Leinster SFC Final 2016, Dublin v Westmeath, Croke Park, Sun July 17th @ 4pm


I really hope so too and maybe the challenge of a tighter higher profile game may be just what he needs but his form has really worried a lot of us on here and we’re running out of time for him to rediscover it.


I think with the bad news of losing James along with Jack and Rory a few people are understandably losing sight of the positives.

Rock- At present, best free taker in the business imo. Incredibly accurate from play too. Not only that he’s much stronger and looks sharper this year. He’s winning his 50 50 battles which is huge for us. Massive improvement on last year

Bernard- Showing signs of rolling back to years. He really is evergreen. Absolutely class against Kerry in the league final and his performance on Sunday was right out of the top drawer.

Kev- His hunger for a starting place is savage. He’s really taken his opportunity and gives us a platform to run at defences right from the off.

Flynn- Not back to his previous injury form (he probably never will, 4 all stars in a row is inhumane levels of from) but he’s certainly better than last year. Perhaps people are still judging him by his own ridiculous standards but to me there’s still not a 10 put there I’d have over him. Class act

Fenton- It’s no longer just a new addition bounce. This guy is the real deal and if we do win it, he’ll surley be player of the year. Phenomenal athlete playing at maturity level I’ve never seen from a lad so young

Small- Struggled a bit in the early rounds of the league and ran himself into some silly dangerous tackles but he is showing signs of learning from that. His point on Sunday was worth the 35 quid fee alone. Outstanding.

Diarmuid- Diarmuid is Diarmuid and in his day his just unplayable. Has showed some glimpses in all games but needs to keep his head. Get the feeling a massive performance is just around the corner from him and God help whoever is in our way that day.

Plenty of positives to focus on and was said previously I still wouldn’t change our position with anyone else out there. Bring it on


Think we gain more overall having Flynner in the middle and keep Dermo as roaming half-forward. Of the two Flynn might benefit most from the change. This is assuming he has the legs for it, if not then Dermo is the better option in that regard.

If one of our half-forwards ends up at half-back it will define alot of other selection issues too. I would have thought Flynner would do a really good job of replacing MCarthy, in terms of ability, experience, physicality, and mentality. Only issue currently being possibly legs and/or post-injury mobility problem. But it may be the best we can do. We have options in the forwards.


It certainly looked like he moved to midfield but was it more of a tactical ploy to allow him play from deeper and orchestrate the game, similar to CK?


Being bullish is great but we all agreed last year that the backs was the area where we didn’t seem to have the strength in depth. Since then, we have lost long-term our full-back, our player of the year halfback, and now our most important/influential remaining back other than COS. So people being simply realistic about the facts should not always be met with “ah we’ll be grand”


Never said that, just providing some balance. We’re undoubtedly weaker at the back but imo we look better in the forwards. Rocks form over frees is a game changer imo. Can teams afford to stop our running game with fouling giving how good he is? I’m not sure.

Being weaker at the back might invite teams to go more offensive against us. We might see some huge scoring contests but I’m remaining confident that we will prevail in a shootout. And yes I do remember 2014 :wink:


Going to pick you up on a couple of those!

Last year Rock was very good too - up until the QF stage. After that he had quite a dip in the big games. No doubt he’s going super this year, better than I thought he was capable of, but I’m not counting any chickens just yet.

Small was no better than Lowndes in the first half. I thought it was mindboggling that the Sunday Game listed him as a MotM contender. Things changed in the 2nd half for sure when his man went off injured, but he still had a case of butter fingers for a lot of the game. Delighted to have him mind you, but he’s not yet in Jack’s or Jamesie’s class (and in fairness both of them had the odd dodgy outing too in their first full year as starters).


Disagree about Small in the first half. He was clearly better in the second half but I wouldn’t say he was poor in the first half either. From where I was sitting he looked most likely for us to break their defensive structure in the first half. He was running at them better than anyone else in the first half, but that’s not saying much as we were collectively poor first half


Dean is the sort of player who is generally very consistent but the higher the quality of the opposition his impact will always be less. He is not the sort who turns on greater performance the bigger the game/opposition. But neither is he sort who will disappear either. He can be nullifed somewhat but still provides the place-kick option, and still has this ability to get into all the best positions, an underrated ability not many players have.

His place-kicking suffered somewhat in the bigger games last year and in that I will also hold judgement til the bigger games come. If he could reach that level of the best free-takers that he can be very accurate no matter what the pressure then he really will be massively important. One thing I’ve notied this year is that within the games we’ve played, in some situations/contexts he could easily have been put off, distracted etc prior to some kicks, and still the accuracy was the same. That’s a really good sign.

If he could only fill in the last bit of what his dad used to do, score vital goals from almost nothing chances. Funnily enough Barney was so similar in that positional sense, smart, economical, very hard to mark. And also the same lack of obvious agression, physicality, that same cultured style, that can suffer against the meanest backs/back units. Barney was somewhat nullifed by the Meath backs for those reasons (that and injury).

