Sligo Forum

Club Football

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Is it just me or does anyone else agree with me that Club football in Sligo is at the poorest standard for the last 10 years. I was watching a senior game this weekend and also seen another game the week before and could not get over the poor standard of football. I had a mate of mine down from Dublin and he compared the senior game to a junior football game in Dublin. I would value his opnion as he played a high level himself and is a good mate of mine and was not just putting Sligo club football down.
Lets take the foot of the pedal talking about talking about County football and us winning Nestor cups, if we dont' improve the standard of club football in Sligo we are on the back foot straight away.
I hope i don't come across as very criticial but i am very very concerened.

Any thoughts?

sligodomain (Sligo) - Posts: 88 - 15/04/2013 10:38:07    1367773

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The standard of club football has been poor for years. Cant really pay much heed to the early rounds of the league in the month of April. No team can win back to back titles in the Championship which shows there is no stand out team. Look at St Brigids or Crossmaglen than can dominate not only Co football but Provencial as well. I would not take your friend from Dublin too seriously. They have a population of over 1 million people but at every opportunity steal the good co players from all other counties.
There is just a lack of interest of GAA in Sligo. There is practically no one going to the league matches and clubs seem to change every league fixture for any type of a mickey mouse reason meaning that half the time when people do go to a match that is advertised on a certain day at a certain time the game may be over or not on till the following day. Our administration is just shocking and also our promotion of the games within the county. Very little air play on Ocean poor coverage on the Champion and practically nothing on the Weekender.

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 651 - 15/04/2013 11:05:23    1367801

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Eoin Og - Fair point on administrations and coverage - seems to have dropped a bit in recent times. Ok, we know that Dublin have a population of over a million but our senior league should be a lot higher standard. When we were in the mix club football wise for provincial honours, Curry and Eastern Harps lost connact finals our county was successfull as well.

I also think your point on fixtures been changed is 100%, there are clubs changing div 3 or div 4 games as it does not suit the clubs senior team and it is not right. If you ask any club player in sligo , the biggest issues is fixtures. Sure we don't know the week of a game what day (Sat or Sun) it will be played and then when it could be fixed for a Sat it is not confirmed as can be changed. Could they not sit down and players would know if the games were a Sat or Sunday so plan around, managers could plan training's better or if players are looking for a weekend off or students are working weekends and have to look for time off. What about managers who are brining players home for a game at the weekend, surely if they knew the date of the league fixtures they could block book flights. Be very strict on clubs refixing games and if each club was given 3 chances a year to refix a game it would stop this messing. There are nobody going to games any more in Sligo, I remember going to a senior league game between Curry and Harps 8-9 years agao in Gurteen and was well over 700-800 people there. Wa\s a cracking game to be honest and high level.

sligodomain (Sligo) - Posts: 88 - 15/04/2013 11:24:44    1367818

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First of all lads there was no way there was ever 700/800 people at a league game 8 or 9 years ago, you'd be lucky to get many more than that at a county final. Second of all Dublin junior football is nowhere near the level advertised by Sligodomain's friend, in fact Dublin junior football is at an all-time low!

There are several difficulties with Sligo club football.

First of all emigration has caused a serious decrease in the quality of squads all over the county. Players are now first team league regulars who would never have got a senior game 5 years ago. This has caused the standard of football to decrease hence generating the lack of interest in the league. However, the problem is much less pronounced in the championship when teams have their best 15 out but league football in the county is admittedly quite poor.

A further issue linked to the economic climate is the number of lads studying and working outside Sligo, this results in poor numbers at training and more significantly a lack of quality in training sessions which stalls young player development and the senior players in squads to hit a comfort zone. This trend only seems to be bucked in the summer months when the students return and championship is around the corner.

These two factors feed into the belief that the league is somewhat meaningless and is seen simply as a formality by clubs often with league matches seen as secondary to a quality training session, as a result it would be more prudent to judge the quality of Sligo club football based on the championship.


