How many times have we heard of teams going to the Well? This is a phrase commonly used by GAA managers these days when describing the flexibility of their teams. And this is the one that really depends on me.
Credit goes to them, they go back to the well’ or ‘I don’t know how they do it, they go back to the well every time.’
In a post-match interview I rolled my eyes when I heard the words ‘The Well’, an overly dramatic eye roll and the urge to throw something at the television.
It seems that only successful teams can always reach these mysterious wells, giving them the strength to succeed even more.
His players get credit for his journey there (and of course).
For a long time they were working exclusively within select GAA circles and for other teams to acquire such a well for middle-income renters trying to buy a house in Dublin post pandemic. may be comparable.
It is very easy to get into a well that already has a level of success, to go into pre-season with the full knowledge that your chances of winning the championship are very high.
Conversely, wells in other counties that are never mentioned are empty at the start of each season, and are at significant levels because of the drought in terms of success.
Teams that keep going back to these less healthful watering holes for another year, in the hope that their fortunes turn, deserve as much credit as successful teams that well for the second half of a few games each season. Have to dive in.
To my mind the most resilient players are those who return to a set-up, knowing the commitment required to represent their county, without a glimmer of hope for success outside their own inner circle.
Math and Carey will meet for the first time in the All-Ireland Senior Finals today. Those are the two teams that have come from an empty well in recent years.
The last time the pair met at Croke Park was in the Division 2 league final last year, and that match could arguably be identified as the catalyst for Meath’s unlikely All-Ireland victory.
Carey went into the game as the heavy favorite. Meath had just made the move from Intermediate and Division 3 in 2019.
Carey had previously defeated them 3-10 to 1-10 and based on that performance, with them being a more established senior team, it was a reasonable assumption that they would eventually return to Division 1 after the 2018 relegation. .
As they would continue to do for the remainder of the 2021 season, Meath tore the script and demolished Carey by 10 points.
He did the same against Tipperary, and unexpectedly beat Armagh, Cork and Dublin to win his first senior championship last September.
Since he last contested an All-Ireland final in 2012, Carey has had a tough spell at senior level by his own standards and expectations, and has achieved very little so far this year.
Several big-name All-Stars who were tipped to make at least one All-Ireland during their careers were gone.
The management teams promised too little and gave little and resulted in relegation to Division 2, followed by several years of stagnation.
However, in that time their younger teams have delivered promise and success.
Between 2010 and 2018 they reached five All-Ireland under 16 finals, winning three; Participated in three Under 14 finals in 2014 and won one.
Carey captains Anna Galvin, Erica McGlynn, Ciara McCarthy, Niamh née Chonchuir along with other current panel members are the product of those teams, so they have been successfully and quietly building towards an All-Ireland for more than 10 years.
For the second year in a row, the final pairing seems the most impossible. Meath defied all expectations by making it to the finals in 2021, and this year, Carey has done the same.
He was not mentioned in any of the talks on the subject of a potential All-Ireland finalist in early 2022.
After impressively winning Division 2 in April, beating a staunch Armagh team, they suffered a disappointing five-point final defeat to Cork in Munster.
Carey is the team I look forward to watching and get the most out of their style of play.
They are heavily cut from the same cloth as their male counterparts and have also stayed true to their tradition and how they feel the game should be played. They are imbued with natural footballing ability in every situation.
Kylie Cronin at full-back and Emma Costello at centre-back could easily fill center and full-forward roles, as could her calmness and skill on the ball.
Ashling O’Connell launches the attack from half behind, but is equally adept at his defensive duties.
In midfield she has a dynamic athleticism and physicality in the form of Anna Galvin, Lorraine Scanlon and Cat Lynch, who dominate kick-outs and links play in ways that seem almost effortless at times.
Their main strength lies in their attack; Not only its scoring ability but also its traditional style of defending inside the opposition 45.
They adopt a high press on the opponent’s kick-out and when they are not in possession the defense starts from the front.
They hunt in packs and keep their shape, I would be very surprised if they change their strategy and play 14 behind the ball like meth will.
Not only do his forwards excel at defensive duties, he is also fairly easy to score, having a stellar 13-49 run in the championship so far.
However, they have vulnerabilities that Meth will exploit. They score goals for fun, but they also send points to the other end, and that’s not fun.
They have given 5-48, and will have focused in the last two weeks on the fact that Meath has only scored two goals in the championship so far, and wants and hopes to improve the organization of his defensive structure around D. That Meath averages 12 points per game.
In comparison, Meath has scored only 2-28 runs and a blanket defense of 14 runs behind the ball will be his foundation today.
It is organized, disciplined and capable of winning more free kicks than they accept for over-carries and charge-taking. Stacy Grimes has been incredible throughout the years, both off the game and in her free-taking duties.
There has been a huge pressure on his shoulders in those games where Meath really struggled with the game and every time he did well.
Emma Duggan and Vicky Wall are often forgotten for their talents, but without her and Monica McGuirk, Meath wouldn’t be where they are this year.
It is very difficult to detect any weakness in this team, but if Meath has an Achilles heel it could be in the form of a lack of depth within the team.
They lack options that will make an impact, this is evident from when they make their changes and their predictability. He has made 10 changes in his last three championship games, with less than five minutes left in half of them.
It could be a tactic to break the momentum of the opposition and let the clock tick for a few seconds, or perhaps they are the players who make an impact by watching the game out.
All replacements made were in the bar one, midfield and forward areas, perhaps further reinforcing their approach to adopting a system with larger numbers in defense if personnel changes are not required.
Math deserves great credit for the determination he has shown in this year’s competition. While they have really only played in patches during games and have reached their high standards on a few occasions, they have been economical in everything they do. In each game, the greater the challenge presented, the greater the response.
Carey’s semi-final against Mayo would be of no use to them. The game had ended as a contest until half-time, and a challenge had taken on match pace.
Carey scored no goal after the 43rd minute, while, conversely, Math won another duel to the death against Donegal, as he had done against Galway the week before.
Many experts will undoubtedly attribute both successes to his ability to visit the good old well of champions.
Math has been drawing from both wells over the past three seasons and only he knows which journey is the hardest, but given his season so far he has found Well of Champions to be a more difficult proposition than he imagined.
They don’t consider themselves lucky enough to be here in 2022, with a resounding message that they think they deserve to be here and that anyone who doubts them will prove it.
He has only one doubt to fight and perhaps seeing how his journey began 12 months ago against Carey in the league final will help him get back to a place where any pressure to go into the well of any detail was not.
That’s the myth I would love to see and if we do, they will almost certainly be back-to-back champions.