2018 NHL1B Round 5 - Laois v Dublin: Portlaoise, Sun, 11 Mar 14:30

Simples. Win and we’re in the quarter final. Lose and its relegation against Antrim who would be looking forward to having another cut at us.

Its not a given but you’d fancy Dublin. Laois did rack up a good score (0-27) against Antrim so they’ve obviously been running some shooting drills in training.

I have a feeling of dread for this game FFS!

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Should be a win… and should be with ease. If it is not, there is no progression. My team would be (based on who has played to date and who seems to be available).

O Carroll
O Donnell

Rushe (if he’s right, Kelly if he’s not).



Ryan (Dillon if he is available)

That’s not going to be the team though, he will probably start Whitely and Burke as he has done in every game they have been available for - but I think that is a big mistake.

Darren Kelly? He picked up a bad injury yesterday.

I like the idea of Rushe there too though. Saw him afterwards, he looks like he’s shipped a lot of weight. Is in great nick as they say.

Darren Kelly was in a lot of discomfort as the teams were leaving dugout at end of game!

I thought Ronan Hayes did well for his 1st taste of Senior Hurling against the current All-Ireland Champions, deserves another opportunity.


@Savio @Bluedub - if Kelly is out then he could put Rushe back there, or move Connolly back I guess. I thought Kelly did well yesterday.

Just on Rushe though, he won the penalty fair enough (although we probably would have scored if the ref had let the play go on a few seconds longer), but apart from that he just wasn’t mobile enough. He spends half the time on the ground after falling when trying to turn sharply. He does chaos among the opposition, but I am not sure that’s enough.

@Edberg - I thought also that Hayes did well. If Dillon wasn’t available, he might be a better bet then Ryan who was my original pick.


Hayes did alright yesterday. But with this being a must win game I would go with Ryan for experience alone! Like wise I would definitely go with Rushe in the half back line. But they seem hell bent on playing him in full forward line.


I’d go with:

Nolan/Maguire (toss up really)



Cian Boland


Paul Ryan
R O’Dwyer

Must win game so we need experience. Pitch will probably be heavy so we’ll get away with the few older more pysical lads. ROD in there to break it up for Paul Ryan & Winters to pick up breaks. Let Ryan hit frees to take pressure off Winters.

Bring on some of the younger lads when the opens up in the last 15/20 mins.

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Is Gilroy even considering Rushe as a defender? He seems to be playing him up front all the time.

The truth be told he is probably just exhausting all avenues open to him. He would be well aware of his ability to defend and will ultimately play him defence!


Agree. But it’s been tried and tried before and hasn’t worked. We cant keep having a first year management team trying it with one of our best defenders.

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The difficulty is that Crummey has been excellent at centre back and has taken his game to another level since been made captain. Rushe doesn’t have the pace or mobility to play wing back. It’s a real issue to find a place for him on the team.


I said it at the end of last year. Rushe should be at 3 or mid this year. Think he was found out a little at 6 last year. With Crummy doing well at 6 I’d try Rushe in one of those 2 positions. Probably not agile enough for 3, but would be a good match with an athletic partner in mf.

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Rushe has the mobility of a bigger man, I don’t understand it really. He is big and strong, but he isn’t massive, yet he turns like a guy with a lot more muscle mass then he actually has.

It might be fixable with the right sort of training. I don’t remember him like that as a young lad.


Do you remember the year (apologies- early onset senility!) he really bulked up to play full forward against Kilkenny? J.J. cleaned him but he never really lost that bulk, which has hampered him ever since.

My issue with the set up is not so much the positions as the lack of a plan. So whereas I don’t see Rushe as a forward due to a massive lack of mobility and ability to turn quickly, I could understand it if they tried him at full forward with two fast corner forwards to feed off him, and pulled the half forward line out fifty yards. I know they need to try different players but I am struggling to see an overall plan or any tactics.

he was a pretty effective forward on the u21 team, think it was him at 11 and David tracy at 14. Or was it the other way around. Anyways he was a very effective forward then.

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To be honest I don’t see the plan either, but that sort of reassures me in a way. I am fairly sure there has to be one, and the fact that it isn’t obvious means it might be good.

With Rushe it might just be a case of easing him back in with short stints in the forwards. Or maybe there is some huge work going on with his mobility.

What worries me more is that every plan seems to involve Burke and I don’t think he is ready yet for this. In the Offaly game he played the ball four times I think and in the Limerick one he went the entire second half without touching it, until injury time. So I can sort of understand McMorrows issues with being subbed when he was at least getting on the ball. But having said that, come summer time the ground will suit Burke better. But I would think it would be better to keep him away for a while and develop him physically. All of this game time is actually taking from his ability to build muscle mass.

Less weights and more yoga. Can’t be beyond modern sports science to make a super fit human person more agile/flexible?

In fairness Micky Whelan is or at least should be very knowledgeable in this area of conditioning. It might well be a slower long term plan that won’t have him back to peak fitness until mid championship or even 2019. It can be very frustrating to watch a former All Star play well below par and out of what we believe to be his best position. But we need to allow those who probably know best to try work their magic!

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