Wayne’s Wittering is the dawn of a new era

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney on the bench during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 29, 2008. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.paphotos.com/info/ for full restrictions and further information.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney on the bench during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 29, 2008. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. Use subject to restrictions. Editorial print use only except with prior written approval. New media use requires licence from Football DataCo Ltd. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 or see www.paphotos.com/info/ for full restrictions and further information.
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“DISILLUSIONED” tweeted MJ Tierney on Sunday evening. With that solitary word, a new era has dawned.

Twittering, or more accurately wittering, already pervades most of society. The GAA is next.

Brace yourselves for a torrent of dross. “Feeling tired this morning. Wish I didn’t have to go to work.” Or “ Did anyone see the Sunday Game last night? Where did Tony Davis get that tie?”

Wayne Rooney, whose most interesting quality is his fascination for working grandmothers, has 784,000 twitter followers.

The nation that gave us Shakespeare is hooked on such gems as “Got new boots this morning, really soft leather.” During the week, the high standard was maintained. “Just to confirm to all my followers I have had a hair transplant. I’m delighted with the result.”

Later, a classic joke; “Anyone recommend any good hair gel?” followed by a ‘Hole in the Wall Gang’ check, to make sure people knew it was a joke: “Haha.”

Just as three quarters of a million devotees were wiping the tears from their eyes, another tweet arrived: “ I had it done in Harley Street Hair Clinic in London.” (Really? Harley Street is in London?) “Thanks to all the staff who looked after me.” (Steady on lad, you weren’t having a heart transplant.)

His wife Coleen – an ardent follower of ‘Hole In the Wall Gang’ exclamation marks - joined the party with “Hiya!! Yes, Waynes had his hair done!! His own decision, not me asking him, like people are saying!! Pleased for him and it will look great!!” Which certainly takes a load off me.

Swiftly followed by Rio Ferdinand’s hilarious “Just don’t go down the wearing an alice ban route!! You’ll be doing Head and Shoulders ads soon!! (this part probably isn’t a joke) “Hope its gone ok, Good luck lad.” Nice to have loyal team mates isn’t it?

Luckily, Donegal doesn’t have internet, so we will be spared the ramblings of the current senior panel. “Enjoyed the new solo running drills tonight. RK was brilliant at them, soloed for ages without looking up once.” (S@teachmickey’sgweedore.ie) “Wee McHugh wasn’t bad at them either, gave RK a run for his money. Pity about his hair though!! LOL” (R@.thelimelight.ie)

“Really enjoying the in-house matches. Think the ban on kicking the ball working really well for us. Hardly anybody kicked the ball against Antrim. Except for Brick’s mis-kicked toe-tap!! JMcG wants us to knock it on the head altogether.” (`K@letterkennygrill.ie).

“Hilarious watching the one man forward line trying to score against the other 13 at training. Even big Murph was pissing himself by the end!! RG raging we nearly conceded a point. (C@abbeyhotel.ie)”

When Donegal were labouring through the Antrim game, they brought on a young fellow McBrearty who we were told was one of the brightest prospects the county had produced. It will have come as a relief to all right thinking Gaels that Patrick can handpass and solo run. Because of the way Donegal play, it was all we saw of him. Michael Murphy, a forward who is one of the top four in the country was mostly out around the middle, tackling back and handpassing the ball to the man beside him since there was no one to kick it too.

In the lavishly appointed RTE studio, we highlighted two examples of him kicking the ball to where he ought to have been himself.

Armagh had mired themselves in this sort of ultra defensive strategy during the league. The people hated it, the lads hated it. When Jamie Clarke and the rest of the Cross lads arrived back into the squad eight weeks ago, there was a sea change. They decided to alter the strategy and to kick the ball swiftly in to the danger area.

In the first quarter, Micael O’Rourke came out, took the kickpass from the defence, then kicked in long diagonal balls. Clarke as a result made hay and it was Down who were quickly swarming into their defence in a panic. As the game wore on, it was Down on the back foot.

Like Clarke, Michael Murphy can do serious damage. In a way, he has even more potential to wreck a defence since only Kieran Donaghy is better in the air and Michael has extraordinary power to go with those dainty skills.

Also, Donegal have a number of other very dangerous finishers, including Brick and Colm McFadden. Kildare demonstrated during the league and again at the weekend that you can defend very effectively without weakening your attack.

They simply deploy a sweeper as a second centre half back. At all times, they keep at least four attackers in position. Their full forward line stays in. So they held Meath to a single point from play in the second half, while kicking eight themselves.

Donegal’s performance against Antrim generated huge countrywide debate. It shone a beacon on the problem with Donegal’s strategy.

They have had four weeks to work on getting the balance right. The Cavan game represents a straightforward opportunity to continue that work. Jim McGuinness may reflect that there is, as Oscar Wilde once said, only one thing worse than being talked about.....