Thursday 25 May 2017

Meath to appeal Farrell red

Meath are almost certain to appeal Brian Farrell's red card in Sunday's Leinster quarter-final against Kildare.

No decision has been taken yet, but the nature of Farrell's challenge on Emmet Bolton has shaped the view that it should have been a yellow card instead. Farrell had tried to check the run of Bolton, who himself lashed out with his hand to prevent Farrell from doing so. In response, Farrell struck back and was spotted by referee Syl Doyle, who allowed play to continue but returned to issue a straight red.

Meath manager Seamus McEnaney did not hold up the Farrell sending-off as an excuse for the defeat and he will now prepare his team for the first round of qualifiers in three weeks' time.

But before that, McEnaney must concentrate on finding two new selectors to replace Liam Harnan and Barry Callaghan, who stood down after Graham Geraghty's return two weeks ago. A county board meeting is scheduled for next Monday night when officers are likely to brief delegates on the events that led to their departure.

McEnaney can point to Geraghty's positioning and instinctive reaction to score what looked like a perfectly legitimate goal just minutes after coming on as a substitute as justification for his recall -- despite the controversy it caused. The success of 20-year-old Bryan Menton at centre-back will also reflect positively for the under-fire management.

But Meath's defeat has prompted much debate about the type of player the county has been producing over the last decade, during which there has been a dearth of underage success.

At various stages there were up to eight players over 6'3" on the field, but that also provided mobility problems in the second half against fluent runners like Bolton, John Doyle, Gary White and Eamonn Callaghan.

The ease with which the likes of Bolton, Doyle and Callaghan were able to glide past outstretched Meath arms raised question marks about the Royals' ability to compete against more fluid teams on a pitch like Croke Park.

Concerns about the defence also surfaced as the pressure came on in the second half. Ultimately Meath lost to Kildare in much the same fashion as last year's All-Ireland quarter-final, when they succumbed to Kildare's relentless running game.

The withdrawal of Nigel Crawford and the failure of Anthony Moyles to make an appearance will also raise question marks about their future after this season.

Irish Independent

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