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What's going wrong with Ulster teams?

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As a long term observer of Ulster football I believe the game here is struggling badly and in pretty poor shape. There used to be some very talented footballers in the province and fellas who played with heart, desire, fight and real bite. I think this has all gone from Ulster football. Donegal and Monaghan are carrying the mantle and Tyrone is keeping it's head just above water but other 6 county teams are in a dire situation. Down, Derry, Armagh especially are as low as they can possibly go. Where are the new Canavans, McConvilles, O'Neills, McDonnells, Clarkes, Murphys etc coming from? Nowhere as far as I can see.

Ulsterman (Antrim) - 16/04/2017 01:23:54    1979772

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Replying To Ulsterman:  "As a long term observer of Ulster football I believe the game here is struggling badly and in pretty poor shape. There used to be some very talented footballers in the province and fellas who played with heart, desire, fight and real bite. I think this has all gone from Ulster football. Donegal and Monaghan are carrying the mantle and Tyrone is keeping it's head just above water but other 6 county teams are in a dire situation. Down, Derry, Armagh especially are as low as they can possibly go. Where are the new Canavans, McConvilles, O'Neills, McDonnells, Clarkes, Murphys etc coming from? Nowhere as far as I can see."
Good point though without being too dramatic as there is and will be more good creative footballers around the province. On a simple evaluation maybe coaches and especially youth and development squad coaches need to lossen the restrictions on players creativity and accept they might lose the ball every now and then. Possibly more an all ireland problem than a 'northie' one. The last few years scoring averages have risen as a province ulster were a bit behind on changing. Although started now (two big hammerings in ulster last year unheard of 7-10 years ago. ). It made for close ges in the province but allowed for teams be caught in the qualifiers by supposedly lesser teams. Donegal u21 a case in point as a very good team , but yesterday probably looked too well coached at times ( sounds ridiculous ) as when running game didnt break dublin down it was like their players natural creativity just wasn't there to try something different.

ctowers (Dublin) - 16/04/2017 09:54:59    1979787

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The football is being taken out of them due to over reliance on systems and negative defensive play. The Ulster football championship as long as I can remember has been horrific dogged stuff to watch and all the teams up there now seem to play a similar dogged style of play.

uibhfhaili1986 (Offaly) - 16/04/2017 11:31:51    1979807

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The players are still there it's the boring negative systems and tactics that are killing it.

clondalkindub (Dublin) - 16/04/2017 12:17:30    1979828

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Replying To clondalkindub:  "The players are still there it's the boring negative systems and tactics that are killing it."
Exactly, just need managers brave enough to let the talented players play and for forwards to be judged on their attacking ability, not how quickly they can get back into the defensive system in their own half. It looks like the edge Ulster teams had by playing the defensive game better than most has been wiped out now and it looks to be time for a new tactical approach - hopefully whatever new system is developed has a bigger reliance on having talented footballers.

Soma (UK) - 16/04/2017 12:55:07    1979839

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The issue for the Ulster teams is that they simply don't score enough to win games in Croke Park. All the top teams play with a blanket defence nowadays so the Ulster teams are no different in that regard. However they find it difficult to get scores at the other end of the pitch. In fairness to Monaghan and Donegal they seem to be trying to play more attacking this year and I hope they don't revert back to old habits come championship time. Tyrone seem to be persisting with same game plan so can't see them winning much in Croke Park but they could win Ulster. There just isn't a really top side in Ulster at the moment and the negative tactics do not help.

Green_Gold (Donegal) - 16/04/2017 14:15:48    1979857

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Replying To uibhfhaili1986:  "The football is being taken out of them due to over reliance on systems and negative defensive play. The Ulster football championship as long as I can remember has been horrific dogged stuff to watch and all the teams up there now seem to play a similar dogged style of play."
Well I may be a bit older, but some of the best football I have seen been played years ago was by ulster teams . But they need to drop the blanket, its been found out by every county now, whichever county revert to positive play then the players will perform

royaldunne (Meath) - 16/04/2017 14:41:31    1979858

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I think that the way the game has gone, and it originated in Ulster, is taking away from the more natural skillful player and their desire to take their game to the top level, as it involves maybe too much hardship and not enough fun. I'll use Michael Murphy as an example. Luckily he has an AI medal, but don't tell me he has found the last few years enjoyable outside of that medal. In my mind his talents have been more or less wasted and his time is nearly up. Young players see this and probably say to themselves, feck that. This is not an attack on Ulster as it has spread throughout the country, and only a couple of teams can defend and attack the way Dublin, Kerry, Donegal or even Mayo can right now. McGuinness came up with this system to prevent 'hidings' and then took it to another level which secured them success in 2012, and nearly again in '14. Trouble is though, most teams don't have a McGuinness to drive it forward, or do they have the same kind of personnel who are willing to toil like that. The only way forward is a more attacking type of game that appeals to the eyes or to the player, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. In the meantime all teams will do what they have to do to win, it's a science now whether we like it or not, sure didn't Eamonn Fitzmaurice spend the last few years in the lab trying to concoct a antidote to the terrible disease that is the Dubs :D

