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The Forwards Handling Masterclass: James O’Donoghue and Paddy Andrews | The Football Pod

By Alanna Cunnane  This week on The Football Pod former Kerry star James O’Donoghue provided a...



The Forwards Handling Mastercl...
Football

The Forwards Handling Masterclass: James O’Donoghue and Paddy Andrews | The Football Pod

By Alanna Cunnane 

This week on The Football Pod former Kerry star James O’Donoghue provided a coaching clinic on an often overlooked element of the game, that can “make or break you” as a footballer.

Armagh have now beaten the last two All-Ireland Champions and are sitting top of the Division 1 on four points. James O’Donoghue and Paddy Andrews reckon it’s the handling ability of their forwards that has provided the platform for their brilliant defeats of Dublin and Tyrone.

Watch below, on the importance of catching (one for the club whatsapp group!)

ARMAGH’S IMPRESSIVE FORWARDS

O’Donoghue was seriously impressed with the efficiency of the Armagh forwards in this area - “the handling of their forwards is the most impressive thing about Armagh, do you ever notice that every single ball is stuck to them - the ball is not going in and coming back out. Grugan, he must have hands of shovels - I’ve never seen him drop a ball.”

“You might only get one chance to catch a ball in the sweet spot. Maybe you’re in the middle of the D and you might get that ball. If your hands are right, you’ve a goal chance, but if they’re off there’s a counterattack - but there’s never a counterattack on Armagh because every ball sticks.”

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The Forwards Handling Masterclass: James O’Donoghue and Paddy Andrews | The Football Pod

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IMPROVING YOUR CATCHING

“Reps. Practice.  Just catching with one hand, catching with someone on you, someone that’s holding you, just reps of different catches all of the time. It’s something that’s not practised that much.”

To fumble the possession out of hand would be a “bad sign of a forward” O’Donoghue says, admitting that it’s “something that’s not practiced that much” in regular sessions although it was an area he himself repeatedly practiced: “I never caught a ball over my head, that is what Donaghy was for. I used to like it, just there - right in front of your face, that you could hold it out far enough from the defender, that even if he got the hand in, you can still catch it. I used to do an awful lot of work on handling because I actually have small hands and I just knew it was something I needed to do a lot of work on. I hated dropping the ball, it’s a bad sign of a forward.”

Paddy Andrews added that at the top level - “you might only get 13-14 possessions in a game, and if your hands are off - you just don’t get second chances. At the highest level of the game, you’ve got to be ruthless, you’ve got to be clinical - and James is right, handling is so important.”

 

24 Aug, 2014; James O'Donoghue, Kerry, catches a pass in his sweet spot, against Keith Higgins, Mayo. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Kerry v Mayo, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

COMPASSION IN THE PASS

Passing is another vital element in the process, O’Donoghue and former Dublin stalwart Paddy Andrews picked out Alan Brogan and Colm Cooper as the best kick-passers they’ve played with, both agreeing that “very often the best passers are the best receivers.”

Paddy added that “Alan was the best in Dublin, he knew what you wanted - he’d pop the little one-bounce pass into you. Other lads would punt it at you 100 hundred miles an hour.”

 “Gooch was the best, he’d put a little bit of spin on it so that it would bounce up for you, the pass would nearly catch itself for you. There’s a massive skill in that kickpass. They’re not giving a big awkward pass, they’re thinking about what they would like to receive and they’re giving you the same thing.” said O’Donoghue.

“It has to be coached young because it has to be so second nature to you to just give that right ball.”

There you have it - something for the inside forwards and the playmakers to work on this season!

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GAA Coaching GAA Podcast Gaelic Football James O'donoghue Paddy Andrews The Football Pod Tommy Rooney