Thursday 14 December 2017

O'Dowd's bite claim creates media frenzy

The incident that provided one of the main talking points of the Leinster final as Mickey Burke and Kevin Reilly of Meath tussle with Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara.
The incident that provided one of the main talking points of the Leinster final as Mickey Burke and Kevin Reilly of Meath tussle with Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara.
Manager Mick O’Dowd’s rela-tively calm demeanour changed markedly after the match.

PLAYERS and managers can sometimes stand accused of being stereotyped and saying little of interest...

... in pre and post-match interviews - so when Meath boss Mick O'Dowd made a second appearance to the media room after Sunday's Leinster decider it caused quite a stir.

O'Dowd had earlier appeared to answer questions where he made no excuses for his side's 16-point defeat. However, as journalists waited for victorious Dublin boss Jim Gavin, a clearly agitated O'Dowd dramatically re-appeared with the announcement: 'I want to report a biting incident involving Mickey Burke'.

He went on: 'I've just come back to the dressing-room after speaking to you and I see the doctor dealing with his finger and he's gone to the Dublin dressing-room to talk to the Dublin doctor because there's a protocol to deal with in terms of a bite, in terms of blood transferring from one person to another,' O'Dowd said.

He then told reporters he was 'extremely disappointed' before being ushered away by County PRO Martin O'Halloran.

Earlier, he gave his reaction to the defeat.

''Coming into the game we knew that Dublin would show us huge respect from the progress that we've been making. We were expecting one of their best displays of the summer, which I think they gave, but we were bitterly disappointed with the performance we gave because I don't think it reflected us properly.

'Look, there's a gap in terms of physicality and intensity that you have to be comfortable playing at, as a unit.

'I think some Meath players gave outstanding displays, but as a collective Dublin had a higher standard. For us to improve and develop we have to become a top-eight team, that we're more comfortable as a group and that each individual is comfortable playing at that level.'

He believed that Dublin were much better than last year.

'I'd say there might have been an element of surprise in our performance last year which wasn't there this year. I think they are probably a step on from last year, looking at them. They were quite clinical. I know there were a couple more chances they could have took.

'We weren't as clinical as we needed to be. We were the challengers today. We needed to take every chance. We needed every decision to go our way and a crucial decision didn't go our way, as you know, at a crucial moment in the game. But that's not an excuse.

''Some Meath fellas didn't seem to have the same energy that they had the last day against Kildare. Perhaps that's a nervousness, although I didn't sense that before the game. But when you're coming up against a team where everyone is comfortable playing at that intensity, if one, two or three on our side are not then it can be a domino effect at times.

'Dublin are a very impressive team and squad. They seem to be building on what they've achieved last year. They're well ahead of us, as you've seen.'

Regarding Stephen Bray's disallowed goal in the opening half when referee Padraig Hughes called back the play for an earlier foul on Dalton McDonagh, O'Dowd said that Meath needed every possible break they could get.

'You obviously wouldn't come in here and say it was the difference, because it wasn't. But at that moment we wanted to withstand the onslaught that would come. I think there was six points in it at the time, that would have been reduced to three and that would have been good for our momentum.'

According to O'Dowd, the experience would be a huge learning curve for the players, while he also singled out several for their displays.

'When you are the challenger you need to take your chances and I think at times Dublin pushed us into positions where you shouldn't be shooting from.

'Donal Keogan was outstanding, really. Donncha Tobin ran himself into the ground and then young players came in as well that did good things.

'Kevin Reilly was restricted because of an injury and that's why we got him out to the middle of the field. There were other players that really did good things and as a group they never gave up.'

Drogheda Independent

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