realdub (Dublin) - 16/04/2017 15:40:00    1979872

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So Ulster teams should drop the blanket defence and we should just go on pretending that other major counties dont use it? any county that doesnt use it are lambs to the slaughter and I'm sick and tired of hearing that these tactics are exclusive to Ulster teams. Open your eyes ffs! As for the strength of Ulster football. Four teams playing division one football this year suggests that something is going right. Traditionally, its not as if Ulster have always had a list of All Ireland contenders to choose from every year. The early 90s and 00s were the exception rather than the norm. No surprise to see traditional counties like Dublin and Kerry as favourates. What is so bad with having three counties (Tyrone, Donegal and Monaghan) who on their day could give any top county a defeat. how many could do it in Leinster, Muster and Caunnaght? A lot to do about nothing. Ulster is no worse off than any other province imo.

SaffronDon (Antrim) - 16/04/2017 16:14:46    1979879

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Replying To Ulsterman:  "As a long term observer of Ulster football I believe the game here is struggling badly and in pretty poor shape. There used to be some very talented footballers in the province and fellas who played with heart, desire, fight and real bite. I think this has all gone from Ulster football. Donegal and Monaghan are carrying the mantle and Tyrone is keeping it's head just above water but other 6 county teams are in a dire situation. Down, Derry, Armagh especially are as low as they can possibly go. Where are the new Canavans, McConvilles, O'Neills, McDonnells, Clarkes, Murphys etc coming from? Nowhere as far as I can see."
There are plenty of handy footballers in Ulster. Sigerson champs and plenty of Div1 teams this year. The issue is whilst very good they aren't top top drawer yet. Like the 80's we don't have a top drawer team yet. No big deal Donegal and Tyrone are only going to get better and Cavan have several u21 teams to bring through. We have no divine right to dine at the top table and it makes it all the more satisfying when a team from the north comes through.

duckula20 (Antrim) - 16/04/2017 17:54:37    1979900

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Some posters don't make sense For the last few years posters have been lacing into Leinster teams for trying to play attacking football against Dublin in Leinster championship and calling them naive when they get beat doing so. now they are slating Ulster teams for setting up that way haha seems but strange.

hill16no1man (Dublin) - 16/04/2017 18:13:46    1979905

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Replying To royaldunne:  "Well I may be a bit older, but some of the best football I have seen been played years ago was by ulster teams . But they need to drop the blanket, its been found out by every county now, whichever county revert to positive play then the players will perform"
I've been watching football since the mid 90's and honestly I used to dread ulster championship matches even back then when I was young.Great players playing up there but the matches were also very rough and lacked the flow of the other provinces.It's got worse in the last 10 years or so.

uibhfhaili1986 (Offaly) - 16/04/2017 19:21:56    1979933

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Replying To hill16no1man:  "Some posters don't make sense For the last few years posters have been lacing into Leinster teams for trying to play attacking football against Dublin in Leinster championship and calling them naive when they get beat doing so. now they are slating Ulster teams for setting up that way haha seems but strange."
Boggles the mind. Fickle bunch

The_Fridge (Tyrone) - 16/04/2017 20:17:40    1979947

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Replying To uibhfhaili1986:  "I've been watching football since the mid 90's and honestly I used to dread ulster championship matches even back then when I was young.Great players playing up there but the matches were also very rough and lacked the flow of the other provinces.It's got worse in the last 10 years or so."
Oh was a bit to rough for you? Maybe watch a non contact sport then.

