Training took a bit of a dip Friday night and it turned out to be our least satisfactory session in a while. In fairness, we have very few lads who turn up to go through the motions so we were all a bit pissed off leaving the BSB last night.
There was a combination of factors which contributed to it. After the warm-up, Conan put us through a series of kicking drills and the quality of the kicking was cat. Even after a stoppage to point this out, we continued on a downward curve. Concentration levels looked poor and I’m not sure was it the fact everyone was at the end of a working week or what.
Numbers had also surged and that put off the planning a little. Conan planned for the usual number and he always sets out all the drills at the start of the session to ensure we can have a smooth and quick transition between exercises. When numbers are far higher than expected, it means groups are bigger and that impacts the amount of time each player gets on the ball, so the players aren’t happy.
I faced the same problem with my shooting drills. The ball to player ratio was far from optimal so that led to too much delay for each player. I’d also set the drill up to favour the right footed player which displeased renowned drill wrecker Darragh Cotter. I’m all for feedback but I didn’t take kindly to the tone of his so we had a sharp exchange. He then proceeded to try and kick every ball over the fence when it was his go!! I was nearly climbing up it to stop him from getting satisfaction from succeeding in his goal.
Despite there being aspects of myself and Conan’s planning which could have been sharper, the player still has no excuse for not executing the majority of the drills properly and lads should make sure that when they are in play on an exercise that they are fully concentrated. There was a fleeting return of the ‘excuses mentality’ on Friday which needs to disappear fast. I don’t think that will be an issue though.
The session did finish well with a tough last ten minutes of running. Paddy Cassidy was telling me a couple of months ago that his club used to always finish with a hard running drill and called that part of the session, ‘the final ten’. He told me it was to try and create a mentality to finish the game with one final burst (correct me if I’m wrong Paddy). I passed this on to Conan and he has brought it into the sessions. I find it good as you are hanging at the end of the session, which is just what you want. Special mention this week goes to Paul Gavin who seems to have a rocket up his ass. The man is displaying fitness and speed prowess that he has previously kept fairly well hidden.
We headed back to Schuman afterwards and popped into the Coolock for a change of scene. There is a good buzz with the lads at the moment so the banter over a few pints is always enjoyable. Apparently Griff knew we were in there but he still rocked up with a bird on his arm. He looked sheepish enough as he shuffled by and then ignored us for the night.
Another lad giving the cold shoulder was John Van Pool, FC Irlande’s premier net minder. John, from Oklahoma goes by JVP when his name is mentioned in written form but I’m sure from the way he carries on that he’d rather ‘MVP’! He was awkwardly shifting from one bird to another, looking like all his planning had had some unfortunate collision.
We picked up a couple of new players in recent weeks, most notably Diarmuid Lynch from Cork and Cillian O’Donghue (from Cork originally, but moved to Meath when he was eight). Both are capable footballers and also very good trainers. We needed the influx of a couple of guys like that and it helps too that they have integrated seamlessly.
Brussels being Brussels, there is rarely such thing as a couple of quiet pints. Johnny P, Keary, Mul and Darragh all disappeared around midnight and I thought they’d headed for home but apparently they ditched us for a party that Hagan had an ‘in’ for.
Curiosity pricked, we got the phones out to see what the story was. Naturally the questioning revolved around the ladies at the party. Mul, the only single one amongst the lads, tried hard to put us off the scent but the others suggested it might be worth the trip. Off we went and with us went any chance of a productive Saturday.
The main comment I remember from an otherwise hazy enough night was one Ger made about me losing some sprints during the week. I was conscious of this in my head but it’s good for someone to mention it to you as it gives you a jolt to up the ante.
Hopefully the few pints will have washed away the malaise from Friday and everyone will be in much better form come Tuesday.