Talking Points

O'Neills Official Blog

  1. Galway Show Of Strength

    Galway Show Of Strength
    By Enda McEvoy


    Now that’s what you call a show of strength. A bottom line of 1-28 from Galway: serious stuff for a provincial final. A from-play return of 1-22: scary. A first-half tally of 1-16: prodigious. Seven points to spare in the end, and that after conceding one goal that might as easily have been given as a free out and another goal that resulted from the sliotar coming back off the upright.


    Last Sunday in Thurles wasn’t merely a case of Galway retaining their Leinster title. It may also have been the afternoon that set them on the road to a second successive MacCarthy Cup triumph.


    They were everything they hadn’t been in Croke Park seven days earlier. Determined, focused, hungry, sharp, decisive. In the drawn game they went out to fulfil a fixture. In the replay they went out to win a match. They won it comprehensively and had they been facing anyone but Kilkenny they might well have won it by twice as much as t
  2. Eight To Watch In The Super 8s

    Eight To Watch In The Super 8s

    Now that the Super 8's is about to take off over the next month, we know all the major superstars on each team, but here are some of the more obscure talents who are about to announce their talents on the national stage after doing it over the last number of weeks. Can we look beyond the usual suspects from Kerry and Dublin? Who are the Roscommon and Kildare players that might hit the headlines?


    Sean Andy O'Ceallaigh (Galway) It's hard to beat a savage for a full-back and Galway manager Kevin Walsh has one in the Connemara man. Was called up for senior duty at the start of this year after impressing in the role for the under-21 side last year as they lost the final to Dublin. However, his handling of Con O'Callaghan in that game, holding him to a score from play, was the measure of his potential. Loves to play out in front of his man and his aggression has already been checked by referees, he is a huge asset for Galway this season.


  3. Super 8s Beckon. The Start of the Endgame?

    Super 8s Beckon. The Start of the Endgame?
    By Declan Bogue


    AND so, to Round Four and the white line fever that the prospect of entry into the exclusive club the first Super 8s will bring on. What of Laois, Fermanagh, Roscommon et al, how will they fare? Much like Arsene Wenger regressed as a manager in his last half dozen years in charge of Arsenal, he began to refer to qualification for the following season's European competition as the 'first trophy' of the season. But you'd be doing well to pour a mixture of gin, vermouth, Harp and Oul Boys' Slabber into that chalice. You get the sense that getting to the Super 8s will be the saving of some managers. Before, the target for any middle-ranking manager when knocked out of the Championship was to see his side playing in Croke Park over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Now, the dynamic has changed. The aim is to get to the Super 8s, which acts as base camp for those with real tangible hopes of All-Ireland success, or as a destination in itself as some mor
  4. Hurling Plot Thickens on the Road to Thurles

    Hurling Plot Thickens on the Road to Thurles
    By: Enda McEvoy  


    It does sound like the punchline to a joke alright. A Connacht team in a Leinster final that’s taking place in Munster. Galway and Kilkenny Take Two.    All very droll. But really, what of it?  


       Ignore the noise on social media, and the mock outrage from people claiming that the Galway/Kilkenny replay should have been fixed for Portlaoise or Tullamore, and the complaints over the contradiction between the Munster Council forbidding Waterford using Nowlan Park as a temporary home ground and the Leinster Council happily acting as though provincial borders didn’t exist.  


       There’s “no consistency” between the actions of the Munster and Leinster Councils, as the accusation has it? Clearly there isn’t, but these are two separate bodies and each is entitled to do as it sees fit. If the Leinster Council is less precious and parochial than its southern counterpart, so be it.


    Wherfore Art the Replay?
  5. Hurling Tiers of Happiness or Frustration?

    Hurling Tiers of Happiness or Frustration?

    And then there were two. Six counties started out in the Joe McDonagh Cup back at the start of May - Antrim, Meath, Westmeath, Kerry, Carlow and Laois. Two remain to slug out the final on Sunday. Antrim face a relegation/promotion play off with Kildare in Armagh that already has generated rumblings of discontent and Meath are relegated. Next year under the current format, Offaly will join the ranks of the Joe McDonagh with Carlow or Westmeath promoted.
    The competition by all accounts showcased some high quality hurling which unfortunately didn’t receive the broadcast coverage it deserved.
    The final on Sunday clashes with the Munster hurling final which hasn’t endeared the fixture planners to hurling fans, and with Meath already relegated the hurlers of Antrim face off in Armagh on Saturday against Kildare, the winners of the Christy Ring Cup.
    Asking a Cup winning team to play again to secure promotion or relegation has always smacked of afterthought and t

