Meath must force Gavin into rethink

Meath's Anthony Moyles. Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Frank Roche

ANTHONY MOYLES accepts Dublin are "massive favourites". He realises that most people aren't giving his native Meath much of a chance. Yet the retired Royal still reckons that the rank outsiders will be "quietly confident" approaching Sunday's Leinster final, and he's not without all hope either.

The Moyles method to Meath coronation? In summary, get the match-up right, force Dublin onto the defensive back-foot, thereby compelling Jim Gavin to make rearguard switches instead of bringing on his forward cavalry ... and after all that, try to be well ahead entering the home straight.

Then, who knows?

"If they can get the match-ups right, that will be the big thing," says the former Meath captain, citing Paul Flynn and Michael Darragh Macauley as two heavyweight Dubs who will feature prominently in Mick O'Dowd's pre-match scheming.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he puts Donncha Tobin on Paul Flynn and Bryan Menton in on Macauley and maybe move Shane O'Rourke to 11, or leave O'Rourke on (Cian) O'Sullivan and move Brian Meade to half-forward."


But even if Plan A works, and Dublin are stymied around the middle, what about Plan B?

"The thing about Dublin and the bench," Moyles points out, "is that Gavin hasn't really been under pressure with regard to his defence. He hasn't had to take off two defenders who've been getting a roasting. So straight away he's been able to bring on a forward division ... to bring that forward power on without necessarily having to worry too much about his defenders being in trouble.

"If Meath can get one or two defenders under pressure, or even one or two black cards by just running at them and putting them under pressure, that all of a sudden changes Gavin's options on the bench."

He concludes: "It might be a numbers game. I would feel Meath have to be five to six points up coming into that last ten or 15 minutes, really, because Dublin still have that power and fitness level and athleticism. They can keep going, whereas some of the lads around the middle for Meath are still only getting back (from injury) - Shane O'Rourke and Brian Meade and these lads."