If we are seriously entertaining the notion that club football is at its "poorest standard for the last ten years" then the championship is the benchmark with which we must measure it as this is where the interest lies and the serious trophy is to be won.

While quality players have emigrated, the training techniques, facilities and information available to club players is at an all-time high. Dietary advice is now the norm within clubs, every club has a strength and conditioning ethos whether that be gym based or pitch based, and most clubs have gym facilities all of which could not be said ten years ago.

The training techniques have also dramatically increased in quality over the past number of years. The concept of players running laps for twenty minutes for fitness is now gone being replaced by sport specific training regimes. Coaching workshops by the likes of Tommy Craddock and Jason Ryan will continue to develop this philosophy of training and has moved on dramatically from even ten years ago.

Club players are also becoming increasingly aware that lifestyle is a key factor with teams regularly going on the dreaded "beer ban" for long periods throughout the year as well as dieting and taking part in strength and conditioning programmes. All unheard of 10 years ago. In fact the norm would have been more along the lines of a few pints before a game to "settle the nerves." Of course these are broad generalisations but players are certainly more aware of their lifestyle choices.

There is no evidence to suggest that the championship standards in club football have dropped at all. Our clubs maintain the same level of performance in Connaught over the past decade which generally results in beating a Leitrim club followed by a some sort of moral victory, doing well for 50 minutes but ultimately losing to a Mayo or Galway club.

Last year there were two excellent semi-finals between Tour/Curry and Marys/Coolera, the former providing a war of attrition and a real tactical battle with the latter offering open football and free flowing attacking play.

The standard of club championship football in Sligo is poor but certainly is no worse than it was ten years ago, I would argue the contrary that it is improving but at a similar or slower rate to the rest of Connaught hence the lack of progress in Connaught by Sligo clubs.

commentator (Sligo) - Posts: 29 - 15/04/2013 18:02:38    1368247

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I just could not let this new poster ''commentator'' go unchallenged on some of his assertions on the state of Club football.It looks to me as though he/she is doing a damage limitation exercise for the Co Board.The reality is that the standard is poor and there is not really much between most of the teams. One of the best games in the Championship last year was the relegation match between Shamrock Gaels and Geevagh and one of the worst was St.Marys and Ballymote.The former got about two paragraphs in the local papers and there in lies part of the problem.Some of the reporting of these games is bordering on the farcical and unlike in other counties no credible analysis is made of the games. The standard will never rise until higher standards are demanded and at the moment Sligo Co Board seem only interested running off the competition and making sure that all the rules are implemented to the letter of the law.Sad that a County that has much to offer is so constrained by such narrow mindedness.

Maggiepie (Sligo) - Posts: 205 - 17/04/2013 21:15:18    1369453

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Fair post Maggiepie and agree with your honest opnion. I was annoyed when i read the reply of Commentator and was not going to reply but said i would since Maggiepie has replied to the topic.

I was at the Curry v Harps game so presume you were as well as you seem to know exact numbers.
Junior football all time low in Dublin, I have a number of mates who play senior club football in Dublin and some who were at a high level of senior that play junior and trust me they said it is very tough.

Emigration - This has effected not just Sligo but every county in Ireland. Players on the team that are not senior players - crazy statement.
Training - Poor numbers - Same applies to every other county. What about weekend training or clubs committing to meet away based players once a week half way up the country for training? Other clubs in the country are doing it - why not sligo clubs?

