"The likes of Huw Lawlor will contest the ball with you" - Conor McDonald on the differing styles of full backs 5 months ago

"The likes of Huw Lawlor will contest the ball with you" - Conor McDonald on the differing styles of full backs

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"Some are stand-offish, some of them are really tight with you."


They say full backs are a different breed and in his ten year Wexford career, Conor McDonald has come across all shapes and sizes. Big, small, spoilers, competitors - you name it.

Hurling has changed dramatically in recent years, what with sweepers, short puck-outs and short passes but the one constant through it all has been the battle of the full forward and the full back. Emphasis on the battle.

As Wexford's full forward, Conor McDonald has found himself in many a battle down through the years and speaking on this week's GAA Hour, he analysed the styles of various full backs.

"Some backs stand-offish, some of them are really tight with you, and you just have to play it as it lies.


"You could have one back who's absolutely mauling you, I remember Barry Coughlan from Waterford, absolutely mauling you.

"Conor Cleary's another one.

"And then you've the likes of Huw Lawlor who will contest the ball with you, excellent in the air, will contest the ball, and the last thing you want is him clawing the ball over you. And he's good at that.


"So everyone's different."

Regardless of who he's marking, the Gorey player says that his approach remains the same.

"Yeah, while you're conscious of the back, my prime focus when a ball is coming in is to get it into my hand as soon as I can.

"Because you can dictate the play then, you don't have to go fighting for it on the ground then. First phase possession is key, but it is so hard to get."


Winning that high ball is a full forward's bread and butter - and McDonald says that he picks up tips and tricks by looking at other players, such as Kilkenny's Walter Walsh.

"What I notice about Wally is that when he catches the ball, he always catches it on the turn. So his right shoulder is already going for a goal so he's catching but he's also ready to put the ball on the hurl and go. It's something I'd notice as a forward.

"It's trying to get that yard so you can get the space to pull the trigger. Sometimes Whelan and Gillane will push them man, get the yard that way, it's all about getting yard," adds McDonald.

Walter Walsh, in particular, is a player that McDonald admires, especially given his longevity in the Kilkenny team.


"When you do write him off, he does stuff like he did on Sunday. Wally looks in great shape. He's a handful. They said on the commentary that they thought he'd lost his yard of pace, but when he gets moving, you can't stop him."