Thursday 8 December 2016

O'Dowd slams pundits as he quits Meath job

Derry 1-14 Meath 1-11

Orla Bannon

Published 11/07/2016 | 02:30

Meath’s Mickey Burke in action against Derry’s Mark Lynch in Owenbeg. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Meath’s Mickey Burke in action against Derry’s Mark Lynch in Owenbeg. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Mick O'Dowd accused pundits of "ripping decent people in the GAA apart" as he announced his resignation as Meath manager after Saturday's qualifier defeat.

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O'Dowd was dignified in confirming his departure after four years in charge but took aim at the "overpaid, inflated egos".

Derry's Danny Heavron is pursued by Graham Reilly of Meath. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Derry's Danny Heavron is pursued by Graham Reilly of Meath. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"I've just invested my heart and soul in the job because I love Meath so much, as a volunteer," he said. "I don't think people realise the work that goes into it.

"There's a bit of a culture within the GAA now where you have these overpaid, inflated egos acting as pundits that are just ripping decent people in the GAA apart.

Derry's Niall Toner is tackled by Meath's Padraic Harnan. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Derry's Niall Toner is tackled by Meath's Padraic Harnan. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"It seems to be a culture that's taking over. Maybe it's society. There's a lack of respect for people, for their work and their effort."

Meath led all the way in Owenbeg until Derry substitute Niall Loughlin's 68th-minute goal but a paltry haul of three points after the break was the latest in a series of their second-half no-shows.

Despite an inability during his reign to compete with Dublin - the barometer against which all Meath teams must be judged - O'Dowd insists the team "is not that far off".

"It's not an excuse or anything, but this group has had no luck," he said.

Derry's Niall Toner is brought down by Mickey Burke. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Derry's Niall Toner is brought down by Mickey Burke. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

"Going into this year's championship again without Conor Magill and Brian Power and James McEntee, you'd wonder is there someone looking down on you, taking out the fellas you'd invested time in.

"It was the same last year, and the year before. Really, we haven't got a chance over the last three years to build on any momentum.

"I do think it's a team that will be there for the next few years. I'd be positive. It's an exceptional Dublin team that's there in Leinster, but they're not going to be there forever. We just need to keep raising our standards."

Coming off the back of a 10-point Leinster semi-final defeat by Dublin, Meath were bright in the first half in Owenbeg, scoring the opening four points before Mark Lynch got Derry on the board.

Mickey Newman got on the end of Graham Reilly's shot into a crowded square for a 26th-minute Meath goal, and they should have been out of sight by half time.

They led by 1-8 to 0-4, Reilly with two points from play, but missed two other goals and were made to pay when Derry came out a transformed side.

The home side banged in six points in the first nine minutes of the second half and scored 1-3 without reply in the last 12 minutes, Loughlin's dummy outfoxing his marker and Paddy O'Rourke for the goal.

"We can put them in the right position but they've got to want it," said Derry boss Damian Barton.

"I thought in the second half we showed we wanted to win."

Scorers - Derry: M Lynch 0-6 (2fs), J Kielt 0-4 (3fs), N Loughlin 1-0, C McKaigue, E Lynn, C Bradley, E Brown 0-1 each. Meath: M Newman 1-4 (0-3fs), G Reilly, C O'Sullivan (2fs) 0-2 each, M Burke, P Harnan, A Tormey (f) 0-1 each.
DERRY - T Mallon 7; G McKinless 8, C McKaigue 8, K McKaigue 8; C McFaul 6, B Rogers 6, C Mullan 6; C McAtamney 6, N Holly 7; D Heavron 7, C Bradley 6, E Brown 6; J Kielt 7, E McGuckin 6, M Lynch 8. Subs: N Toner 6 for McGuckin (28), N Loughlin 7 for Brown (46), E Bradley 7 for Holly (46), E Lynn 7 for C Bradley (53), N Forrester 6 for Rogers (BC, 62), L McGoldrick NR for Mullan (63).
MEATH - P O'Rourke 7; S Lavin 6, D Keogan 8, M Burke 7; D Tobin 7, D Smyth 7, A Douglas 7; P Harnan 7, H Rooney 7; C O'Brien 6, G Reilly 8, C O'Sullivan 7; B McMahon 6, D Lenihan 8, M Newman 8. Subs: E Wallace 6 for McMahon (42), D McDonagh 6 for Newman (52), A Tormey 6 for Lenihan (60), S Tobin 6 for Keogan (63).
REF - P Neilan (Roscommon).

Irish Independent

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