Talking Points

O'Neills Official Blog

  1. Supers 8s: Between the Idea and the Reality

    Supers 8s: Between the Idea and the Reality

    By Declan Bogue


    WASN'T quite what we expected, was it? Not in Tyrone. Or Roscommon. Or Kerry. Or even Dublin. None of the shocks and surprises. No bumper crowd. No breathless excitement and surges of adrenalin from 320 odd minutes of football in Croke Park. No. What we have here, is a failure to communicate. Specifically, from the GAA to their public and anyone else that might be interested in coming to see the sport of Gaelic football.


    The action on the pitch mightn't have been great, but let's put that down to the second day being played in conditions that we really thought were a thing of the past in the new, sub-tropical Ireland of 2018.


    The Original Super 8s Questions do remain. And the first one is, what do we even call this thing anyway? It has been made known that those that turn up for their day's work on Jones' Road are a bit sniffy about the title, 'Super 8s.' Fair enough. The phrase was first coined by Dick Clerkin and
  2. There Once Were Some Hurlers From Limerick

    There Once Were Some Hurlers From Limerick

    By: Enda McEvoy


    John Donnelly, charging through the Limerick defence, could have popped over the equalising point but he chose instead to pick out Richie Hogan with a handpass. Hogan in his turn could have popped over the equalising point but he chose instead to swivel, pick his spot and drill the sliotar under Nickie Quaid.


    Eight minutes remained at Semple Stadium and Kilkenny had hit the front for the first time in three quarters of an hour. That, it seemed certain, was going to be that. The old Cats for the hard road.


    Except it wasn’t. Limerick responded with the next score to make it a one-point game. Then they levelled matters. Then they went a point ahead.


    Limerick Turnaround Six scores were registered between Hogan’s goal and the final whistle in last Sunday’s All Ireland quarter-final. Five of them were scored by a man in a green jersey. It was an astonishing turnaround and it was the moment a you
  3. 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
  4. 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.


  5. 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
  6. 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?
  7. 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

  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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