Offaly GAA Mailbag (Thursday, May 31)

Welcome to this week’s Offaly GAA Mailbag where we answer your questions across all aspects of GAA in the Faithful County.

Welcome to this week’s Offaly GAA Mailbag where we answer your questions across all aspects of GAA in the Faithful County.

The reaction so far has been positive and with the Leinster Senior Championship starting for Offaly this week, the majority of questions pertain to this Saturday’s game with Wexford. Tackling the questions this week is Sports Editor Damian Moran.

How important is it to have Rory Hanniffy back this week? - Niall (Clareen)

Hi Niall. I think it is hugely important that Rory Hanniffy returns this Saturday for two reasons. Firstly he is a top quality hurler who would add to any side but perhaps more importany is his experience. He has been there and seen it all before and if the game is close coming near the end, the more experienced and big game players you can have on the field, the better.

I’m very wary of this game with Wexford. Offaly are the favourites but they threw away so many games in the league, I’d be afraid the same might happen again. Nathan (Birr)

Hi Nathan. I think you are right to have your concerns given how games were lost in the league, and in particular the one against Wexford. However we like to try and put a positive spin on things here in the mailbag and you have to remember that in that game Offaly were absolutely cruising until the last couple of minutes. They had dominated and if they play like that again, you can be sure that they will be well aware of what happened in the league and will be doing all they can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Hi lads. Was in Cloghan last Sunday to watch Offaly and Westmeath. I know it was just a chellenge but I was impressed with what I saw. Any chance of an upset against Kildare? Bog Warrior (Offaly)

Hi Bog Warrior. Surprised you managed to take a break from footing and turning to get to the game given the good weather. Like you I was at the Offaly game and was impressed with how they played against a team who have already been out in the championship. Offaly have improved greatly from the league and were still three weeks away from the Kildare game so they still have time to get fitter and sharper. Have to say I was particularly impressed with Jimmy Coughlan who slotted over points at will while the midfield partnership of Niall Smith with the accurate passing of Alan McNamee is developing nicely and Johnny Moloney is rapidly becoming the leader of the back line. However (and I hate to dampen expectations) that was just a challenge game and Offaly are a relatively young team who are playing a Kildare side who are well ahead in terms of conditioning and preparation. Can Offaly beat Kildare? Of course they can. That’s the beauty of sport. On any given Sunday the underdog can rise up. However they are not 90/1 to win Leinster for nothing and given that Offaly were relegated from Division 3 and Kildare won Division 2, it would be a huge surprise if Tom Coffey’s men upset the odds.

Hi Damian. Two weeks ago I did the double you suggested with Tullamore and Edenderry to draw and Longford to beat Laois and made a few handy quid. Where’s the upset this weekend. Chris (Killeigh)

Hi Chris. Nice to hear you made a few quid. Unfortunately I didn’t have the courage of my convictions and I kept my cash in my pocket. I warn you now that that prediction was more beginners luck than anything else so take any predictions in the mailbag this week (or any other week) with that warning in mind.

Despite beating Laois, Longford are still odds against when they face Wexford on Sunday so considering they came in for you the first time, let’s tip them again.

For a second bet while Laois will have to play better that they have all year to beat Dublin, the handicap is ten points and given the fact that Willie Hyland can score from anywhere and Dublin are understrength, that might not be a bad bet.

Likewise Westmeath are ranked as 14 points worse than Galway. Might be some value in backing the handicap there as well given that they beat Antrim with 14 men tha last day.

Great display by the Offaly Camogie girls last week. Very unlucky not to win. Sarah (Shinrone)

Hi Sarah. Was at that game and I have to say I was hugely impressed. Being very honest I went to St Brendan’s Park expecting Wexford to do a number on them but when it came down to it, Offaly were very unlucky. Wexford’s goal was very fortunate but what I would say is that their experience stood to them when things got down to the business end late in the game. The more games like that Offaly play, the more experience they will gain and the next time they get in a close game with the defending All Ireland Senior Champions, it could well be Offaly who come out on the right side of the result.

Thanks for your questions this week for the mailbag. All you have to do to have your question considered is e-mail it to before 5pm on Wednesday.

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