National Forum

Winning A County Championship

(Oldest Posts First)

I come from a club that has not won a county championship in 51 years. I don't really want to say the club. I know there is no real answer, but looking for what people in clubs that have won after a prolonged period of time what they put it down to.
Is it a crop of players came along and it just happened.
Is it down to the people in the club sitting down and coming up with a plan
Is it down to management and getting players to commit, like the American football film any given Sunday.

I suppose I'm asking for external guidance and views. From where we are(I'm involved underage not senior), which is always losing and lacking the believe that we can win is where our mentality is at it's hard to see the wood from the trees. What can we do to change and bridge the long game
Thanks for replies

Nmcg (Kerry) - Posts: 1 - 27/08/2020 20:23:35    2289419

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Replying To Nmcg:  "I come from a club that has not won a county championship in 51 years. I don't really want to say the club. I know there is no real answer, but looking for what people in clubs that have won after a prolonged period of time what they put it down to.
Is it a crop of players came along and it just happened.
Is it down to the people in the club sitting down and coming up with a plan
Is it down to management and getting players to commit, like the American football film any given Sunday.

I suppose I'm asking for external guidance and views. From where we are(I'm involved underage not senior), which is always losing and lacking the believe that we can win is where our mentality is at it's hard to see the wood from the trees. What can we do to change and bridge the long game
Thanks for replies"
my club went around 60 years between senior titles , despite some near misses in the proceeding years and having a very talenting team the big reason for me was bringing in an outside coach. I guess the clubs attitude had been a bit lax. Brought in an outside coach who took no rubbish from anyone and helped to focus the team. Had a similar experience in London, had a coach come in rather than a manager and just got players to focus on how they needed to prepare, train etc. Just having a new voice come in at times can made a big difference.

Rosineri1 (UK) - Posts: 1943 - 28/08/2020 10:13:21    2289456

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This is an outsiders opinion as I have never been involved in running a club but bringing in a trained coach or 2 seems to be key.

Why not reach out to some of the more successful clubs and ask them.

Na Piarsaigh in had never won a Limerick senior until 2011 and the success didn't come out of nowhere it was slow build and they used grants very effectively which was of course coupled with some fine talent coming along but Caherdavin wouldn't be a GAA stronghold so who knows what would have happened to the likes of the Caseys or Dowling without hard work.

Breezy (Limerick) - Posts: 952 - 28/08/2020 16:49:46    2289532

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We know all about famines in Mayo. Every now and then a club will get a good batch of players that come along together and I suppose it's about keeping them together and developing the talent...but it all starts at underage, you need luck too...big problem my club has like many rural West of Ireland ones have, is keeping lads in the game once they hit college or move away for work.

I know all Ireland's is the absolute pinnacle but for 99% of us, Winning a county title with our club is the ultimate goal.

yew_tree (Mayo) - Posts: 10188 - 28/08/2020 18:10:21    2289541

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The most important thing is "buy in" and professionalism from the word go. You get players to buy into the whole effort and it can be a massive game changer.

Bon (Kildare) - Posts: 924 - 28/08/2020 19:30:52    2289553

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I was lucky enough to win a few late 60s early 70s, great pride and joy.

lilypad (Kildare) - Posts: 1271 - 28/08/2020 19:46:26    2289555

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Unfortunately, you need everything, as follows:

1. Youth structure to bring on the new players; and the current players need to help out with this; the young ones appreciate when they're coached by their local heroes
2. Especially if you haven't won in a long time, at least 3 or 4 exceptional players and the rest all have to be solid
3. Good manager, ideally a local, to whip them into shape. Good players by themselves won't win much.
4. Tradition, otherwise known as a win at all costs mentality. Recreational / hopeful footballers will win you nothing; a degree of obsession helps, as does a fanatical GAA culture in the wider community. Some teams are happy to have "played a good game" or "done their best". Fair enough, but they'll never win anything. It helps if the attitude is that you are genuinely angered / disgusted / outraged at losing. Kerry county fans have the right attitude!
5. Everyone working together and no cliques / favourites.
6. Generous community who will contribut€ to the club.

Every club will always have a few good players coming through, so 1, 2, 3 , 5 and 6 are about sheer unrelenting hard work.
If 2 teams are equal on those factors, the team with the winning tradition (manifests as self-belief / arrogance / ruthlessness) will usually edge it over the team that's trying to break through.

Breakthrough is very hard, as defeat aka "getting to the semis" or "giving a good account of ourselves" or "having a good run" becomes a losing way of life and it's hard to win if, deep down, you don't genuinely feel you will win.

