Strict regime's create winners – Brolly
JOE KERNAN famously said that his Armagh team took so long to perfect plan A that there simply wasn’t time for Plan B. “Anyway” he said, “What happens if Plan B doesn’t work?” It was, and is, a deeply interesting comment.
Sunday’s football final brings together two teams whose managers understand exactly what Big Joe meant.
If Gaelic football has changed rapidly over the last ten years, in the last two it has been transformed. Both James Horan and Jim McGuinness have reworked Gaelic football, harnessing ideas that have been around in professional field sports for many years.
If either team could somehow be transported back in a time machine to any era, they would be invincible. The statistics make this point unarguable. This Mayo team would easily have won those lost All-Irelands in the mid 90s and 2000s.
Likewise, Mark McHugh’s Donegal would have hammered his dad’s group, talented and all as they were. Modern football is no place for aimless drop kicks.
Plan A is the key to Donegal and Mayo’s inexorable rise.
Vince Lombardi, the American football innovator widely regarded as the first modern coach, famously said that his team never lost, “Sometimes we just run out of time.”
Like the Donegal regime, every aspect of the game was pored over until a better solution was found.
Linebacker Jerry Kramer wrote about missing a tackle once in a game they had won easily. At the squad’s daily video analysis session next evening, Lombardi was apoplectic with fury at his star. Jerry noted in his diary “Vince liked that bit of the film so much he showed it to all of us 19 times. 19 times I saw myself miss that block. Next time we run that play, I won’t miss the block.”
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday September 20. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here