I still recall Barney’s (very forgotten) goal against Kerry in 84, we were 2nd best all over but he engineered a goal that got us back in it.


I actually thought Rock had a very good first half in the AI final and was very unlucky to be subbed. He is much more aggressive in the tackle now and got a super turnover just before half time in that final.

At underage level I always thought he was good but not great, but I think he has steadily improved year on year over the last three years.


I think that’s partially unfair Al, he made telling contributions in the 2013 league final v Tyrone and scored 2 superb points v Kerry in the 2013 semi final when the game was in the melting pot. Granted both appearances were as a substitute but we wouldn’t have won that league final without him.

I really hope his general improvement throughout 2016 continues into the last 8 as some of us here were overly harsh when he struggled to find form in the latter part of the 2015 championship.


agree with that, he was class, would be very harsh to drop him. One or two others are performing well below what Kev is and should make way for Andrews.

I was just thinking the same thing, looks well able for the physical stuff this year - was always a bit light looking before.


I think you misread what I said, and IMO his performances as sub in those games proved his consistency. It’s harder to judge substitute performances in comparison to starter and/or whole game performances. Funny thing is, since becoming a starter/whole game player whilst gradually improving the overall impression is the same, really consistent, consistently effective.

But my point was also that in the major games last year (his first time starting/playing most of the game for several games at that stage?) his effectiveness was down a bit (overall) on earlier games last year (no surprise there, that would be true of alot of players, against the best opposition). And that he wouldn’t be a player to dominate a major game like a Connolly, Brogans, Kevin (as sub, so far), Andrews last year, Fenton, McMahon, COS, Jack, etc. His performance seems to remain roughly the same. He doesn’t raise his game, he doesn’t drop or wilt.


Bang on wifi


Rock is there on merit, he gives us a option we never had before given he nails practically 100% of all his in range frees. He is almost undroppable now. When was the last time he actually missed from within his range? He also landing a lot more 50 plus kick as well and hopefully we may be seeing signs of improving there. Although only when the heat is turned up will we know that. He is also doing better from open play too.

We won’t lose out to a huge extent defensively from Jacks omission as I believe Small is a better defender. Jack adds a dynamic no other player offers but Small is no slouch either. I think Small will turn out Rolls Royce.

McCarthy is simply irreplaceable. We don’t have another player like that, no other team does. He is in the prime of his career and was player of the year in waiting. Huge loss, team is weakened but by moving Cooper out we revert him to a more natural position and Fitz can do a job at 3 or in the corner.

The half forward line shouldn’t be altered in my view.


We really are drinking the 2014 coolade. I thought the last of that had been dumped in the Liffey. But I suppose the Celtic Tiger is back…


I personally think is down to Philly more than anyone else. He has gone too maverick since the AI, had a poor league IMO. I hope his obviois big game attitude from ladt year comes back for the QF.


If we are going to play Donegal, we can’t afford to be putting lads In the half back line who aren’t playing there all year and whos natural instinct is to bomb forward, we will get away with this against weaker teams , although having said that for any team to beat us i feel they will need a couple of goals , Rocks form is a huge asset and we can afford to run at their defence and get frees all day long.
I’ve given out about him before but over the last year Mick Fitz has done little wrong and if James is out , he has to be fitted in somewhere.
Philly has to show some leadership now and stop trying to be a maverick. We need him badly now to show everyone what a great defender he is .
David Byrne can’t be allowed find himself one on one with oppositions best forward, because he can be turned easily
at times, hes still a good defender and will become a great one, but he needs cover.


2014 was a huge tactical blunder by jim even given what went before. U cant send a team out to play donegal with a message of attack no matter what and keep at it even if ur gettin ur arse handed too u. That lesson has been learnt tho and i dont think posters are being over optimistic by saying we are still the best even without the 3 lads. Tyrone are the only ones that woulf frighten me but i dont think theyd beat us. Mayo, cork, donegal or kerry we can beat without the 3 lads. At least 1 if not 2 will be back for the semis and we WILL be there. We should have 4 of the last 5 all-irelands. Confident we will retain sam if dermo can stay on the field, haaaa! Cheer up lads.


The bottomline is , it is early days and it is hard to read too much into form or anything else, no county has been performing brilliantly and all are showing weaknesses. People are worried about MDMA and rightly so, but we were also worried last year, but I for one feel we would not have won the All Ireland without him, he seemed to kick the team into action against Mayo, not saying it will happen again, but why not.
Others are talking about Jack coming back, I seriously doubt it, I am sure these things are discussed and when Gavin said he would not be involved he meant it, if Jack was going to be back at this stage and was willing to be involved I am sure he would be, but I guess that was not the plan.
Others are talking about Mccarthy as if it is 100% he is gone, maybe I am missing something but I have not seen confirmation of this anywhere.