By Alanna Cunnane
This week on The Football Pod former Kerry star James O’Donoghue and Dublin's seven-time All-Ireland winner Paddy Andrews provided a podcast-clinic on how to remain cool, calm and collected once you’re through on goal.
Composure in front of goal; was the edge Tyrone needed during their win over Kildare at the weekend, and that attribute was the difference when it came down to the finishes of Kilpatrick vs. Kirwan and Darren McCurry vs. Daniel Flynn.
“That's the difference between winning and losing at the highest level” said Paddy Andrews.
“If you get those opportunities, can you be clinical enough to take them?”
On Ep. 5 of The Football Pod (2.0), we took those goal-incidents in that Division 1 clash and applied it to the experiences of two of the finest forwards of the 2010s, to bring you these three tips to improve - read on or watch the YouTube!
1) 'JUST SLOW DOWN'
O’Donoghue can well remember the feeling of “flying” towards goal, remaining unfazed as he was “giving the keeper the eyes” before establishing some self-control and slotting the ball into the corner.
“When you're through on goal and your heart rate is up, we've all been there! You're excited and you have a chance of winning the game, like Flynn had, but you just need to settle down there just for a second and relax” the Kerry man said.
“We spoke about it last week, when you're really in the groove there’s that feeling of time slowing down, because in those pressure situations everything is happening so fast, but if you have to just relax in front of goal.”
Andrews is of the same school of thought, predicting that Kildare coach Johnny Doyle in particular will have told their star forward Flynn to “chill out” when the opportunity arises.
“His size, the speed he's going at, he just needs to take half a second” said Andrews.
“If you look at Sunday that bit of composure, is probably going to that win them the game. If you put McCurry in that position, like you say he gives them the eyes and just rips the ball into the corner with an instep.”
2) 'CONTROL THE SIDEFOOT'
“I didn't score many goals but I just don't think you should be going with your laces. If you're doing that your shot is out of control and you're literally just trying to hit the ball as hard as you can.”
Andrews believes there is only one tried and trusted method to seal the deal for a goal: “rolling the ball in the corner.”
Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper was the ““poster boy” for the act, the former Dublin footballer says side-footing the ball ensures “the keeper hasn't a prayer.”
“McCurry is an out and out finisher, he's class and as we said last year, there’s a contrast between him and Flynn. Flynn is a box office player who has massive moments and he can do the extraordinary, but he doesn't have that composure.”
“You see it time and time again. He scored a brilliant goal in last year's Leinster Final but he could go through 10 more times and that ball could go 10 different directions.”
3) 'PRACTICE - BEFORE AND AFTER TRAINING'
Repetition is key for O’Donoghue, who marks out that you can in fact “practice” the pressure of taking on that winning score.
Left wanting more shooting drills at training, the Kerry forward took it upon himself to go the extra mile.
“I suppose it is difficult because if you take an intercounty training session, how many shots are actually getting at the posts or how many shots are they actually taking on a goalie? Like it is actually very low.” he said.
“It's so hard in the group because there's 30 players and how many footballs do you have? You'd want about 90 balls if you know if you're all going shooting, so you have to put in the time probably before training and after training.
I used to find that those ten minutes before training and after training were where you improve your individual asset. Whatever your thing is, that's your time.
So if he can pull a goalie and hit twenty shots every night. Just roll into the corner and do that, because otherwise when you're missing goal chances at the highest level you could be in a bit of trouble.”
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