"The standard of club championship football in Sligo is poor but certainly is no worse than it was ten years ago". Yes - i will say it again club football in Sligo is worse than it was 10 years ago. I have been playing club football in Sligo for the last 15 years in Sligo. I have won championships and also lost championships in Sligo and can remember high scoring intense games that were brilliant to play in - the last few years the standard has dropped big time. I would say if you asked 10 lads who played club football in Sligo what games were like 10 years ago compared to now they would agree with me. I would like to see it like the old way that the 12 teams in Div 1 of the league play Senior championship, the 12 teams in Div 2 play Intermediate championship, Div 3 and 4 play Junior Championship. It will make clubs take the league more serious and to be honest. IWhat about clubs then in Div 2 been allowed to amlagamate with one other club to enter senior championship? I dont agree with this years rule in the league where the top 4 make semi's, should be just top 2 or who is ever there at the end of the year takes it, I think it was E Harps and Gaels wanted this rule changed.

sligodomain (Sligo) - Posts: 88 - 18/04/2013 10:56:25    1369582

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Its the top 2 of each league that play in the final. There are no semi finals. I think its a good idea as it gives a bit of meaning to the last few rounds of the league. Last years Tourlestrane won it at a canter and the year previous Molaise Gaels. Both won with games to spare meaning the last round or 2 of fixtures were no more than challenge games. But I do agree that the poster who has just made is debut on this site is talking rubbish..... The co board have to get off their **** and start promoting our game. All county players were back last weeekend and no report from any match yet there is a big write up about some soccer competition played on the astro turf a competition that incidentally had players well in their forties playing so that should give you an idea of the standard. In another few weeks another "fun" competition will start with Tag rugby and there will be action photos and match reports on the papers. Yet all GAA clubs have to give thousands every year to our Co board and not a word of publicity. On the Champion this week if you take away the club notes and Tommy Brehony column all that was there was a column on the Sligo hurling and a report on Attractas match. If you consider that the clubs send in the notes to the paper and Brehony gets a nixer for his words of wisdom you can then see just how much work and effort is put into the GAA in this county by our Co board and this paper. End of rant.

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 651 - 18/04/2013 11:57:00    1369635

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By the way I have no grieviance against the other sports. I commend them for getting publicity that we sadly cannot get.

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 651 - 18/04/2013 11:58:31    1369636

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eoin og Can we assume your not the sligo gaa pro. )) excellent points

townbuck (Leitrim) - Posts: 197 - 18/04/2013 12:18:55    1369655

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Hats off Eoin - Excellent points. Hopefully some of the Sligo gaa board are reading this or some of the sports editors from the local papers. Love your comment on the tag rugby - funny but very true.

sligodomain (Sligo) - Posts: 88 - 18/04/2013 12:31:20    1369666

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After reading your first sentence "Maggiepie" I was looking forward to being challenged on my views but at no point did you actually disagree with what I said. The standard of football is poor but my belief is that it is no poorer and in fact marginally better than it was ten years ago.

You state that one of the best games of the year was between Shamrock Gaels and Geevagh, who were the two poorest teams in the championship last year with the possible exception of Tubbercurry. This is proven by the fact they were in a relegation play-off. The reason it was given two paragraphs in the paper is was it was because it was a relegation play-off between two of the poorest senior teams in the county. It may have been an entertaining game but even without having been there I can still guarantee you that it was not of a high standard because if these two teams were that good they would have been playing in the latter stages of the championship and not in relegation.

The standard of reporting is nowhere near as bad as you make it out to be. Tommy Brehony, Leo Gray, Darragh Cox and Liam Maloney all provide quite good analysis of the championship and while reporting on the early group games and relegation ties may not be spectacular when it gets down to the serious business of quarter final on our two papers and Ocean FM do a good job. Of course reporting can be improved but initiatives like the club all-stars by the Sligo Champion and the GAA club focus by Ocean FM prove that the media are interested and are capable of contributing seriously to the club scene in Sligo.

Your final point I find somewhat baffling. I fail to see how it is up to the county board to demand higher standards in club football. That is up to the clubs, the players and their management teams. The county board's role is to organise the competition and make sure the rules are applied. I don't see how the County board could raise the standard of football short of improving pitches and facilities which is happening all across the county.