  6. Hurling Super Sunday Beckons

    Hurling Super Sunday Beckons
    By: Enda McEvoy

    The scheduling of the two matches leaves much to be desired – no way should the Munster and Leinster finals be taking place on the same afternoon, end of – but no matter. Super Sunday beckons.
    Clare versus Cork in Semple Stadium at 2pm. Galway versus Kilkenny in Croke Park at 4pm. Unless you’re a hurling fan blessed with the gift of bilocation, a large-screen TV will be your only man.
    Are we in for two crackers? Probably not. The reader is long enough on the road at this stage to know that most highly anticipated matches tend not to live up to expectations. Then again, to assert that both of these are highly anticipated matches may be overdoing it.
    Granted, Clare/Cork was sold out by the middle of last week, a natural postscript to the roaring success of the inaugural round robin in Munster. The fixture is a repeat of last year’s provincial decider, so it’s not as though there’s a fresh item – such as a
  7. Back to the Future in Donegal?

    Back to the Future in Donegal?
    By Declan Bogue

    THE recent appearance of Jim McGuinness across the media is bound to cause a flutter of annoyance for the Dublin football project.
    There had been whispers and rumours that he had been involved in the current set-up, but the current evidence is compelling. A photograph doing the rounds of a Belfast hotel lobby of McGuinness standing up, talking to the seated Donegal manager Declan Bonner and selector Paul McGonigle - who served in the same role for McGuiness in 2014 - had been intriguing, but the other day those suspicions were put to him.
    "No, no coaching sessions," he said. Asked had he given a talk to the group, he smiled and repeated, "No coaching sessions." Which leaves things as obvious as you can get them.
    He said during an interview with Ger Gilroy on Off The Ball that a number of senior players had a drink on Monday and decided to call him up for a chat, enthusing that the Ulster final win had "felt like t
  8. In Conversation with Lee Chin, O’Neills Ambassador

    In Conversation with Lee Chin, O’Neills Ambassador
    We spoke to our O’Neills ambassador Lee Chin who’s getting himself into Championship mode with Wexford. In his first conversation with O’Neills, Lee shares his memories of growing up in Wexford, starting out in his hurling career with his hurling club Faythe Harriers and his thoughts on trying to balance hurling and football in the modern game.


    Wolfetone Villas
    I played all sports growing up. It wasn’t any different to any other childhood that any person had I suppose. I grew up in Wolfetone Villas in Wexford, it was a very family oriented estate, and pretty much everyone that lived there when I was grown up was born there. You could head away for a holiday for a weekend and leave your front door open it was that kind of place. My mother grew up in the estate. Growing up there we got up to everything out on the street hurling, football, soccer, tennis basketball, my childhood memory is that you would be out on the street with your friends orga
  9. When County Coaches Coach

    When County Coaches Coach
    By Declan Bogue


    THOSE that are involved in coaching at inter-county level tend to be a driven, intense group. In different yet similar ways Carlow and Galway have been to the forefront of the story so far this summer. There is plenty of evidence of information-sharing and reading lists passed around among coaches, speckled with the names of great coaches from varied disciplines such as Vince Lombardi, Pat Riley and the lives of great generals and samurais. To do a job like coaching inter-county requires a lot of evenings out of the family home, often lengthy commutes and the capacity to hold the attention and sympathy of over 30 players, highly-driven and competitive in their own right.


    For some odd reason, the target for criticism from certain sections of the media has focussed on the role of the team trainer this year, rather than the hardly perennial of the manager. Every year it seems there is a new target. It was diving
  10. Hurling So Far So Good and More to Come

    Hurling So Far So Good and More to Come
    By: Enda McEvoy


    So Clare and Cork it is again in the Munster final, for the second year in a row. But that’s only half the story. That’s not even half the story.


    Big crowds. Thrilling finishes. Nine-point leads amassed and squandered. Ghost goals. Red cards. Umpires convinced of the excellence of their own eyesight. Late equalisers. Late winners. Managers not talking to the media one day, then chatting away happily to them two days later.
    We knew the Munster round robin would be interesting. We never dreamed it would be this much fun. And whether it’s a man in red or a man in saffron and blue who lifts the silverware on July 1st, this will be a hard earned and richly deserved title.
    Clare began the championship with a defeat on Leeside. It could have broken their spirit and ended their season. Instead it proved a springboard for three wins on the bounce. The Banner are going better than they hav