O'Dowd takes pride in display
A POINT gained or a point lost! Prior to the start of the game Meath would surely have been happy with a share of the spoils against high-flying Donegal.
However as the match unfolded Mick O'Dowd's men were probably cursing their luck after producing such an heroic display and then have victory snatched from their grasp at the death.
'It is disappointing not to have won after coming so close,' O'Dowd said afterwards. ' But I'm so proud of the players because they really put in a massive amount of work.'
'At one stage in the second-half Donegal got on top around the middle in terms of winning breaking ball and that hurt us a little bit. However I thought in the last 10 or 15 minutes we turned it around, made a few changes and the fresh legs helped us.
'The Monaghan performance was a non-performance. Against Armagh in Navan we created 28 chances, we scored 2-8 from play, so we didn't convert what we created and then we lost the free count 11-3.
'I would say there was a lot of positives from the Armagh performance, but this was the All-Ireland champions from 2012 we faced today on their home patch and with three wins from three, so we needed to go up a level again and we did.
'We were good on their kickouts, but over the course of the game Donegal might have shaded that aspect of the game, but we did do well.
'There was real honesty from the players and the ball that was cleared off the line was a crucial intervention. They also had a shot off the upright, but the effort and honesty of our players today was fantastic.'
According to O'Dowd there was a sense of disappointment at not winning and the players were very disappointed at the final whistle.
'Overall we are happy to have got a point and I'm just so proud of the players and the character they showed.
'At the start of the league we knew we were set to face seven very competitive matches. We are a tight bunch, so we aren't going to get rattled by a couple of defeats.
'I really believe in this group of players, we knew we had to go up another level today and I'm glad they showed that they were ready to go up to that level,' the manager continued.
Meath started without both Pauric Harnan and Eamon Wallace who were involved with the U-21s against Louth last Wednesday night and will likely be in action again in the replay this Wednesday evening.
It has been a hectic schedule for both players who lined out with their colleges both in the O'Byrne and Sigerson Cups recently.
'I think the scheduling is unfair on the players. We are cramming in an u-21 FC and Sigerson Cup in on top of seven games in 10 weeks, it is ridiculous,' blasted the Skryne man.
'Today's team was picked with beating Donegal in mind, but we knew it was going to take 21 players to beat them and as it turned out it took 21 to draw with them, so we needed everyone today, but there was an element of trying to protect players.'