Thursday 23 May 2019

Goals for 2019 haven't altered

GAA, Leinster Senior Football Championship

The Meath senior football panel spent the weekend at Fota Island fine-tuning preparation for their assault in the Leinster Championship, starting on Sunday against Offaly in Pairc Tailteann.

Manager Andy McEntee resisted giving his regulars a runout against Roscommon at the official pitch opening in St Vincent's Ardcath last Sunday week.

However, the likes of Graham Reilly, who contributed four points against the Rossies, Padraic Harnan who was given more valuable game time following his lengthy lay-off, Sean Tobin who also hit four points, and Adam Flanagan could all see action at some stage on Sunday.

Their failure to beat Longford in last year's quarter-final leaves Meath in action two weeks earlier than 2018 and boss McEntee said he would have liked more preparation time, but his charges will still be ready for whatever the Faithful County has to throw at them.

'We would have liked a little bit more time to prepare, but it is what it is,' McEntee said.

'The club scene has to go ahead as well, we had three weeks which were a little bit of a disruption. But lads are back now and in good shape and everyone is looking forward to Sunday.

'Maybe the break will do them the world of good. Time will tell, I suppose.

'The approach to Sunday is no different to any other year. You are going out to win a game.

'I think people still get carried away a little bit about the defeat by Longford last year. A few things went against us on the day. We had three goals chances in the first half. If they were put away the game was over at half-time.

'Things like that can happen. We would like to think that this year we have a successful league campaign behind us and there is a certain amount of confidence in the team. We are fitter, we are stronger.'

Unlike last season, the expectations of Meath are much higher this year following their promotion from Division 2 of the NFL.

'I don't think that will be a burden though,' McEntee continued.

'Expectations are there because we are playing better. We want to be playing better, we have to live with that level of expectation and welcome it.

'We had two goals at the start of the year. One was promotion and the other was reaching the Super 8s and that hasn't changed.

Having a home tie is a big advantage, according to McEntee.

'The days in Pairc Tailteann towards the end of the league with all the support was great. We want to play and represent this county the best way we can.

'It is good to see that we have that level of support and I have no doubt it will be there again on Sunday.'

Drogheda Independent