games entered in the Football Feile and that is Birr so despite what some people might think (or prefer), football is alive and well in South Offaly as hurling is alive and well in North Offaly.
And just a quick comment on the former players who continually bash the decision to focus on where the game is played. That is just a smoke screen to mask the real problem which is that Offaly as a hurling county has fallen behind Laois and Westmeath in the way we do things. Instead of spending time pontificating through social media, maybe their time would be better served actually getting out and getting involved with young hurlers to help bring them on.
Is anybody going to beat Rhode in the Senior Football Championship? - Mick (Ferbane)
Hi Mick. I’m sure the other ten teams in the Championship all think they can beat Rhode but I’m not going to go out on a limb and pick one or more that might do so. Last year it was Clara who knocked them out at the semi-final stage but that was one of only three games they lost since 2004. That is three defeats in eight years. And it doesn’t look as if the production line is going to stop yet given their presence on the Offaly U-21 Football team. However on any given Sunday I would think virtually all teams in this championship are capable of beating one another and that is particularly the case in a one off knock-out game. Still Rhode start as favourites and it is up to someone else to step forward and take that mantle off them.
Who is going to cause an upset in the football this weekend? - Eamon (Clara)
Hi Eamon. I assume you mean in the Offaly Championship but if you mean in Leinster I have a sneaky suspicion Longford could cause Laois some serious problems.
In Offaly I don’t think you can class any result in the Senior Football Championship as an upset given how closely matched the teams are, on paper at least. That might change by Sunday evening.
If you were looking for a result where you might have a chance of making a few quid, you should try and pick a draw or two from the five matches. There is normally at least one and if I were to pick two possible draws I would go with Gracefield v Erin Rovers or Edenderry v Tullamore, neither with any amount of confidence I might add given a ball has yet to be kicked in anger.
How big an achievement was the Offaly camogie team’s win over Kilkenny last weekend? Amy (Birr)
Hi Amy. I’ll defer to a man of far greater stature to answer this question Speaking after the game manager John Troy noted that selector Mick Spain (who was also a selector when the Offaly hurlers beat Kikenny in 1980) said, the win last Sunday gave him just as much pleasure as 32 years ago. That to me puts this win in context. Camogie has been a real success story for Offaly in recent years winning back to back Junior and Intermediate titles while also competing since the step up to senior level. It may take a while before the Senior title is added to the collection but every milestone along the way brings that dream just a little bit closer to reality.
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