The_Fridge (Tyrone) - 16/04/2017 20:18:34    1979948

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Replying To SaffronDon:  "So Ulster teams should drop the blanket defence and we should just go on pretending that other major counties dont use it? any county that doesnt use it are lambs to the slaughter and I'm sick and tired of hearing that these tactics are exclusive to Ulster teams. Open your eyes ffs! As for the strength of Ulster football. Four teams playing division one football this year suggests that something is going right. Traditionally, its not as if Ulster have always had a list of All Ireland contenders to choose from every year. The early 90s and 00s were the exception rather than the norm. No surprise to see traditional counties like Dublin and Kerry as favourates. What is so bad with having three counties (Tyrone, Donegal and Monaghan) who on their day could give any top county a defeat. how many could do it in Leinster, Muster and Caunnaght? A lot to do about nothing. Ulster is no worse off than any other province imo."
I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I don't think Ulster has fallen too far behind, we've none of the top 3 teams but have 3 of the top 6 teams. I do think the level below the top teams has dropped. Derry, Down, Armagh and Antrim are at low ebbs right now. Last year was a very bad championship for Ulster and it continued into the league for many of the teams. What is frustrating for me isn't that teams are going out it's the manner in which they have gone out. Tyrone when they went behind in the closing stages against Mayo didn't have the capacity to win the ball back to get the score they needed. They've been playing a counter attacking reactive game for a long time and they need to find something extra now because the top teams know not to play into Tyrone's hands, they're good enough to get a lead and hold onto it. Some of the other championship losses last year were disappointing for Ulster teams. Longford beat both Down and Monaghan. Antrim lost at home to Limerick who couldn't win a game in division 3. Armagh lost to Laois (twice really). Ulster is not at the highs of a few years ago and negative tactics I feel have hurt us. Every good team has a solid defence and will get men behind the ball when out of possession but Ulster teams are more negative than that. Some don't really attack at all they only counter attack and that is showing up to be not good enough now. Ulster teams need to adjust or they will start to fall behind.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - 16/04/2017 20:48:58    1979954

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Replying To Whammo86:  "I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I don't think Ulster has fallen too far behind, we've none of the top 3 teams but have 3 of the top 6 teams. I do think the level below the top teams has dropped. Derry, Down, Armagh and Antrim are at low ebbs right now. Last year was a very bad championship for Ulster and it continued into the league for many of the teams. What is frustrating for me isn't that teams are going out it's the manner in which they have gone out. Tyrone when they went behind in the closing stages against Mayo didn't have the capacity to win the ball back to get the score they needed. They've been playing a counter attacking reactive game for a long time and they need to find something extra now because the top teams know not to play into Tyrone's hands, they're good enough to get a lead and hold onto it. Some of the other championship losses last year were disappointing for Ulster teams. Longford beat both Down and Monaghan. Antrim lost at home to Limerick who couldn't win a game in division 3. Armagh lost to Laois (twice really). Ulster is not at the highs of a few years ago and negative tactics I feel have hurt us. Every good team has a solid defence and will get men behind the ball when out of possession but Ulster teams are more negative than that. Some don't really attack at all they only counter attack and that is showing up to be not good enough now. Ulster teams need to adjust or they will start to fall behind."
Correct and that's the point I was making. While Ulster sides in the early 90's and 2002 - 2012 could defend their corner they could also score and that's why many of them won All Irelands. Nowadays I just don't see the silky, edgy talented forwards coming through in present Ulster teams. You win All Irelands and National Leagues by putting the ball over and under the bar. Ulster sides need to reinvent themselves.

Ulsterman (Antrim) - 16/04/2017 23:23:37    1979999

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Replying To The_Fridge:  "Oh was a bit to rough for you? Maybe watch a non contact sport then."
Just a lack of good football and dogged shite with endless rows unfortunately.I like to watch good football being played unfortunately I didn't see a whole lot of in Ulster championship over the years as a lot of the teams decided they didn't really want to go out and play football.

uibhfhaili1986 (Offaly) - 16/04/2017 23:40:27    1980006

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Replying To uibhfhaili1986:  "Just a lack of good football and dogged shite with endless rows unfortunately.I like to watch good football being played unfortunately I didn't see a whole lot of in Ulster championship over the years as a lot of the teams decided they didn't really want to go out and play football."
You enjoy the Leinster championship better? The hammerings Dublin give teams? Or Munster with Kerry? Ulster had two drawn semi finals and a final that was won in injury time. Give me that any day of the week.

The_Fridge (Tyrone) - 16/04/2017 23:50:36    1980010

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Replying To uibhfhaili1986:  "Just a lack of good football and dogged shite with endless rows unfortunately.I like to watch good football being played unfortunately I didn't see a whole lot of in Ulster championship over the years as a lot of the teams decided they didn't really want to go out and play football."
All True Though on that note could you give us your top ten - specialist topic Leinster finals 1995-2016

ruanua (Donegal) - 17/04/2017 00:12:58    1980016

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I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with Ulster football. Donegal, Tyrone and Monaghan are all good teams playing in Division 1. For those saying they have no forwards I would say Murphy, mcbrearty, McCarron and McManus would make any county team in the country. I can't name four better forwards in any other province. Granted some of the games up there are fairly turgid low scoring affairs but is that any worse than watching the absolute hammerings we see elsewhere? I don't expect any of the above teams to lift Sam this year but wouldn't be utterly shocked if one of them did either. The main reason Ulster teams are not winning Sam is because we have an exceptional Dublin side who have dominated since 2011. Incidentally the last side to beat Dublin in the championship was Donegal, who are also one of only three sides to win it since the turn of the decade.

GeniusGerry (Kerry) - 17/04/2017 00:42:00    1980023

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