Just to prove however that I am not a secret agent for the county board there is one aspect of their performance which is farcical. That is the fixtures, a point which has been raised already on this thread. League games are moved on a whim which makes it very difficult for people not involved directly with their clubs to attend. I wish this was only the case for the league but the championship often follows in a similar vein. Two years ago when Sligo were knocked out earlier than anticipated the whole club calendar was torn up and no regard given to club players other engagements such as work, holidays etc.

"SligoDomain" the comment about Dublin Junior football was made tongue in cheek and given the number in Dublin I'm sure it's not a bad standard. At no point did I even suggest that emigration wasn't affecting other counties just simply that it was having a negative effect in Sligo. I stand by my statement that "Players are now first team league regulars who would never have got a senior game 5 years ago." I don't know why you think this is a crazy statement, it is true and even backs up your position that the standard of club football, at least in the league is going down.

Sligo clubs are meeting to train in different counties, primarily in Dublin. It still does not change the fact that this causes the standard of training sessions in Sligo to decrease.

If Sligo football was so brilliant ten years ago then someone would have won a Connaught. I find it interesting that the views somebody who is of the belief that club championship football isn't going backwards at a rate of knots are seen to be "annoying" and talking rubbish. There is nothing to suggest that club championship football in Sligo is going backwards, I fail to see how this could happen with fitness levels, training techniques, underage and schools coaching and access to sports science all improving over the last ten years.

commentator (Sligo) - Posts: 29 - 18/04/2013 12:34:38    1369672

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I agree that the standard has dropped. I personally think its down to the numbers playing the game in the county. There is various reasons for this, immigration, commitment, and general lack of interest in county for football. I wonder if we encouraged more village/community clubs would the smaller villages/communities get more behind these teams rather than the big amalgamated teams? I think there is a far bigger pull to commit to the local team where everyone is needed. This can't happen overnight I know, but what letting towns/villages like gurteen/mullinabreena/grange/keash/.. enter competitions on their own for a trial as well as still play with amalgamated clubs .
1. Let these villages enter junior A/B championship
2. Create divisional teams in the county championship in cases where they strong enough

My point would be to try and encourage communities like these to have there own team, and hopefully the community would get behind these teams and start generating a bit more interest in GAA in Sligo. It might be the first step to trying to get more players playing the game. If that did take off, then start introducing divisional teams in the county championship. This would definitely strengthen the competition. And allow good players on junior teams to play senior football for the
divisional side. Club football is in decline and unless some thinking outside the box happens, we will end up with 10 clubs in Sligo and thats not good for the game

longwayback (Sligo) - Posts: 21 - 19/04/2013 10:38:42    1370201

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Well I think commentators comments are so off the wall he must be thinking he is writing about another county. I made the point about zero coverage on papers a fault I attribute to the Co board for not selling our game and he comes back ranting about good coverage of Championship football. Take out the Weekender this week and count the number of sports pages and then count the amount of Gaa pages contained within. I rest my case but again the Astro gets a huge write up despite some of these players prob getting the old age pension.. Long way back has interesting points but I cant see clubs ever wanting to go back down the ladder of playing junior as most clubs even though they amalgamated still would have rebel factions lurking underneath and would love to dismantle the club. Also you would have the financial element as these junior clubs would prob need to affiliate to Co board and then a new club exec so it just not straighforward...... I think most clubs have 2nd and sometimes 3rd teams so if lads want football there is plenty to be got

eoinog (Sligo) - Posts: 651 - 19/04/2013 11:36:14    1370237

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Commentator, Life is too short for me to give a line by line analysis/rebuttal of your first post,I was making a broad general point.You seem to grudgingly agree that Club Football is poor but you are prepared to offer excuses for its current poverty and accept it.But your second post betrays you and confirms my initial suspicion that you are defending the Co Board.By stating that Geevagh v Shamrock Gaels was ONLY a relegation match between the two poorest teams and only merits two paragraphs in the papers reflects the respect that was had for two clubs who served up a quality game and for spectators [over 200] who were charged 10 euro on the way in.