So to make a breakthrough, and to compensate for the fact that you don't have any recent tradition of winning, you have to unearth 6 or 7 excellent players. Thereafter, once you're more used to success, you can keep the show going with maybe 3 or 4 top players.

Good luck

essmac (Tyrone) - Posts: 733 - 28/08/2020 23:48:24    2289588

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You need 18-20 players all pulling together and at least 1-2 mentors to guide the direction that the players are going. You can't take short cuts. You have to be organised. You'l need to get an element of luck. You need to get the small things right and the big moments then will look after themselves.

Whammo86 (Antrim) - Posts: 3034 - 28/08/2020 23:59:55    2289591

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Replying To Nmcg:  "I come from a club that has not won a county championship in 51 years. I don't really want to say the club. I know there is no real answer, but looking for what people in clubs that have won after a prolonged period of time what they put it down to.
Is it a crop of players came along and it just happened.
Is it down to the people in the club sitting down and coming up with a plan
Is it down to management and getting players to commit, like the American football film any given Sunday.

I suppose I'm asking for external guidance and views. From where we are(I'm involved underage not senior), which is always losing and lacking the believe that we can win is where our mentality is at it's hard to see the wood from the trees. What can we do to change and bridge the long game
Thanks for replies"
In hurling?

KingdomBoy1 (Kerry) - Posts: 11162 - 29/08/2020 09:06:36    2289614

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Replying To Nmcg:  "I come from a club that has not won a county championship in 51 years. I don't really want to say the club. I know there is no real answer, but looking for what people in clubs that have won after a prolonged period of time what they put it down to.
Is it a crop of players came along and it just happened.
Is it down to the people in the club sitting down and coming up with a plan
Is it down to management and getting players to commit, like the American football film any given Sunday.

I suppose I'm asking for external guidance and views. From where we are(I'm involved underage not senior), which is always losing and lacking the believe that we can win is where our mentality is at it's hard to see the wood from the trees. What can we do to change and bridge the long game
Thanks for replies"
- - - or Men like Karl O'Dwyer.

Sweet Jaysus, where would you get it, but only in people that's deep rooted in Gaelic Games, It's people like this that creates headlines , Last Wednesday night saw Emo defeat Killeshin by eight points in the opening round of the Laois senior football championship.
What was worse for Killeshin manager Karl O'Dwyer, son of the Kerry legend Mick, was that he had to watch the game on Facebook as he was not allowed attend the clash at Laois' Centre of Excellence.
O'Dwyer is based in locked down Kildare and, as a result, could only see the game via a live stream on Facebook from his home, where he watched and gave instructions to his management team over the phone.

supersub15 (Carlow) - Posts: 2067 - 29/08/2020 11:44:27    2289633

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Replying To Nmcg:  "I come from a club that has not won a county championship in 51 years. I don't really want to say the club. I know there is no real answer, but looking for what people in clubs that have won after a prolonged period of time what they put it down to.
Is it a crop of players came along and it just happened.
Is it down to the people in the club sitting down and coming up with a plan
Is it down to management and getting players to commit, like the American football film any given Sunday.

I suppose I'm asking for external guidance and views. From where we are(I'm involved underage not senior), which is always losing and lacking the believe that we can win is where our mentality is at it's hard to see the wood from the trees. What can we do to change and bridge the long game
Thanks for replies"
Man at the helm has to be right and have the ability to organise and motivate people.
Talented players with drive and determination to succeed.
The uncontrollables are luck and the dynamic within the group which contribute in a big way to achieving success.

catch22 (USA) - Posts: 1473 - 29/08/2020 12:38:43    2289643

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Replying To Rosineri1:  "my club went around 60 years between senior titles , despite some near misses in the proceeding years and having a very talenting team the big reason for me was bringing in an outside coach. I guess the clubs attitude had been a bit lax. Brought in an outside coach who took no rubbish from anyone and helped to focus the team. Had a similar experience in London, had a coach come in rather than a manager and just got players to focus on how they needed to prepare, train etc. Just having a new voice come in at times can made a big difference."
In rural areas successful is often build around a family or two and is just a window in time. Ballysaggart for instance with 7 or eight Bennett's between brothers and cousins on the team. They are less than 300 living there and were always just a junior team but went up to intermediate and now senior. Not trying to jinx them but they will end up back at junior once this crop are gone. On the other hand Ballygunner could field two senior teams and that came close last year. With the way they are winning under age it will happen. In fairness they were a small village also but the city grew out on top of them and a school master who was an unbelievable builder. There is no doubt that playing at college level put the Bennetts on the map and the importance of show casing players can not be over stated. That plus the many top coaches went to the colleges and coached.

