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Lilies to extend Meath's slump



(Newbridge, Tomorrow, 2.30)

SOME images, stats and commentary that sum up the current lowly predicament of the Meath footballers while hinting at further trauma against the old Lilywhite foe tomorrow.

(1) Meath fans streaming out of Páirc Tailteann, long before the final whistle of last Sunday's six-point collapse to Donegal. This is not the Royal way.

(2) Now for the stat attack. Two points from their first four NFL games under Seamus McEnaney. Six consecutive away league defeats, dating back to their last winning spring raid -- on Wexford Park in March 2009. Oh, and four red cards (albeit one later rescinded) in their last three outings.

(3) Post-Donegal reflections by star forward Joe Sheridan. "The worst performance of the year ... confidence at the minute is very low."

(4) Now for some damning critique from Royal legend Bernard Flynn: "We looked so disjointed, there was no method to our play, fellas were switching between backs and forwards without any real purpose or cohesion, and the biggest glaring issue was the bad attitude and lack of passion."

Boys oh boys, this all sounds desperately disconcerting if you're either a Royal diehard, a current Meath player or their very swiftly embattled new manager. All of the above will be hoping for a backlash performance against Kildare. Trouble is, people were expecting that against Donegal too.

Meath's lengthy list of absent or injured stars is a mitigating factor, but cannot justify the extent of their current slump. Predictably, 'Banty' has delayed announcing his latest line-up.

For Kildare, Johnny Doyle is expected back while James Kavanagh is pushing for a recall. Eamonn Callaghan is doubtful; David Whyte, Mark Scanlon and Karl Ennis are likely to be still out.

ODDS: Kildare 1/2, Draw 15/2, Meath 2/1

VERDICT: Kildare