Maggiepie (Sligo) - Posts: 205 - 19/04/2013 14:10:39    1370349

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Like your thinking Longwayback..

Leitrim has more football clubs than us and half the population. I think it ridiculous that I played against in my time Maugherow, Cliffoney, Grange, Northern Gaels and now there is just Molaise, and this would be a well populated area.

Club football is also poorer in the league for the point always being made - no co players.

As for coverage - the papers are more to blame than co bd in my opinion. The papers are not willing to put a reporter outside of Rovers matches . Look at the Western People, 3-4 reporters on GAA alone. The Champion I know will publish match reports but will not pay the reporter in my experience. The co pro could do more with the radio probably.

overinthewest (Sligo) - Posts: 119 - 19/04/2013 14:52:19    1370389

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I cannot make my position much clearer. Championship football is at a poor standard in Sligo, league football is substantially worse again, however it is no worse than it was 10 years ago, that is my only point. Nobody on here has disagreed with my arguments about training techniques, fitness levels, lifestyle choices and coaching all improving but still you all seem to think the football is going backwards. Is there anything to back this view up? As I said already the two semi finals last year were excellent and performance in Connaught has remained constant.

Maggiepie if you read my posts again I have never once contradicted myself, "betrayed" or said anything inconsistent with my view which is summarised in the above paragraph. In regards to the relegation game, the reality is that it was between two poor senior teams and deserved the coverage it got and no more. In all sport coverage and attention is based on the level that the games are played at, not on the entertainment value of the game. A relegation game is at a substantially lower level then the latter rounds of the championship. Curry or Marys would have easily beaten either team, that is why it was given no attention and rightly so.

On the media front I'm not sure what you expect eoinog, big right ups about league games with no crowds and even the clubs and players themselves having a limited interest in. In GAA the championship is what matters, this is the same for all levels of the game and always has been. When this time comes around the media do a good job. Take out the Weekender when Sligo play in the championship or the club championship starts and count the pages dedicated to GAA compared to soccer then. The nature of GAA and sport in general is seasonal, it cannot fill the paper every week of the year.

commentator (Sligo) - Posts: 29 - 19/04/2013 14:53:44    1370390

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Commentator, first of all you need to realise that most contributors to this site are only here to make rants about the CB. The poor quality of coverage in papers as anyone knows is nothing to do with the CB. The CB are however at fault for making club games an afterthought, an inconvenience around the county teams. That said many clubs just don't make the effort to bring on players, a good example is what Mary's have done recently when they put their mind to it. When tour and curry plan in the league they coul almost give the title to the winner. Lastly regarding Dublin, league football is poor there too, with their population they should be dominating. They too seem to be turning things around but it has to start at underage and the club's themselves.

TimtheEnchanter (Sligo) - Posts: 309 - 22/04/2013 09:56:15    1371450

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The papers are always looking for info to fill their pages and if this info is sent to them on time they will print it. This is ultimately down to the Clubs and the County Board. The reason the likes of the Astro Turf stories are making the paper is because someone is doing the write-up them selves and providing the information to the paper thus leaving them with little or nothing to do with the story only print it. When there are club matches on, surely the home team can give the job to someone to take a few notes and send it to the papers.

Benbulben (Sligo) - Posts: 298 - 22/04/2013 10:21:16    1371476

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Benbulben, talk to your club PRO, what ever club notes you put in will be cropped to a fraction of what was wanted. Many of you on here are ranting with no idea of what is going on in your own clubs.

TimtheEnchanter (Sligo) - Posts: 309 - 22/04/2013 21:06:43    1372068

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Heres a thought!!! Instead of moaning about there being no coverage of club league games, why not have everyone on here do a write up of the game they go to at the weekend. Pretty Simple and the majority of the rubbish they write about is soccer so im pretty happy they dont TRY and write about a sport they dont follow.

rupp (Sligo) - Posts: 93 - 23/04/2013 09:48:23    1372151

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