Canuck (Waterford) - Posts: 839 - 29/08/2020 22:33:40    2289723

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Some good contributions. You need belief in yourself as a manager and of course that belief needs to be instilled in the players as some need more attention than others. You need players who are prepared to have a high work rate on the field of play, as talent alone wins little. You do of course need skillful players but no team has 15 of those. A good tradition helps but that alone wins nothing. You need to start developing the players at primary school and be open enough to realize that the best players at 12 will not very often be the best at 20. You as a manager need to have good helpers along with you, as anyone on their own will win little. Hard work and develop the basic skills are a good start and always remind yourself that very few ask who won the u-12 championship-developing the young players is most important as lots of adult winners may win few titles at underage. 'essmac' sums it up well.

browncows (Meath) - Posts: 2160 - 30/08/2020 13:43:49    2289759

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Hard work, total commitment to that winning goal, zero distractions, some really good players and the rest hard working. Learning to play the ball always to a better placed player. These all take time which the current club season doesn't allow.

arock (Dublin) - Posts: 4364 - 30/08/2020 20:54:16    2289832

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I think adult success stems from what you're doing at underage. Ideally if you're lucky enough to get a talented group at u-12 level, the challenge is to keep them interested all the way up through the grades. At adult level there will naturally be a certain drop off as young lads prioritize other things in their lives. But if you can retain a good core of 7 or 8 lads from the youth set up and complement them with established adult players then it's a good start.

After that it's all about the old Jimmy McGuinness adage - Commit Focus Believe Achieve. You need dedication and buy-in. I would imagine that's a lot more difficult nowadays than in my day however. I played in an era when it was a simple two training sessions mid week and a game at the weekend. With the S&C involved now, recovery, analysis etc even at club level I'd imagine it's a very difficult job keeping 20 to 30 odd lads engaged and motivated for 10 months of the year.

Lockjaw (Donegal) - Posts: 6929 - 01/09/2020 13:38:29    2290077

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Replying To Lockjaw:  "I think adult success stems from what you're doing at underage. Ideally if you're lucky enough to get a talented group at u-12 level, the challenge is to keep them interested all the way up through the grades. At adult level there will naturally be a certain drop off as young lads prioritize other things in their lives. But if you can retain a good core of 7 or 8 lads from the youth set up and complement them with established adult players then it's a good start.

After that it's all about the old Jimmy McGuinness adage - Commit Focus Believe Achieve. You need dedication and buy-in. I would imagine that's a lot more difficult nowadays than in my day however. I played in an era when it was a simple two training sessions mid week and a game at the weekend. With the S&C involved now, recovery, analysis etc even at club level I'd imagine it's a very difficult job keeping 20 to 30 odd lads engaged and motivated for 10 months of the year."
Not sure what era you are referring to but in 70's and into the 80's many players were doing physical work daily and gained toughness that is difficult to get with S & C. Players are much fitter overall now but we still have many injuries. In the 70's there were players involved in anything from 2 to 4 matches a week being involved in summer tournaments with the ratio of matches to training much lower than today. There would have been few cameras/phones around in those days with no internet, so stories did not spread quickly. The nearest thing we got to the internet was the pub and the postman on a bicycle/wheels.

browncows (Meath) - Posts: 2160 - 01/09/2020 18:19:22    2290114

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Replying To browncows:  "Not sure what era you are referring to but in 70's and into the 80's many players were doing physical work daily and gained toughness that is difficult to get with S & C. Players are much fitter overall now but we still have many injuries. In the 70's there were players involved in anything from 2 to 4 matches a week being involved in summer tournaments with the ratio of matches to training much lower than today. There would have been few cameras/phones around in those days with no internet, so stories did not spread quickly. The nearest thing we got to the internet was the pub and the postman on a bicycle/wheels."
Very true. There would be plenty hard as nails ex players who never set foot in a gym. Lads that worked building sites or farming men for example.

Lockjaw (Donegal) - Posts: 6929 - 01/09/2020 22:41:32    2290141

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Replying To Lockjaw:  "Very true. There would be plenty hard as nails ex players who never set foot in a gym. Lads that worked building sites or farming men for example."
Strongest lad I ever met never stood in a gym. He lifted Sheetrock all day. Could beat anyone arm wrestling too.

Trump2020 (Galway) - Posts: 979 - 10/09/2020 13:56:02    2291416

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